Though last month's weekend in Spoleto was cut short we did get a chance to see a great deal of this intriguing medieval town in the mountains of Umbria. Brought back to notice in late 1950s by Gian Carlo Menotti and his partner Samuel Barber and their Festival of the Two Worlds, it is a stunning example of what can be accomplished by careful restoration. Though this year's Festival (it would be the 51st) seems up in the air we counted more than 12 buildings under restoration in the historic centre - a close look at the photo at the left reveals at least 6 cranes in the northern part of the town alone.
The restored Rocca or Albornoz Fortress was built in 1359 as a Papal stronghold - when she controlled the Duchy, Lucrezia Borgia often slept there between 1499 and 1503. It hovers over the town and dominates the valley below.Used as a prison from 1817 until 1983 it has been converted into a National Museum for the treasures of the region from pre-Christian to late Renaissance times.
The Camera Pinta, in the tower of the Courtyard of Honour, is decorated with a wonderful series of frescoes dating from the 15th century depicting knightly and courtly pleasures. The subjects and the colours have a certain spring-like spirit to them, and I love this delightful couple playing catch over an archway. They've been playing this game for over 500 years now - I wonder if he ever caught the ball?
04 aprile - San Isidoro