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Cerreto di Spoleto (Perugia province)

A town of eastern Umbria: 42°49.4N, 12°54.6E. Altitude: 558 m. Population in 2003: 1140.

[image ALT: Thru the overhanging branches of a large tree, the upper part of a stone building with a small belfry with two openings, of the kind known as a campanile a vela; in the background, two kilometers away and several hundred meters lower in a valley, a village. It is a view of Cerreto from the church of S. Giacomo.]

The belfry of S. Giacomo in the upper town (Cerreto Alto).
In the valley below, the lower town (Cerreto Borgo).

Cerreto is your quintessential eagle's aerie: a very small place on a steep isolated crag of mountain overhanging the Nera and Vigi rivers. The inhabitants of the town are said to be the original charlatans in that this word is supposed to derive from Cerretani, a word origin which though it reeks of folk etymology has been accepted by serious dictionaries.

In addition to the frescoed hermitage of the Madonna della Stella, mostly carved into live rock in the 14c, about 12 km S but still within the territory of Cerreto, there are several interesting medieval churches in the comune: S. Maria Delibera with a pair of attractive sculpted Madonnas; S. Giacomo with 14c‑15c frescoes; S. Maria at Ponte, a splendid Romanesque building with a classic rose window and many other interesting and beautiful features; the 13c church of S. Lorenzo at Borgo Cerreto; and S. Nicola at Rocchetta.

The frazione of Triponzo lay on the Roman road from Norcia to Spoleto, still pretty much followed by the modern SS395/SS320: the place is famous for an ancient Roman inscription carved in the rock of a cliff, recording the names of the government officials in charge of building the road.

My fate seems to be to crisscross Cerreto in a mad rush, once every three or four years. Still, I've been there several times, so these pages will eventually include a proper website on the town. In the meanwhile, you will probably find it useful to read the Jul. 15, 2000 and May 12, 2004 entries of my diary, which include more photos. For further information of course, you should also see the websites linked in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page.

February 2001, as a first step toward that proper website:

[image ALT: A small rectangular building, not much more than a single room, with an arched door. Near it to one side, a little square tower. It is a view of the ruined church of S. Paterniano in Cerreto Borgo, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 6/9/05: 10 churches, 10 pages, 38 photos ]

In my hurried visits, I never saw most of the best churches, nor were they open most of the time, nor did I necessarily see the right thing in the churches I did see; but just the same, I can still show you some of Cerreto's churches, including one very good one.


Like most of the comuni in Italy, Cerreto 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"): a complete list of them follows.

Borgo Cerreto • Buggiano • Colle Soglio • Macchia • Nortosce • Ponte • Rocchetta • Triponzo

Famous Native

Cerreto's most famous son is undoubtedly the 15c scholar, poet and political adviser Giovanni Pontano, even if he left the town when he was a teenager, apparently only too glad to go away. An interesting biographical sketch of Pontanus is onsite.

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Page updated: 3 Jul 19