The Internet's most comprehensive Travel website for Italy
 
Use quote marks to search for exact names eg "Hotel Florence"
 



Bevagna - Aerial view


Palazzi di Consoli


Outside the walls - Bevagna

 

For more on Italian churches visit Bill Thayer's website
The Churches of Italy
Churches of Bevagna

 

Welcome to Bevagna
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 4,860 (2003)
Official website:
Bevagna
Wikipedia: Bevagna
Map:
Bevagna

A lovely town in the fertile Foligno plain, close by the River Timia, Bevagna is a walled city with origins deep in ancient Umbrian tribal history.  Like other Umbrian towns, it has been under the domination of succeeding civilizations. The Etruscans had their day, then the Romans of course, followed by a period during which the town was controlled by local strongmen, like the Dukes of Spoleto and later of Foligno.  Ultimately, Bevagna came under the rule of the Popes, where it remained until the unification of Italy in 1861.

Travelers whose legs are weary from climbing the streets of hill side towns and cities will enjoy walking around Bevagna, which, while charmingly interesting, is essentially on a level, with a dip or two into the cool neighborhoods at the south end, where you will also find a small cataract, to stave off tedium.

The main axis of the town, known to the Romans as Mevania, is the ancient Roman road, the Flaminia, with gates at both the northern and southern end. The main piazza, the Piazza di Sylvestri, is surrounded by several churches, the Palazzi dei Consuli, a fine example of gothic architecture, and the Collona di St. Rocco.  The churches include St. Sylvester and the Chiesa San Michele.  Both churches were built in the 12th century, just a few years apart, by the same architects, Brunello and Ridolfo.  Note especially the remarkable fresco above the door on the Chiesa San Michele.

The placement of the buildings, and a fountain built in the 19th century, is asymmetrical, which adds a bit of welcome eccentricity to the piazza.  The fountain spouts potable water from a couple of spigots, so feel free to quench your thirst or, at the hottest times of the year, to douse the fire on your face.

A bit further north up the main avenue look for the Chiesa di San Francesco and the church of the Madonna of the Snow, which were built on the ruins of a Roman temple, and the "thermal building" featuring mosaics depicting assorted sea creatures, where Romans once bathed.  The remains of a Roman Theatre also dating back to the 2nd Century, serve as the foundations for newer buildings. The town hall has a wonderful little museum containing a complete historical account of the town. 

In June, during the Mercato delle Gaite, Bevagna is transformed into a medieval event. The oldest streets and alleyways are strewn with hay and decked out with colorful cloth, and various set-pieces - taverns, market stalls, theatres, potters, dyers, blacksmiths and so on - are constructed to create a sense of medieval verisimilitude.  One can dine on authentic - and delicious - Umbrian cuisine, and enjoy an array of hearty local wines. The local people are "into it", and during festival time, many don colorful medieval garb and become enthusiastic characters in the extended "play" of the festival.

As you walk around the town during the festival, you will note that different quarters of the city are hung with different colored standards.  Each of the neighborhoods compete aggressively with one another in the various medieval games, archery contests and other events that occur between opening and closing days.  There is an intensity to the entire festival that, thankfully, raises it above the quality of a thin and noisy display concocted simply to capture tourist dollars.  So, go if you can.

We liked Bevagna and recommend that you stop to spend a few hours, on your way, perhaps, to the better known towns of Spoleto or Montefalco.  In terms of amenities, the parking is abundant (at least, in non festival times) and the people welcoming in the Italian way.  One finds the usual assortment of 2 and 3 star hotels, one or two good restaurants, a smattering of cafes, news agents, tobacconists and an assortment of other stores that serve the citizens as well as tourists and travelers.  Nice.

Region of Umbria

 

Distances

Montefalco - 10 km
Foligno - 13 km
Spello - 16 km
Assisi - 29 km
Spoleto - 42 km
Perugia - 46 km
Gubbio - 74 km
Siena - 147 km
Rome - 174 km
Florence - 194 km

Directory

Agriturismo Il Poggio Pettirossi

Chiesa San Michele Arcangelo

Ancient archways in Bevagna