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Spoleto – Poreta

The Trail of the Fortresses

Spoleto – Poreta is the first section of the Trails in the Olive Belt. It is called “the trail of the fortresses” because it connects two: one at the start, the Albornoz Fortress, and one at the end of the trail, the small fort in the village of Poreta, once a crucial stronghold of the Spoleto Valley. However, this name is not exhaustive,
as this section is full of villas, monuments, works of art and visionary buildings that have left their mark on a truly unique landscape that captivates visitors.

Starting from Spoleto – the ducal gem – with the Ponte delle Torri, the Basilica of San Salvatore (a World Heritage Site), the ultramodern Spoleto/Norcia railway line, passing through the small villages of Eggi, Bazzano, Silvignano and their wonders hidden by time. The first section of the trails in the Olive Belt is a dive into a dimension combining past and modernity.

MAP

Start – The first section of the trails of the Spoleto-Poreta Olive Belt officially starts from the imposing Albornoz Fortress, erected on Colle Sant’Elia, which stands guard over the entire Spoleto valley. However, due to the 2016 earthquake, the Ponte delle Torri – which crosses the Tessino stream and connects the valley to the next hill – was closed. While awaiting its reopening, we suggest starting the walk from Fortilizio dei Mulini, by walking a few hundred metres along Provincial Road 462, next to the historical Church of San Pietro Extra Moenia.

Intermediate point – At the intersection of two important and ancient roads, Via della Spina and the old Norcia road, along the slopes of Mount Giove, stands Bazzano Inferiore and its castle, an intermediate stop on the route.

End – Located along a slope at 470 metres above sea level, the medieval Poreta Castle stands guard over the entire plain between Spoleto and Trevi.
This is the end of the first section of the route. Now offering accommodation, the castle was left empty in the 1950s. The 1979 earthquake caused serious damage to the castle and the church. Then, in 1990, the remaining properties still belonging to the Church were acquired and renovated by the Association of Mountain Municipalities. The village and parking facilities can be easily reached from the castle.

TECHNICAL DATA

Length

23.120 metres

Elevation Gain

341 metres

Difficulty

Medium-High

Type of Route

10% tarmac, 90% unpaved

Duration

8h 30m

Route Pattern

Linear

ENJOY A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE

GUIDES (PDF) AND TRACKS (GPX)

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DID YOU KNOW THAT...?

Crescionda

This is Spoleto’s typical cake. The name probably comes from the words “crescia unta”, greasy flatbread. It is made by mixing egg yolks, sugar, milk, flour, crushed amaretti biscuits, dark chocolate chips, and stiff egg whites are then folded into the mix.

The religious retreats of Monteluco

The mountainous region of Monteluco (in front of the fortress) was the site chosen by the first monastic settlements due to its many natural shelters. The monks who lived in the ravines of Monteluco lived as hermits and then periodically met in a chosen place, which was the church of San Giuliano.

Walnuts and attorta

Along the route, near farmhouses or standing alone in the middle of the fields, one can see tall walnut trees. Walnuts are the essential ingredient of a typical baked cake from the Spoleto Valley called attorta or ‘ntorta, which in the area comprising Foligno and Spello is known as rocciata.

The roccolo

The roccolo, a ring-shaped structure surrounded by walls,  was used for fowling, i.e. catching live birds, namely thrushes. Inside it, was a thicket where trees were ingeniously pruned to form tunnels, at the end of which were decoys and nets to ensnare migrating thrushes, which were then sold alive. This form of hunting, no longer in use, dates back to Roman times.

Votive shrines 

In pagan times, small temples called aediculae were built along the roads. They were erected at the intersections of city streets or country roads to honour the Lares Compitales or Viales, deities who protected wayfarers. They were small roof-less sanctuaries with the image of the deity portrayed on the altar. On the sides were seats to enable those who brought the offerings to rest. The sacred site was also used for religious rites at certain times of the year by religious bodies who also took care of maintenance.

WHAT TO SEE

Prying yourself away from the beautiful town of Spoleto is no easy task. The town is a constant marvel. Yet, if you feel fit enough to take this trail, it will provide amazingly picturesque scenery with its unrivalled views of the town, valley and hectares of olive trees garlanding the hills.

basilicas
Basilica di San Salvatore
BASILICA DI SAN SALVATORE Dedicated to the martyrs Concordius and Senzius, who were believed to have thaumaturgical virtues, the Basilica of San Salvatore is oneRead more
castles
Poreta Castle
PORETA CASTLE Located along a slope at 470 metres above sea level, the medieval Poreta Castle stands over the entire plain between Spoleto and Trevi. Read more
Eggi Castle
EGGI CASTLE Once through the gate of the castle, one can see traces of late 14th century frescoes on the outer wall of the church. Read more
churches
Church of San Cristoforo
Church of San Cristoforo The interior houses a 17th-century painting with Our Lady of the Rosary and a 16th-century wooden crucifix, above the altar is Read more
Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia
Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia The church has a single nave with three altars. St. Sebastian, St. Roch and Madonna with Child, Our Lady Read more
Church of Saint John the Evangelist
Church of Saint John the Evangelist The design of the south wall of the church leaves no doubt about the Romanesque origin of this building. Read more
Church of Santa Maria di Reggiano
Church of Santa Maria di Reggiano The church of Santa Maria di Reggiano, dated between the 12th and 13th century, is now inside a rural Read more
Church of San Pietro in Serpillo o in Serpullo
Church of San Pietro in Serpillo o in Serpullo It was already standing in the 14th century, though it is probably older. Little remains of Read more
Church of Santa Maria
Church of Santa Maria Romanesque, dating back to the 12th-13th century. The building has a gable facade and roof with trestle beams. The rose window Read more
Church of Archangel Michael
Church of Archangel Michael The result of various extensions, the interior of the church can be regarded as a repertoire of Umbrian painting from the Read more
Church of Madonna of Forgiveness
Church of Madonna of Forgiveness Throughout history, it was very common to turn to numerous saints to seek protection from disease, war and sudden death. Read more
Church of Saint John the Baptis
Church of Saint John the Baptis The plain facade features a portal with a rounded stone arch. The current appearance and shape of this small Read more
railways
The Former Spoleto-Norcia Railway Line
The Former Spoleto-Norcia Railway Line This is the first stage of a far more ambitious project, drawn up between 1909 and 1911, to connect the Read more
springs
Pescara Spring
Pescara Spring A crossroads used by the people of Bazzano Superiore to replenish their water supplies. A village currently housing about 70 people, who in Read more
palazzos
Reggiano Hospice (15th-16th Centuries)
Reggiano Hospice (15th-16th Centuries The hospice was owned by the abbey nearby. The existence of the hospice has been documented since 1470, when the prior Read more
parish churches
Pieve of Saint Andrew
Pieve of Saint Andrew Of Romanesque origin, the church was decorated with frescoes. Of the latter, the face of Christ, Madonna and Child and St. Read more
fortresses
Albornoz Fortress
ALBORNOZ FORTRESS Built from 1359, the imposing fortress stands on Colle Sant’Elia and dominates the entire Spoleto valley. It was erected by order of Pope Read more
bridges
Ponte delle Torri
PONTE DELLE TORRI As much as 80 metres high and about 230 metres long, the Ponte delle Torri is one of Spoleto’s iconic monuments. Made Read more
streets
Via della Spina (Spina Stream)
Via della Spina (Spina Stream) Since Roman times, and perhaps even earlier, the road – whose current name comes from the Spina stream running parallel Read more
Giro dei Condotti
GIRO DEI CONDOTTI “Nihil jucundius vidi valle mea spoletana”. These words, still carved in the marble of the viewpoint in Monteluco, were spoken by St. Read more
ville
MAMa Umbria International
MAMa UMBRIA INTERNATIONAL MAMa Umbria International is an artistic retreat founded in 1990 by Ellen Stewart, artistic director of the “La MaMa E.T.C.” theatre in Read more
Villa Benedetti Massi
VILLA BENEDETTI MASSI A large complex with a vast park adorned with ancient trees and a canal with an octagonal fountain. From here one can Read more
Villa Morelli or dei Pazzi
Villa Morelli or dei Pazzi Built in 1787 by the Morelli counts, a family from the castle of Montesanto, a hamlet in the area around Read more

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