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mail: Bill Thayer 
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Subasio


[image ALT: A desolate expanse of slightly rising ground covered with dry sunburnt grass a few inches high and an occasional thistle; in the foreground a road of crushed limestone.]

Approaching the summit from the south.

Subasio, as it is affectionately referred to — nobody ever calls it by its full name of Monte Subasio — is a large limestone formation, 1290m at its summit, whose bald, brooding, wind-swept rounded loaf profile sets it apart from the other mountains in the area. The mountain links (or separates) Spello and Assisi, and is a protected area of natural beauty, but actually has several medieval monuments and even some vestiges of Roman days.


[image ALT: The apse of a stone church in a forest of Umbrian oak. It is the church of S. Silvestro at Collepino, near Spello, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 3 pages, 10 photos ]

The hermitage of S. Silvestro near Collepino. Once a locally powerful abbey, this 11c foundation is now home to a small group of contemplative nuns. The little chapel, possibly Cistercian, includes a crypt made of very ancient materials; and, surprisingly, houses a good Roman sarcophagus and a witness to the Roman aqueduct of Spello.


[image ALT: A rustic stone church in a rather barren landscape of dry brush, with a few stunted pines. It is the chapel of the Madonna della Spella, near Spello, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 2 pages, 9 photos ]

Mass is celebrated once a year at the rustic chapel of the Madonna della Spella, at 978 m on the southern slopes. For many centuries the people of Spello have come here to pray for good weather and good crops; they have left behind a number of votive frescoes, and some interesting graffiti.


[image ALT: It is St. Francis's hermitage at the Eremo delle Carceri, near Assisi in Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 5 pages, 12 photos ]

St. Francis's retreat: the Eremo delle Carceri is the place for which the mountain is best known. He picked a very green area!


[image ALT: A detail view of four courses of a wall of roughly squared stones set in mortar. It is an example of the use of pink Subasio limestone in a church in Foligno, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 1 page, 2 photos ]

Subasio limestone runs from greyish or brownish white to beige and deep pink. It is the stone that was used to build most of Spello and Assisi. For now, my page is rather weak, but if I worked at it, it would be a good place to give you a mineralogy of the stuff, and show you some samples and pictures of quarries.


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Site updated: 31 Jul 04