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Palazzo Cesi, Acquasparta

Palazzo Cesi, Acquasparta

Carnivale, Acquasparta


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Gazetteer of Italy

Churches of Acquasparta
Welcome to Acquasparta
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 4,533 (2001)
Official website:
Wikipedia: Acquasparta

Maps: MapQuest

The town of Acquasparta sits on a hill above the Naia Valley and the river of the same name, facing the Monti Martani mountain range.  It also sits between two hot springs, the Amerino and the Furipane - hence the likely origin of its name since Roman times - the Latin phrase ad acquas partas - "between two waters".

To the Romans it was a retreat - a spa whose mineralized hot water baths were easily accessible from Rome along the west branch of the via Flaminia.

It's centro storico - historical center - at one time was surrounded by medieval walls but most of these walls have been torn down, leaving only short stretches and a few cylindrical towers that at one time served as part of the town's defenses. 

Inside the old part of town, which is quiet and unprepossessing, the  principal  building of note is the  Renaissance style Palazzo Cesi, started in 1564 and completed in 1579 by the architect Giovanni Domenico Bianchi.  The Palazzo is owned by the University of Perugia and is in very poor, but improving, condition.  The main portal includes some fine ashlar work and its interior features impressive carved wooden ceilings.  It also possesses a capacious and delightful courtyard.  Next to the Palazzo is a loggia with some remnants of Roman foundations.

At one time, the Palazzo's proprietor, Duke Frederico Cesi, housed the scientifically oriented Accademia dei  Lincei here, attracting such teachers as Galileo Galilei. Today the Palazzo Cesi houses a small museum with a number of ancient artifacts, including Roman stone work from nearby Carsulae.  The facility is also used for meetings and traveling exhibitions.

In Acquasparta there are a number of churches, of course, including the Chiesa di San Francesco, built in 1290, essentially Romanesque but with a Gothic facade, and the Church of the Madonna of the Cross, dating to 1606.  The Church of the Sacred Sacrament, incorporating a Roman Mosaic in its floor, is a very good example of 17th century church architecture.  Chiesa Santa Cecilia was built in the 1500s and contains an elegant chapel in which lies the tomb of Frederico Cesi.

The surrounding countryside is charming in the Umbrian way, spotted with a few small castles - or castelli - such as the one at Configni.  Of note a short way from Acquasparta is the Chiesa San Giovanni de Butris which was built on the remains of a Roman bridge, and incorporates very large Roman stone blocks.  Also, along the via Flaminia, going north, is the ruin of another Roman bridge, the Ponte Fonnaia.

by Vian Andrews December 24, 2005

This article was used as the foundation article for the Wikipedia article on Acquasparta which was added on December 24, 2005.

Umbria Region

Alt. 350 m


Car:  From Perugia go south on the E45 about 63 km; From Rome, North on the A1 to Orte, then west to Terni, then north on the E45 about 112 km; From Terni about 22.5 km - go west on the SS204, then north on the E45.


Coat of Arms, Acquasparta
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