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Medieval Churches and Views for Miles

A town of central Umbria, a frazione of Spello: 43°00.8N, 12°41E. Altitude: 600 m. Population: 49.

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Collepino is an attractive hamlet, about 6 km NE from Spello along a steadily rising road that girdles the SE flank of Mount Subasio. It has some bits of medieval wall and a tower, some very nice views and lots of fresh air: I can't think of a healthier place. The territory of the town is also noteworthy for two handsome churches — more climbing up Subasio. . . .

[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).]

The hermitage of S. Silvestro, founded in the 11c, grew to be a locally powerful abbey. It 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.

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[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).]

Mass is celebrated once a year at the rustic chapel of the Madonna della Spella, at 978 m altitude. 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.

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A third church can be found right in town, though. Nothing much — to the point that I've been completely unable so far to find out even its name, and of course I've never seen it open; it might date to anywhere from the 16c to the early 20c, and probably later than earlier, but it's not unattractive:

[image ALT: A stone church, which I have so far failed to identify, in Collepino, Umbria (central Italy).]

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Page updated: 15 Feb 07