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Spoleto, Province of Perugia, Umbria

Spoleto is an ancient town in east-central Umbria, on a foothill of the Apennines. It is located at the southern end of the Valle Umbra, a vast alluvial plain created in prehistoric times by the presence of a large lake, the swampy Lacus Umber, drained permanently in the Middle Ages. The city is built on the hill Sant'Elia, a low ridge at the foot of the Monteluco mountain, and further down to the river Tessino to the east is surrounded by the mountains of Valnerina.

Info

  • Altitude: 396 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 38,000 inhabitants in 2017
  • Zip/postal code: 06049
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0743
  • Patron Saint: St. Ponziano, celebrated on 14th January
  • Demonym: Spoletini
  • Frazioni & Localities: 63
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Provinces of Umbria

Administrative division

View of Spoleto Spoleto includes the following Frazioni & Localities: Acquacastagna, Acquaiura, Ancaiano, Azzano, Baiano, Bazzano Inferiore, Bazzano Superiore, Beroide, Camporoppolo, Campo Salese, Casal di Mezzo, Casigliano, Cerqueto, Cese, Collerisana, Collicelli, Cortaccione, Crocemaroggia, Eggi, Fogliano, Forca di Cerro, Madonna di Baiano, Maiano, Messenano, Montebibico, Monteluco, Monte Martano (sorge sull'omonimo monte ed è sede di un castello), Morgnano, Morro, Ocenelli, Palazzaccio, Patrico (in cui si trova Mustaiole), Perchia, Petrognano, Pompagnano, Pontebari, Poreta, Protte, Rubbiano, San Brizio, San Giacomo, San Giovanni di Baiano, San Gregorio di Ocenelli, San Martino in Trignano, San Nicolò, San Severo, San Silvestro, Santa Croce, Sant'Anastasio, Sant'Angelo in Mercole, Santo Chiodo, San Venanzo, Silvignano, Somma, Strettura, Terraia, Terzo la Pieve, Terzo San Severo, Testaccio, Uncinano, Valdarena, Valle San Martino, Vallocchia.

History - Antiquity

The ancient Spoletium was situated on a branch of the Via Flaminia, and after the battle of Trasimenus (217 BC) was attacked by Hannibal, who was repulsed by the inhabitants. During the Second Punic War the city was a useful ally to Rome. It suffered greatly during the civil wars of Marius and Sulla. The latter, after his victory over Crassus, confiscated the territory of Spoletium (82 BC). From this time forth it was a municipium.

The foundation of the episcopal see dates from the 4th century. Owing to its elevated position Spoleto was an important stronghold during the Vandal and Gothic wars; its walls were dismantled by Totila.

History - the Middle Ages and Modern Times

Under the Lombards, Spoleto became the capital of an independent duchy (from 570), and its dukes ruled a considerable part of central Italy. Together with other fiefs, it was bequeathed to Pope Gregory VII by the empress Matilda. In 1155 it was destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa. In 1213 it was definitively occupied by Pope Gregory IX.

During the absence of the papal court in Avignon, it was prey to the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines, until in 1354 Cardinal Albornoz brought it once more under the authority of the Papal States.

In 1809 it became capital of the short-lived French department of Trasimène, returning to the Papal State within five years. In 1860, after a gallant defence, Spoleto was taken by the troops fighting for the unification of Italy.

Events and Festivities

  • The Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi, usually held in July, has developed into the most important cultural event in Umbria, with a three-week schedule of music, theater and dance performances. In 1958, because Spoleto was at the time small and relatively inexpensive, yet fairly close to Rome with good rail connections, it was chosen by Gian-Carlo Menotti as the venue for an arts festival which has made the town internationally famous.

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