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Archway, Spello in Umbria

Old and new, Spello

Spello street scene


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

Welcome to Spello

Population: 35,286 (2001)
Official site:

Wikipedia: Spello
Map: Spello

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.

Mostly, Spello 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 stone houses.

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 close by.

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 cavern.

By Vian Andrews, March 2006

Region of Umbria



Perugia - 32 km
Assisi14 km
Foligno - 11 km
Cortona - 78 km
Spoleto - 34 km
Gubbio - 73 km
Arezzo - 121 km
Siena - 132 km
Florence - 179 km
Rome - 190 km

Hotel Altavilla
Hotel del Teatro


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White dove, ancient tower, Spello