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Terni (Terni province)

A town of S Umbria: 42°33N, 12°39E. Altitude: 130 m. Population in 2003: 105,700.

[image ALT: A decaying ancient structure, about the size and shape of a football stadium. In the background a square church belfry is visible. It is the Roman amphitheatre and the upper bit of the cathedral of the city of Terni.]

The Roman amphitheatre, with the belfry of the Duomo in the background.

The provincial capital of Terni, 36 km NW of Rieti and 104 km N of Rome, is a lively industrial and university town in the Nera valley.

Though it offers nothing extraordinary to the traveler, in part due to heavy bombing in World War II, it is a pleasant place with several nice medieval churches, a museum, and the remains of a Roman amphitheatre built in A.D. 32.

To students of ancient Rome, Terni is a convenient base of exploration since the attractive countryside around it is home to two of the great engineering feats of antiquity: the Cascata delle Marmore (7 km E) and, at Narni (13 km SE), the largest Roman bridge in the world; also nearby, the particularly handsome and atmospheric Roman town of Carsulae (13 km NW).

The extended territory of the township is larger than that of many in Umbria; in addition to the places covered in my pages below, the beautiful little town, lake and international rowing venue of Piediluco should be mentioned: this by way of saying that I've seen it from a road a hundred meters above it, but a closer exploration is still in my future.

A proper website will eventually appear here, since I've been to Terni several times, although mostly to change trains! and on some of these little trips took time to see a few things both in and near town. As my first steps toward that proper website:

[image ALT: missingALT in Cesi, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 6 pages, 23 photos ]

The outlying frazione of Cesi, one of the Terre Arnolfe about 10 km NW of downtown Terni, is strikingly sited and offers many sights to the slow traveler. I haven't been as good at this slow travel as I'd like, but can still give you a good feel for the place: medieval streets, vestiges of Roman tombs from nearby Carsulae, a Renaissance door, a beautiful modern sundial.

[image ALT: missingALT in Cesi, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 2 pages, 6 photos ]

Poggio Lavarino, another outlying frazione, is a much smaller place, but beautiful, and it has a medieval tower and a tiny church with some interesting art.

[image ALT: missingALT in Cesi, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 1 page, 2 photos ]

Polenaco I've not been to, but I've seen it from across the valley of the Serra: might as well share those pictures.

While I write the other pages of the site then, for a good summary presentation of the city's history and chief monuments, see the Encyclopedia Britannica article; and for further information, see the websites linked in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page. Encyclopedia Britannica article; and for further information, see the websites linked in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page.

Covering all bases, specialists looking for the shrine of the obscure ancient goddess Vacuna will find a discussion in the article by Mary Grant, who tentatively places it at Piediluco: CJ 18:220‑224.


For historical reasons, Terni is one of the larger comuni in Umbria, and includes in its territory a long list of subject towns and hamlets. Many of these places are very small, a few hundred inhabitants if that; as elsewhere in Italy, those that have a certain administrative identity of their own are frazioni of the comune (singular: frazione, literally a "fraction"): a complete list of them follows. I've been to a number of them: for these, links will be to my own site, either to formal pages on the town or to a diary entry; otherwise any links are offsite.

Battiferro • Cecalocco • Cesi and the dramatically sited mountaintop Romanesque church of S. Erasmo • Collescipoli • Collestatte • Gabelletta • Giuncano • Marmore • Miranda • Papigno • Piediluco • Poggio Lavarino • Porzano • Rivo • Rocca S. Zenone • S. Carlo • S. Liberatore • Torreorsina • Valenza

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Page updated: 26 Apr 20