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The Medieval Gates of Spello


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The Portonaccio. Despite advertising Roman Hispellum, the gate is completely medieval, lying just outside the Roman walls: see below.


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The Portonaccio is the only one of Spello's twelve extant gates built in the plain. There is barely one block between it and the much larger Consolare and its high watchtower. I can't resist feeling that it was just a matter of medieval pride: in the Middle Ages as now, the natural approach would be from the south, and this would have been your first contact with the city.

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The other five medieval gates, are, widdershins around the city from the Portonaccio:

  • the Porta Chiusa or "closed" gate, towards the foot of the hill: it was a sort of rear entrance to Spello, and for a long time was blocked up, whence its name.
  • the Porta Prato (where prato is Italian for "meadow"), a side gate leading out to the centuriated fields just E of town.
  • the Porta Montanara at the NE exit from town, the road to S. Girolamo and the cemetery and from there to Collepino in the mountains.
  • the Porta Fontevecchia at the NW exit from town, the road to S. Claudio and Assisi.
  • and the Porta S. Angelo 30m outside the Torri di Properzio.

Each one of them should get its own little page, although for some I might not have quite the material.


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Page updated: 16 Apr 98