Lugnano in Teverina

 In Itineraries, To visit in Umbria

Travel time:
5 minutes by bike | 30 minutes on foot | 5 minutes by car
Our Opinion: Absolute Must

Lugnano in Teverina is located at 419 m. above sea-level in the Monti Amerini of Southern Umbria on the borders with Lazio. The Tiber from which the town takes its name flows in the underlying valley.

Looking westwards from Lugnano you can admire an extensive panorama: the Badlands, the hills of Northern Lazio and Monti Cimini, an area offering a varied landscape of olive groves, vineyards, large flat areas of grain cultivation, and old towns often nestled on rocky crags.

In the East, the landscape is dominated by hills, covered for the most part in woodland, which gradually get higher the nearer they are to the Central Apennines. When the “tramontana” (north wind) blows, Terminillo can be clearly seen looking southwards in Sabine territory.

History

In Roman times Lugnano was one of the main centres of the so-called “agro-amerino-romano” an area that presumably extended from the Via Amerina to Guardea. This has been documented by numerous archaeological finds, kept at the Antiquarium in the historic centre, and in the writings of Pliny the Younger.

In the High and Late Middle Ages, Lugnano in Teverina gradually developed becoming a “Comune” in about the year 1000. Between the XI and XIV centuries Lugnano was subject to a number of Lords who vied for power in the area: the Farolfi, Dukes of Montemarte (around the year 1000), the Counts Bovaciani di Todi (1147), a Viscount Guido with no name (1204), Viscount Tebaldo Vagliante (1216),Tommaso da Alviano (1370), the Orsini (1400). Officially, these Lords acted as defenders having been appointed by the various Popes to defend Papal lands. Indeed. Lugnano in Teverina formed part of the Patrimony of Saint Peter.

Lugnano was an ally of the city of Orvieto for quite some considerable time, following the contention between the Guelfi and the Ghibellini, at the time of the “Comuni”. Recorded by a Papal Bull issued by Gregory IX (1 April 1239) is the victory of the Lugnanesi and Orvietani over Todi and Amelia that had tried to attack Lugnano in order to have control over the Tiber. In 1449 on the orders of Pope Pius II (Enea Silvio Piccolomini) the Terra di Lugnano walls were restored. Subsequently, following continuous harassment by the Lords of the surrounding towns, the Lugnanesi established the Statuto di Terra di Lugnano in 1508 thanks also to the support of Pope Julius II. An important document which regulated every aspect of social life and community relationships.

This treasure of civilization has now been translated and is available in a text published by the Lugnanese scholar Terzo Pimpolari. In the centuries following the discovery of America, Lugnano in Teverina followed the events of the Church and Italian State.

Urban Plan

The medieval structure of the historic centre has remained intact with picturesque nooks and panoramic views. The town is surrounded by a wall dating back to 859 when Pope Leo IV had it built to defend the town from the Saracens. The entrance gateway is dominated by a tower, and it is from here that a typical elliptical roadway leads to the town centre where enchanting shortcuts are made even more magical and intriguing with a labrynth of archways and steps.

To Visit:

Palazzo Vannicelli in Piazza della Rocca

Palazzo Pennone, the most imposing, dating back to 1628, seat of the town council.

Chiesa di S. Chiara, forming part of an ancient Franciscan Convent.

Convento of S. Francesco built in 1228, on the spot where Saint Francis of Assisi had preached and performed a miracle.

Santuario di S. Maria di Ramici, probably built at the beginning of the 15th Century in honour of an image of Our Lady. According to local legend this was miraculously found by a sheperd girl among the branches of an oak tree. The real name is S. Maria del Ramo.

Convento di S. Antonio dei Cappuccini, immersed in a wonderful oak tree wood, built in 1570.

Poggio Gramignano Roman Villa or rather the remains of a country villa dating back to the first century BC, of considerable size and with polychrome mosaic floors.

The municipal Antiquarium where all archaeological finds discovered in the Lugnano in Teverina area dating back to Roman times are to be seen.

Chiesa di S. Maria or Collegiata. This jewel of the Romanesque style dates back to the XI or XII century, and is cited in every good art history book. Built on an original IX century construction, its facade consists of a portico of five columns. The rib archway is open laterally and above the five depressed arches, metopes representing the four Evangelists and some mosaic work of the Cosmati brothers are clearly visible. High up there are two oculi and a rose window with a double-wheel design in classic Umbrian style. Above this there is a smaller rose window, surrounded by seven majolica plates and at the apex of the roof an eagle. The three-nave interior is rich in variously carved columns and capitals. The flooring is in Alexandrian-Cosmatesque mosaic style. The crypt, with an original “Schola Cantorum” in front, contains an alabaster Crucifix dating back to the XVI century to which miracles have been attributed. The Church holds large number of great works of art: a triptych by Nicolò Alunno in the apse, a Crucifix of the School of Giotto and in the Chapel a Beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Livio Agresti.