Spoleto is a town of ancient origins, dwelling on a site inhabited since the prehistory; the real founders of Spoleto were likely the old Umbrian’s, approximately 1000 years before Christ. Though showing an architectural structure with obvious Roman influences, the city today reveals a typically medieval aspect, acquired during the period when it was at first a flourishing Lombard Dukedom and then an important Commune of the State of the Church.
The oldest remains of Spoleto are the Roman Arco di Druso (23 AD), placed near the Romanesque church of Sant’Ansano, the Roman Theatre, whose construction dates back to the first years of the Empire, and the early Christian Church of San Salvatore (5th century AD).
Not far from the Romanesque church of S. Gregorio Maggiore, featuring a wonderful apse and a raised presbytery, a Roman Bridge is still visible, with its three arches built in white marble blocks. Monuments of more recent age, but of equal charm, are the church of San Domenico and the church of San Ponziano, both erected around the 12th century. Surely of great interest is also the church of San Pietro, for its extraordinary bas-reliefs decorating the 13th century’s facade.
From the square outside San Pietro one can enjoy a panoramic view embracing the whole Spoleto, including the imposing Ponte delle Torri (80 meters high and 230 meters long); this mighty bridge connects the majestic Rocca Albornotziana, realized in the 14th century, to the feet of mount Monteluco. Monteluco was the sacred place of the hermits who settled there since the 7th century, founding the convent of San Francesco, approximately 8 km from town, and the church of San Giuliano. Surely unforgettable, for those who have the fortune to visit these places, will be the complex of the cathedral (12th century), featuring an inside rich in Renaissance paintings and a beautiful facade decorated with Byzantine style mosaics and a great rose-window.
Among the most important events organized in town, the world-famous Festival dei Due Mondi deserves a particular mention; it is a great cultural event created in 1957 by Giancarlo Menotti and carried out annually from the end of June to the beginning of July. An international stage for artists coming from all around the world with ballets, concerts, operas and theatre pieces, sculpture and painting exhibitions.