Home / 2017 / Dicembre

A route made of byroads, paths, riverbanks and perched villages. This is what the Greenway is about.

Marmore Waterfall

Marmore Waterfall


A pedestrian and cycle path has been created in the green heart of Valnerina, with the aim of letting people know and live these places which have been neglected far too long. It is a 180-kilometre ring dedicated to nature lovers. It is not too difficult nor too challenging and allows the wanderers to enjoy the landscape along the Nera River and its outfalls as well as the local cultural aspect, which can be appreciated while crossing the historical villages.

The Idea

The Greenway has been thought to promote Valnerina and the area belonging to the mountain community. However, there is more. It started, indeed, as a real environmental emergency, to preserve the landscape while exploiting its huge potential, but respecting its ecological balance at the same time. Thus, it has become a straightforward learning tool about nature and its articulate shapes, the place where a creative and engaging approach can be experimented to attract new forms of tourism and knowledge of the territory.

The routes

The first step to connect the visitor to the territory has been identifying and arranging an alternative route, which you can either walk or ride on a bike or a horse. The starting point is at Marmore Waterfall, which is also the arrival point. It is a ring completely immersed in greenery, which allows the tourist to enter an unchartered world made of green paths and enchanting villages. Thus, in a place beloved by Lord Byron and all the other travellers who revered the Grand Tour, you can set off on a long route partly formed by chartered paths: Benedectine trails, the Via Francigena, and the former Spoleto-Norcia railway.
From the Marmore Falls to the fork to Preci it is possible to walk along the Nera. The left bank of the river is entirely viable and is one of the most interesting dirt roads of central Italy. From there it is possible to take a mountain trail which has been connected and which crosses Preci, Norcia, Cascia, Monteleone di Spoleto, Salto del Cieco, Piediluco, Prati di Stroncone and then goes back to the Waterfall going though Campacci di Marmore (The upper Belvedere).


Marmore Waterfall


As a ring, the Greenway can be followed one way or the other. As to make it accessible to anybody, it has been divided into sixteen stretches, each of them a ring itself, so that it is easier for the travellers to go back to the starting point without having to follow the same route. Many of the stretches along the river, from the Falls to Preci, are mostly flat even though the mountainous ones on the way back to the Fall can present quite challenging climbs. Yet, these can be avoided by choosing the alternative paved and low-traffic routes. Each of these routes is five to twenty-two kilometres long. By joining several trails, you can plan a journey any length you like. Each route, clearly indicated by signposts, goes through residential areas where public services are provided. Moreover, along the route all the paths that take to the protected natural areas are clearly signalled.

A trip for everybody

 The Greenway is a route accessible to everybody. It is completely safe as it is dedicated to non-motorised users and it grants access to anyone thanks to the so-called “soft-traffic”, which allows the tourists to enjoy the area they are crossing slowly as to observe the surrounding landscape in all its aspects.


Nera River

Nera River


Sitografia: http://www.lagreenwaydelnera.it/it

Fragments, scraps of broken glass, bones and decorated porcelain. Objects people would think of being nothing but rubbish have been restored, catalogued and are now on display in Casteldilago Museum, in the province of Terni. The exhibition, not by chance, is called Rubbish: tre secoli di ceramiche (Three Centuries of Pottery) have been supervised by Sir Timothy Clifford, British Art historian who, after having directed the Victoria & Albert Department of Pottery, the Department of Prints and Drawings of the British Museum, after having been the Director of the National Galleries of Scotland and Director of Manchester City Art Galleries has spared his time, after retirement, for the fine pottery of this small hilltown in Umbria.

The Discovery

Who found the great deal of everyday objects was Angelo Francucci, a keen local entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to the restoring of Casteldilago since he was fifteen. It was, indeed, during a reconstruction process that Francucci found a butto, an old dump. Originally built for water storage, most likely poisoned, the cistern was turned into the perfect site for dumping food wastes, metal objects, scraps of glass, pottery and animal carcass.

A Wasted Away Treasure

Strongly impressed, the entrepreneur decided to show the butto to the Cliffords, who have a summer holiday home in the town. Timothy became soon aware that he was facing countless, stunning findings datable from the Middle Ages to the 15th century. The Art historian gathered all the bits and assembled the parts as if it were a tiny jigsaw puzzle. The more he went on, the more he was fully conscious of how fine the ceramics were, masterly decorative designs attributed to Deruta. Engaged in his studies, Timothy found out that Deruta belonged to the Diocese of Spoleto to which Casteldilago was part. In the Middle Ages Casteldilago was an important fortress, run by several governors who moved from House to House and, once their mandate was over, it was accustomed for them to throw away what was not needed for their new residence. Decorated coats of arms purport to be those of noble families like the Orsini, the Medici, the Lauri and the Clementini.


A Local Production

Proceeding from the museum showcases, proud of himself, Timothy’s wife, Jane, narrates how they made an even more important discovery. A good deal of ceramic scraps bear the same singular motifs which somewhat meant there was a factory site in Spoleto as well. Timothy found out a document stating an agreement reached between two bankers, a Deruta potter and a Faenza one. Besides that, he found fragments reporting the same decorative designs close by the Amphitheatre and the Palazzo di Spoleto.
To confirm the existence of a pottery factory in Spoleto was Duccio Marignoli, President of The Marignoli di Montecorona Foundation. Sewer works were being carried out when Marignoli found scraps of kiln with the same decorative designs.
Last but not least, bits have been found in the Rocca di Spoleto as well as the Rocca in Narni which confirm the presence of a local craft.


Per prenotare visite al museo:
Durate orario d’ufficio: +39-0744388710
Fuori dall’orario d’ufficio: +39-3357529230

Christmas, in Umbria as in the rest of Italy, rhymes with gluttony. Among all the typical sweets, however, there is one that refers to the municipal history of Perugia and the municipalities it subjugated: the pinocchiate.

The Main Ingredient

Called also pinoccati, pinocchiati or pinoccate, to indicate the nature of the basic ingredient – the pine nut – these sugary sweets typical of the Christmas period are born from the massive diffusion of the domestic pine (Pinus pinea) across the European continent. Umbria has not been excluded from such diffusion, so much that it is not so unusual to come across odorous pine forests.
It is difficult to find the precious seeds, as the pine nuts take three years to reach maturity. Despite this difficulty, pine nuts, rich in protein and fiber, have been consumed since the Paleolithic era, especially because they were believed to have aphrodisiac properties. This allowed them to become part of the most refined and delightful human creations, such as the pinocchiate, as they were already known in the fourteenth century[1].
«The nobles and the rich eat them frequently with the first and the last plate. With pine nuts wrapped in sugar dissolved in a teaspoon, you can make the tablets to which you apply thin tears of beaten gold, I think for magnificence and for pleasure.[2]» Thus wrote the gastronomist Bartolomeo Sacchi, called Plàtina, at the turn of the fifteenth century and the sixteenth century; they aren’t our pinoccate yet, but surely they are very close.


Pinoccate were eaten already in 1300 and this does not seem fortuitous, if we think of the colors of these tasty sweets. Sometimes flavored with lemon, sometimes with chocolate, they are always served in pair, in a delicious two-color white and black match. The memory of the factions of the communal age – the white Guelphs and the black Guelphs – now comes to mind, recalling those struggles between secular power and temporal power that did not even save the areas where these sweets are most widespread – Perugia, Assisi and Gubbio.
Perugia, in fact, in the thirteenth century subjugated first Gubbio and then Assisi, but not before having suffered excommunication for having carried out an offensive against the Ghibellines, contravening a papal veto. Even though the two factions were historically of Florentine origin, these struggles multiplied in every municipality of the Italian peninsula, demonstrating the strong influence of the Florentine capital in that fervent era.
The conditioning is also found in the architectural style and in the heraldic, characterized by decorations in balzana: look at the emblem of Siena, a truncated shield consisting of two full glazes, one silver and one black. And that the city of the Palio had influences on the capital Perugia is out of the question: Perugia, pursuing an expansionist policy, got near not only to Gubbio and Città di Castello, but also to the area of ​​Lake Trasimeno, Città delle Pieve and Val di Chiana.


The regular octahedron

Shape and packaging

Peculiar of the pinocchiate is also the lozenge shape which, doubled, gives life to the regular octahedron, one of the five Platonic solids. These figures, in an era like the humanist one, held allegorical, transcendental meanings but at the time aware of the abilities of the man. The octahedron, made up of equilateral triangles – as they were a symbol of transcendence, of divine perfection and of the ascent from the Multiple to the One – symbolized the air, an element par excellence linked to the impalpability of the Divine.
We have to point out that pinocchiate, wrapped like big carnival sweets, were nothing more than throwing sweets, pulled on the nobles who attended the rides and jousts. Sweets with a heavenly taste that, tossed in the air, looked like divine gifts fallen from the sky.




Recipe by Rita Boini

  • 1 kg of sugar
  • 500 g of pine nuts
  • 200 g of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of bitter cocoa
  • Peel of an untreated lemon



Melt the sugar over a low heat in a glass and a half of water; add the syrup to the grated lemon peel and pine nuts. Mix and add flour. Mix well and, when the mixture is firm but still soft, quickly pour half on a marble surface or on a baking sheet and roll it with a knife blade, in order to obtain a layer of about 2 cm high. Add the cocoa to the dough remaining in the casserole, stir and pour into another corner of the marble top or on another baking plate. Cut and lozenge the two layers and let them clothe. Wrap the pinoccate combining a dark and a light one.


Courtesy of Calzetti – Mariucci Editori

[1] Cfr. www.matebi.it

[2] Cfr. www.taccuinistorici.it

«Thirty-seven kilometres from Terni, on an alluvial terrace at an altitude of 292 m, close to the bottom of the valley and on the left of the River Tiber. It’s a small centre, a fortified town with a mediaeval aspect that looks like a compact village with ruined walls.» (M. Tabarrini)


Origin of the name

Although many believe that its toponym derives from an ancient cult of Jupiter, no trace of a temple dedicated to the Roman god has ever been found, so it is more correct to think that the name derives from its geographical position, located on a peak between two valleys. Thus, the name would be derived from the Latin word jugum, meaning yoke. The earliest historical records seem to help this hypothesis: indeed, in a document of 1191, the town is called with the name of Castel di Juvo or Iugo.»[1]


Numerous archaeological finds attest to the existence of an ancient Roman settlement, but the current appearance of Giove is definitely mediaeval. In ancient times, the area belonged to the Lords from Baschi and for a long time the towns of Todi and Orvieto contended for its rule. In 1320, Sciarra I Colonna took possession of the castle and the surrounding areas and for a long time he had to fight against the House of Orsini for its control. In 1378, ferocious Bretons, guided by Clement VII, the anti-pope, settled in that territory and heavily devastated the village and the neighbouring areas. In the middle of the 15th century, Giove fell under the rule of the House of Anguillara, but Pope Paul II succeeded in bringing it back under the Church’s rule in 1465. The walls of the castle were destroyed in 1503 when, after strenuous resistance, Giove was conquered by Cesare Borgia. In 1545, Ottavio Farnese settled there with the office of papal governor and in 1597 Matteo Farnese ceded the fief to Ciriaco and Asdrubale Mattei. In 1646, the territory of Giove was devastated by a disastrous flood of the River Tiber. After its restoration, Giove was elevated to the status of baronial municipality.[2]


Palazzo Ducale

Erected on the remains of a mediaeval castle by will of Asdrubale and Ciriaco Mattei, it has a very imposing Renaissance appearance. In 1643, Pope Urban VIII conferred a dukedom on the Matteis, and the palace became property of the House of Canonici when Caterina Mattei passed it on to her son Carlo. When Carlo died without heirs, the palace became the property of Marquis Carlo Teodoro Antici of Recanati. It’s during this period that Adelaide Antici, Giacomo Leopardi’s mother, was a guest at the palace. From the Antici family, its possession passed to the Ricciardi family, then to General Mario Nicolis of Robilant, who welcomed Vittorio Emanuele III as his guest in 1910 and the Counts of Acquarone in 1936. In 1985 it was bought by American producer Charles Robert Band and turned into a refined hotel. The building has 365 windows, one for each day of the year, and consists of five floors, while the corner towers feature an additional floor. The flight of stairs that goes from the carriage area to the piano nobile is still intact. The interior walls are decorated with mythological paintings attributed to Domenico Zampieri, known as il Domenichino, Paolo Caliari, known as il Veronese and Orazio Alfani.[3]

Church of Saint Maria Assunta

In rococo style with late baroque elements, it features a façade enclosed by two symmetrical bell towers. It was completed in 1775, perhaps on a project by the Fontanas, to take the place of the ancient Church of San Giovanni Battista located within the walls, of which today only a few signs are visible in a private house. Inside the church – a Greek-cross plan with dome – there is a painting representing the Madonna Assunta that some attribute to Niccolò Alunno, while others believe that it comes from Alunno’s school. Another interesting piece is the organ located above the entrance door, which due to its peculiar design is considered the most interesting modern instrument in the entire province of Terni.

Church of Madonna del Perugino

The church takes its name from the image of the Madonna placed on the altar, called Madonna del Perugino for its fine workmanship. Actually, it is a painting commissioned in the 17th century by Francesco Caffarelli, a citizen of Giove coming from Perugia who for this reason was called il Perugino. The church also contains numerous votive offerings.

Convent of Santa Maria del Gesù

It was founded thanks to a donation by Felicita Colonna at the beginning of the 17th century. Until 1870 it belonged to the Franciscans, then it was owned by the Oblates of St Francis and finally by the Marianists. In recent years, the convent has been used as the location of a nature centre, Il Germoglio.


[1]The hypothesis that the name comes from the Latin word jugum is supported by L. Canonici, Alviano. Una rocca, una famiglia, un popolo, Porziuncola, Assisi 1983, while according to popular belief, M. Tabarrini, s.v. Giove, in M. Tabarrini, L’Umbria si racconta. Dizionario, v. 2 : E-O, [s.n.], Foligno 1982, pp 150-151 inclines to the toponym deriving from a pre-existing cult of the Roman god.
[2]For more common historical information see M. Tabarrini, cit. that is also the source of the information reported by www.mondimedievali.net/Castelli/Umbria/terni/giove.htm and by http://www.castellogiove.it. For bookings see: http://www.castellogiove.it.
[3]Information extracted from M. Tabarrini, cit. and from the website  www.mondimedievali.net/Castelli/Umbria/terni/giove.htm.


More on Giove

  • 1 kg of mixed meat (pork, turkey, veal)
  •  150 g of Parmesan cheese
  •      1 carrot
  •      1 celery
  •      1 onion
  •      1 bay leaf
  •      4 eggs
  •      30 g of butter
  •      a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  •      salt
  •      pepper


  • 1 kg flour
  • 10 eggs
  • salt


Capon broth




Cut the meat into small pieces, chop onion, carrot and celery, place it in a pan with butter, oil and then fry. Add the meat and the bay leaf, let it brown, then add salt and pepper and finish cooking. Grind the meat and their cooking sauce, let cool and then add the Parmesan, eggs and a piece of butter. Put the dough on the stove for a few minutes, adjusting with salt and pepper. Prepare a dough and, with the filling in many balls, prepare the cappelletti.



These cappelletti, whose dough in more recent times someone has begun to add the mortadella, they are served in stock on Christmas day. The broth was, inevitably, made with capon. In any case, a good meat broth is essential. The processing of cappelletti began a few days before Christmas and they made large quantities, so that they could be enough for several days. In Gubbio rich families did, and in some cases still do, cappelletti according to a recipe that Cùnsolo considers the richest stuffed pasta expressed by Italian cuisine. In addition to boiled capon meat, from which the broth is made, enter into the stuffed pork loin, sausage, pigeons and beef brains.


Per gentile concessione di Calzetti – Mariucci Editore

«Before starting to paint, I write MaMo all over the canvas. It is my habit, a form of superstition. I’ve always done it.»

Gianni Agnelli


Massimiliano Donnati, aka MaMo, is a polyhedral and certainly ironic artist from Perugia. He realizes his paintings using different materials and manages to put on canvas the characters as they appear in his imagination, without taboos and censorship. In his first solo show Incoscienza dell’essere – Ironia in 3D, visible at the Artemisia gallery in Perugia until January 13th, you will find Onella Vanoni, Queen Elizabeth, Gianni Agnelli, ET and King Carlo of Bourbons represented as MaMo sees them, as he perceives them.

How did the idea of ​​creating these works come about?
I cannot give a rational explanation, I have always observed the world and people with a critical eye, attentive to every detail, and with great irony. Only recently I felt the need to pull off these emotions, it is from March 2017 that I started this experience, and I managed to represent real people or fantasy characters as I have always seen or imagined. Unconsciously I managed to pull out that that was inside of me.

Why do you use a mix of materials? Why didn’t you choose one in particular?
I am self-taught and I am free from schools and academies, so I use everything I have. I apply all the techniques, without any link.

Can you explain to me the choice of your subjects?
It happens randomly, based on what goes through my mind. ET is a character to which I am very fond of, Gianluca Vacchi because it is on everyone’s mouths. I represented the Queen to provoke.


General of Music

Which Umbrian characters would you like to represent? And how?
Currently no real person, but I have made two generals fruit out of my imagination, which embody the General of Music and the General of Chocolate. The first represents Perugia and Umbria Jazz, an event that I love, and this one embodies the madness, the genius and the love of music. On the other side, the general of Chocolate represents the history of Perugia and its link with chocolate: for this reason it is represented in an extremely ironic facet in the middle of a background of pralines, while eating a chocolate. He’s enriched by friezes medals and insignias, and obviously there is the Bacio, the most famous chocolate bun in the world.

How would you represent Umbria?
I really don’t know. I’m thinking about representing ancient people of our land. But, always in an extremely ironic way, so as to get them out of their institutional roles.

Who did you think?
San Francesco and Braccio Fortebraccio, but I could change my mind.


General of Chocolate

What’s your connection with Umbria?          
I am very fond of my land, and I am in love with my city, because I was born there and there I lived and live: Perugia.

As an entrepreneur and an artist, how could Umbria make a leap forward? On what should it bet?
Unfortunately, things to do would be many. It is a beautiful land from all points of view, full of resources. First of all I would like it to be loved by their inhabitants, so that everyone can do something to enhance it to the maximum. Then, I would like to make it known to everyone, allowing people to visit it easily. It should start from tourism, and visitors would also push the other sectors of the economy.

When you speak of “easy way”, do you refer to the difficulty of reaching it?
Exactly. Since I work a lot outside Umbria, I had always had problems with roads, trains and planes. Umbria is an island despite being at the center of Italy.

Three words to describe Umbria… 
Isolated, unique and magical.

The first thing that comes to mind thinking about this region… 
A heart: it is the geographical heart of Italy and it is in my heart.



More on Perugia