Welcome to Spello
Population: 35,286 (2001)
From a distance, the medieval town of Spello seems to
melt down the hill which it graces. Tiny stone houses
that dot the Umbrian countryside form this mesmerising
and charming town.
Only occasionally do tourists stop in Spello; itís not
part of the "usual" foreignerís travel itinerary. Itís one
of those places that if you happen to drive past, you
feel compelled to detour and discover.
exists for the locals. There are only 6,000 inhabitants;
tiny in a country of over 56 million people.
But itís that small town charm that is the essence of Spello and what the accidental tourist finds endearing.
Spello is a pleasure for those who
love walking. Three well-preserved Roman stone arches
form the entry points to the town, Porta Venere, with its
towers, Porta Urbica and Porta Consolare.
Once inside, the cobblestone streets meander in and out
of mysterious alleyways that lead to simple, yet elegant
The locals will welcome you with a smile
as they sit outside their houses, knitting, sewing or
simply chatting to one another. If you offer an Italian
greeting such as "Buon Giorno" you will almost
certainly receive a delighted response.
For the art lover, Spello is well
known for its
wonderful frescoes by Pinturicchio- depicting scenes
from the New Testament - which can be found in the 12th
century church of S. Maria Maggiore.
Spring and summer are the best times
to visit. The potted geraniums are flowering and the
barren stone walls are transformed into masses of red.
It is also the time of the famous
festival LíInfiorata. This is the only time when
tourists, mostly Italians, descend upon Spello.
LíInfiorata is a religious festival occurring on the
Corpus Christi in June . Every year, the main streets of
Spello are carpeted with floral art. The images depict
religious figures or ornaments. Petals from thousands of
different coloured flowers and aromatic herbs are used
to create pedestrian art.
These areas are cordoned off and
a weekís worth of preparation is laid out on the streets
in one night. That same day a religious procession
passes over the images that adorn the streets. It is
truly one of the simplest yet spectacular festivals you
will find in Italy.
If you want to experience the charm
of a small Italian village and live like a local for a
few days, then Spello is a beautiful alternative to more
well known places like Assisi and Perugia, which are
One of the most
refined hotels in which to stay is Palazzo Bocci in Via
Cavour. This four star hotel is the quintessential 18th
century resting place. The walls and ceilings are
enrobed in exquisite original frescos. The bedroom
ceilings have huge wooden rafters and deep window bays.
The well-respected restaurant Il Molino (also owned by
the hotel) lies across the street in a vaulted ceiling
By Vian Andrews, March 2006