The train leaves Spoleto and moves northwards with views on the sources of the Clitumnus, a small stream celebrated by Virgil in his Georgicae, a poem dedicated to the pleasures of a rural lifestyle (Geor. 2. 146-48 - Translated by J. W. MacKail):
|hinc albi, Clitumne, greges et maxima taurus|
victima, saepe tuo perfusus flumine sacro,
Romanos ad templa deorum duxere triumphos.
|hence thy white flocks, Clitumnus, and the lordly victim bull, often bathed in thy holy stream,
lead on Roman triumphs to the gods' temples.
Virgil envisaged that the oxen which were traditionally sacrificed (suovetaurilia) during a Roman triumph were bred in the meadows near the Clitumnus. The countryside landscape celebrated by Virgil has not lost its evocative power.
View of Trevi
Trevi (a station on the railway), is the ancient Trebia, a mountain-town occasionally resorted to by Romans in summer,
and one of the steepest places imaginable, each house apparently rising on the hill-side almost where the roof of the
last comes to an end.
Augustus J. C. Hare - Days near Rome - 1875
A few miles north of the Clitumnus the conical hill of Trevi retains the appearance which made many Romantic travellers compare its sight with that of the tower of Babel. Trevi is surrounded by olive groves and its low medieval walls still mark the limit of the town.
A winding modern road links the railway station with the top of the town, but accessing Trevi by the old way is much more evocative: the walls were built in the XIIIth century in a period of economic growth which saw the expansion of the town from the very top of the hill (where the ancient Roman Trebiae was located) to its lower part.
Archways: (left) Portico del Mostaccio; (centre) near S. Francesco; (right) near Porta del Cieco
The reference to the Tower of Babel was not justified only by Trevi having a conical appearance, but also by the spiralling street which leads to the top of the town: Portico del Mostaccio was one of the gates of the ancient town.
Palaces of the Valenti family: (left) entrance to Palazzetto alla Piaggia which was decorated with the pills of the Medici family to commemorate a visit by Pope Clement VII Medici;
(centre) entrance to Palazzo Valenti a S. Francesco: (right) Palazzo Valenti alla Rocca
The Valenti family played an important role in the history of Trevi; several palaces are named after them: two members of the family were appointed cardinals.
(left) House decorated with a 1512 graffito portraying three goddesses in Via Zappelli, near the Town Hall; (centre) 1415 fresco in Via Cavour; (right) "madonnella" in Via Natalucci near Porta del Cieco, a Gothic portal which is shown in the image used as background for this page
Wandering through the narrow streets of Trevi leads to discovering some interesting paintings of various periods, including a typical Renaissance decoration.
(left) Palazzo Approvati; (right) S. Francesco: detail of the portal
The rich countryside around Trevi has always provided some wealth to the town: so there are both Renaissance palaces and richly decorated medieval churches.
Trevi cathedral is located at the top of the hill on the site of a Roman temple dedicated to Diana and more exactly to Diana Trivia, patroness of trivia, a place where three roads meet. The name of the town derives from that of the goddess; the original medieval church was modified several times and its orientation was changed: the apse is part of the XIIth century building, while the portal is a XVth century work. Umbria and especially the part near the Apennines is a seismic region and the cathedral was damaged by various earthquakes; the most recent one occurred in 1997 and it severely hit nearby Foligno, while Trevi suffered lesser damage.
Views of the Town Hall and the only "Fontana di Trevi"
The Town Hall is another building which the inhabitants of Trevi had to repair
several times, in particular after a 1703 earthquake,
so the current palace is a mixture of different styles,
while the strongly built tower is basically that erected in the XIIIth century.
Fontana di Trevi is one of the Roman "must see", but Trevi has very
little to offer from this point of view, the only historical fountain being a
rather modest XVIIIth century work made by assembling some medieval elements.
The official name of the town is Trevi nell'Umbria to distinguish it from Trevi nel Lazio, a very small town.
Move to Foligno.