Amelia is a tiny little village whose history dates back earlier than any other town in the region. According to legend a mythological king called Ameroe established this settlement in 12 BC. Some Latin texts refer to Amelia even in the 11th century BC. Rome would be born four centuries later. Surrounding the theatre, the walls that protected the village are thought to date back to the 6th century BC, however the rest belongs to the 4th century.
The walls still standing around the town house the gate "Porta" that lets visitors in and out. Outside the Porta Romana visitors will find the tourist office, parking facilities, the bus station and cafés where you can savour the local speciality of fichi girotti, a snack of figs with chocolate.
Information can be obtained at the tourist office outside the Porta Romana or linking www.amelia.it
What to See and Do
The Museo Archeologico di Amelia is a definite must-visit. One of its marvellous pieces is a statue of Germanico, the Roman captain who was adopted by Tiberius. This statue, which is over 2 metres tall wears an armour representing Achilles attacking Troilus in the Trojan War. One of Piermatteo d’Amelia’s works of art is housed in this museum. This Amelian artist was a key figure for Christopher Columbus to obtain the ships that took him to America. Piermatteo painted the original Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Under Piazza Mattettotti is a Roman cistern that should also be seen.
For a romantic walk, stroll down from Piazza Matteotti, past the Palazzo Municipale to the "Girl Kissing Alley" (Vicolo Baciafemmine ).This passage is so named due to its narrowness making for intimacy!
The theatrical society to which only the middle class and bourgeoisie could belong were determined to give their village more cultural activity and construct a theatre. It was erected on Via del Teatro and became an important meeting point. Original wood wheels are still used for the moving wings. Domenico Bruschi was in charge of painting the frescoes and booths in 1886.
From Via della Valle there is a magnificent view of the stone walls erected by the Etruscans in the 6th century BC. The roughness of the stones indicates just how old they are and in fact no mortar was used in their construction making it even more surprising that they are still standing.
The Chiesa di San Francesco dates back to the 13th century, however its façade in the Romanesque and Gothic styles was added in 1406. It also underwent modifications in the 20th century.
Today the cathedral sits in the space that various different religious buildings have occupied since the 9th century. The cathedral houses many valuable paintings and sculptures.
The Torre Civica, which is next to the cathedral, is a tower erected in the Middle Ages in 1050 on a dodecagonal base which represents the 12 apostles and the 12 zodiac signs.
The Palio di Columbi, held in August, is a magnificent celebration which has been going for centuries ever since the 1300s, a celebration looked forward to by residents and visitors alike. In August the teams representing the different neighbourhoods compete in an archery competition. The results have been billed in the municipal records for seven centuries now. Almost everyone from Amelia dresses up in typical costumes recreating the medieval times. Knights and crossbowmen aim their arrows at a target which sets a dove free. The Porta Romana which remains open every single day of the year is only closed during this celebration.
Around Amelia is Amerino, the perfect starting point for a journey of cultural and natural discovery. A car drive is the best way to explore. The holm-oaks and ilex groves, and rivers meandering their way through create a beautiful landscape. The Lago di Alviano and Orsi di Alviano are today a refuge for birds formed after the building of the dam in Lago di Corbara.
The Museo Storico Multimediale Bartolomeo d’Alviano e I Capitani di Ventura have fabulous collections to delve into. The influential Alviano family was key in erecting Orvieto´s cathedral and the famed Capitano di Ventura Bartolomeo d’Alviano was even represented on a Venetian coin.
You can learn Italian in this little town too! Eurolinks offers courses for all ability levels and accommodates students in an Italian farmhouse or with a host family. Eurolinks organizes cooking lessons, wellness retreats and visits to wineries and olive mills as well.
Where to Eat
The fichi girotti is a local speciality that should not be missed by any means. It is a deliciuos combination of figs with chocolate and nuts.
Osteria dei Cansacchi, decorated in the medieval style, serves a combination of two local delights: wild boar and mushrooms, the bistecche di cinghiale e porcini. Well priced home made pizza and pasta with black tartufo and excellent fish are other offerings.
At La Cabelletta the house speciality is the pasta accompanied with wild hare sauce.
How to Get to/around/from
BY BUS. From Amelia to Narni (services: 9 a day), to Narni Scalo (services: 10 a day), to Orvieto (duration:1.10hours, services:7 a day), to Terni ( length:1 hour, services: 16 a day).
BY CAR : there is a paid parking near the city centre. At the end of the street along the walls to the left is the free car park. Rather than by car it is recommended to discover the actual town on foot as everything is within a small area.