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Giano dell' Umbria (Perugia province)

A town of central Umbria: 42°49.8N, 12°34.6E. Altitude: 640 m. Population in 2003: 3400.

[image ALT: Most of an open town square, paved in cobblestones: in the center of it, a small stone monument, about 5 meters tall, in the shape of a rectangular cippus. In the background to the right, part of a single‑story stucco building with a square clock tower at one corner, machicolated but clearly 19c or 20c; to the left, the upper part of a Romanesque church, most of which is sunk beneath the level of the square. It is a view of the main square of Giano dell' Umbria in central Italy.]

The main piazza of Giano and the war memorial. To the left, the top of the church of S. Michele — the entrance to which is on the street below. To the right, the Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall).

Giano (dell' Umbria to distinguish it from several other towns by the same name elsewhere in Italy) is a town so centrally located with respect to Umbria, that few people go there. If this is a bit too much of a paradox for late-night Web-browsing, here's the more cogent explanation: the populated central area of Umbria, from Perugia about 30 km N to Terni about 30 km S, comprises a hilly backbone down the center, the Colli Martani, skirted by two major roads, one W thru Todi (which is about 20 km away) and the other E thru Spoleto and Foligno (about 20 km SE and NE respectively). To simplify things — maybe a bit too much — everyone lives along these roads, which were the two branches of the ancient Roman Via Flaminia, and noone lives in the hilly area in between; and with one or two exceptions, noone visits, either.

Yet the area is one of the most beautiful in all of Umbria, ideally suited for walking, camping and horseback riding, with some of the most attractive churches in the region; Giano itself has several good churches: S. Maria (14c), S. Michele (13c‑14c) and S. Francesco (just outside town, 14c) — frescoes, paintings, the works.

The single best monument in the comune is about 2 km from Giano proper, though, on the way to Bastardo: the abbey of S. Felice is one of the Romanesque jewels of Umbria, historically important, much written about, and in a beautiful setting.

After eleven years of visiting Umbria, in which equidistant Giano was always just a bit too far to manage in one day from the nearest train stations, I did finally go there and I've now walked much of the surroundings.


[image ALT: Part of a rectangular interior space supported by pairs of columns on either side, leading up to an altar, behind which there is a cul-de‑four choir bay with a single small lancet window. It is a partial view of the interior of the abbey church of S. Felice near Giano dell' Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 8/21/04: 10 churches, 17 pages, 74 photos ]

Churches of Giano was the first instalment of this site: not only the county seat of Giano itself, but also some of the churches of Bastardo, Fabbri, and Montecchio, and of course the splendid Romanesque abbey of S. Felice, a few kilometers out of town. The subsite is by no means complete, and will continue to develop.

In addition to those relatively formal pages, and pending others, you should find it useful to read the Apr. 23, Apr. 24 (Parts 1 and 2), and May 3, 2004 entries of my diary, which include several more photographs; and, to a much lesser extent, the Sept. 30, 1998 and Apr. 22, 2004 entries as well. For additional information, see also the sites in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page.

The Frazioni

Like most of the comuni in Italy, Gualdo includes in its territory some smaller towns and hamlets, of a few hundred inhabitants if that, with a certain administrative identity of their own: as elsewhere in Italy, these are referred to as the frazioni of the comune (singular: frazione, literally a "fraction"). I've been to four of them; for now I have sites on two:

[ 10/31/04: 1 page, 1 photo not included above ]

Bastardo is the most populated town in the comune, with more inhabitants than Giano itself, and a good Roman bridge very nearby: it's a very pleasant base for getting to know central Umbria.


[image ALT: A view of some silos near Bastardo, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 7/31/05: 6 pages, 17 photos ]

Castagnola, quietly tucked in behind its medieval walls, is my candidate for the quintessential Umbrian village.


[image ALT: A view of some silos near Castagnola, Umbria (central Italy).]

Completing the list, mostly with links to my diary, sometimes with offsite links: • Fabbri (try your best not to confuse the place with another village by the same name, less than 10 km away, in the comune of Montefalco) • Macciano • Montecchio (not to be confused with the comune by that name, a much larger town in the province of Terni; nor with a small village in the comune of Nocera Umbra) • Morcicchia • S. Savino


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Page updated: 24 Aug 12