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Cannara (Perugia province)

A town of central Umbria: 42°59.6N, 12°34.6E. Altitude: 197 m. Population in 2003: 3950.

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A typical little square in Cannara.

Cannara is an agricultural village in the Topino river plain of central Umbria, about 7 km west of Spello and 9 km north of Bevagna.

A very low-key sort of place, hardly your usual tourist destination, Cannara is still a place you need to know if you're interested in St. Francis (a local boy, since Assisi is only about 10 km N): it was in the Chiesa della Buona Morte that he is thought to have instituted the Third Order, and Pian d'Arca is credited as the site where he preached to the birds.

You should not confuse the full-fledged comune of Cannara with the tiny village by the same name in the comune of Massa Martana in S central Umbria.

[image ALT: A wheat field with a tall block of buildings behind it, out of which two belfries protrude. It is a view of two of the churches of Cannara, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 7/30/05: 9 churches, 5 pages, 21 photos ]

I've chipped away at the churches of Cannara in several passes from 1997 to 2004. It hasn't been easy, since most of them have been resolutely closed every time I've swung thru town. Artistically, the most interesting are the Gothic church of S. Biagio, and S. Sebastiano with its frescoes; but there's a half-dozen others as well.

[image ALT: A modern shrine, a little over one meter on a side, of brick with a tile image of St. Francis preaching to the birds, with a projecting sloping tiled roof to keep off the rain. The shrine is in a beautiful small enclosure with a young oak to the left and three young cypresses to the right. It is a frontal view of the Franciscan shrine at Pian d'Arca near Cannara, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 1 page, 5 photos ]

Not quite a church, just a roadside shrine, the Edicola at Pian d'Arca commemorates the time when St. Francis spoke to the birds, and they listened.

[image ALT: By the side of a one-lane road, barely seen framing the photo to our left, and slightly shaded by a small tree, a stuccoed brick building, the size of a very small pantry, about two and a half meters high and roofed with a symmetrical tile roof, the sides sloping at about 10 degrees. Behind it a flat field, fallow for the moment. The stucco is spalling here and there. It is completely open on one side, and thus forms a sort of wide door, only partly blocked by an elegant stone balustrade about 45 cm high, with two colonnettes on either side, and the space between the sides allowing access to the interior of the hut, in which an altar is ranged against the back wall, spread with a fresh cotton or linen cloth. In the wall above the altar table is a painting of the Virgin and Child. It is an 18c roadside shrine, or madonnina, a few hundred meters from Cannara, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 1 page, 2 photos ]

An older but even more modest roadside shrine, closer to town: the madonnina in via Bevagna.

The Frazioni

Most of the comuni in Umbria include in their territories 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. In the case of Cannara, there is just one frazione, and I've been there:

[image ALT: A clump of old houses on a little butte: a square belfry pokes up out of the group. In the distance, low forested hills. It is a view of the village of Collemancio in Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 2/18/03: 3 pages, 16 photos ]

Collemancio sits atop the last northernmost bits of the Colli Martani as they start to slope down to the flood plain of the Tiber; it has some interesting medieval landmarks and the remains of a small Roman-period settlement currently being excavated, usually labeled Urvinum (or Urbinum) Hortense.

For context, you may also find it useful to tag along on my walks in the area (the raw material of the more formal pages of this site) with these entries of my diary, which include 2 more photos each of Cannara and Collemancio: Sept. 30, 1997 • Sept. 2, 1998 • May 3, 2004.

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Site updated: 4 Dec 17