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Alviano (Terni province)

A town of central Umbria: 42°35.2N, 12°17.5E. Altitude: 257 m. Population in 2003: 1500.

[image ALT: A large rectangular 3‑story almost windowless machicolated medieval castle with round towers at the corners. It dominates a huddle of about a dozen houses, and a church with a 3‑story square belfry to its immediate left, on a hill over­looking successive ridges of hills into the distance, with clumps of deciduous trees and the occasional olive grove. It is a view of Alviano, Umbria (central Italy).]

The Rocca of Alviano, as seen from the main road down into town.

Alviano is a small town just off the road from Amelia (12 km southeast) to Orvieto (30 km northwest), over­looking the Tiber, or to be more accurate, the artificial Lake of Alviano, created by a dam in the river: nowhere more than half a meter deep, it is a protected wetland.

The town is dominated by its Rocca, or medieval fortress, over which hovers the grim memory of Olimpia Pamphilj Maidalchini, cousin to Pope Innocent X, who liked her young men handsome, and when she was thru with them, dead. Recently restored, the castle of Alviano is now somewhat more cheerful, housing two museums and in the summer, hosting outdoor theatre in the courtyard. The chapel of S. Francesco has attractive 17c frescoes commemorating St. Francis' visit to Alviano in 1213; just outside the town, a second chapel, the Cappella delle Rondini, is more specific and commemorates the saint's preaching to the swallows here. (There are at least two other places in Umbria where this episode is said to have occurred; for a discussion and further links, see the 16th chapter of the Little Flowers of St. Francis).

The area is notable also for Roman ruins, among which especially a villa at Pupigliano thought by some to be the home of a C. Popilius, tribune of the plebs.

A proper website will eventually appear here, since I've been to Alviano, if briefly. In the meanwhile, you might find it useful to read the brief section in the July 22, 2000 entry of my diary; for further (and much better) information, see the websites linked in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page.


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 Alviano, there is just one frazione, and I haven't been there: any link will be offsite.

Alviano Scalo

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Page updated: 27 Apr 20