Key to Umbria: Narni

Walk I: Roman City

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The walk begins in Piazza Garibaldi, which is thronged with buses, cafés and people.   The left wall of the Duomo (see below) dominates the north side of the piazza.  As illustrated in the diagram, it was built parallel to and outside the walls of the Roman city.  Subsidence has led to the exposure of its foundations, and a flight of steps has had to be built to provide access to the side door.  The tower to the left of the steps is the public clock tower: the citizens of Terni took the opportunity of the sack of Narni in 1527 to steal its clock.  The campanile of the Duomo (see below) can be seen behind and to the right of it in the photograph.
Turn right along Via Roma to the junction on the left with Via Arco Romano.   Travellers from Rome arrived here along Via Flaminia.  

The statue (2007) by Mario Matticari at the junction, on the right of  Via Arco Romano, depicts the Emperor Marcus Cocceius Nerva (96-8 AD), who was born in Narni ca. 30 AD. 

Turn left along Via Arco Romano: the street is named for the medieval Arco Romano, which probably stands on the site of a Roman double gate (as in the diagram above) that provided one of only two significant entrances to the Roman city.   In the legend of St Juvenal, which was probably written in the 7th century, this gate was known as Porta Superiore.  The wall on the left belongs to Palazzo Vescovile - see below.  There is an interesting column embedded in it, above large travertine blocks that probably came from the Roman gate.  

Turn left at the end of Via Arco Romano, into Piazza Cavour: 
the main entrance to the Duomo (San Giovenale) is in front of you; and
ex-Palazzo Vescovile (17th century) is on the left.  
The arch between them was opened (at the expense of the left-most arch of the loggia of the Duomo) in 1832 to improve vehicular access to Piazza Cavour. 
Piazza Cavour, like Piazza Garibaldi, was outside the Roman city; indeed, the spaces were contiguous until the construction of Palazzo Vescovile.  The buildings on the right (as you face San Giovenale) stand on the line of the Roman wall, traces of which was visible near ground level.   Another short section in direct line with it was discovered in the right aisle of the Duomo in 1953, near the site of the grave of St Juvenal.  Before the Duomo was built (in the 11th century), this grave was covered by a much smaller chapel that was used for the burial of the early bishops of Narni.
In 1936, a number of rectangular graves were found cut into the rock in Piazza Cavour, which were initially thought to date to the pre-Roman settlement of Nequinum (which  the Romans conquered and renamed Narnia in 299 BC).   Further excavations carried out in 1989 relocated some of these graves, which scholars now date to the early Christian period.  It seems that the existence nearby of the grave of St Juvenal and of the associated funerary chapel stimulated the development of a Christian cemetery here. 
Excavations carried out in 1983 unearthed objects (150 - 75 AD) in what seems to have been a refuse dump, including a number of amphorae that would originally have contained imported oil and wine.  These finds are displayed in the Museo della Città e del Territorio. 
This old photograph shows the monument to Giordano Bruno, which was erected against the wall to the right of the Duomo in 1910.  The symbolism was poignant: the Dominican Giordano Bruno had been burned as a heretic by the papal government in 1600, and a statue of him had been erected in Rome in 1860, in the anti-clerical atmosphere following the unification of Italy.  The monument in Narni that was erected fifty years later employed two columns from the room under San Domenico that the Inquisition had used in the 18th century (see the page on Sant’ Angelo).  The presence of the monument so close to the Duomo was another expression of defiance.   The monument was removed in 1926 on the orders of the Fascist government.  The columns were destroyed at that time, but the bust of Giordano Bruno by Salvatore Buemi was moved to the atrium of Palazzo Comunale (see below).  It was relocated [where??] in February 2010. 
On leaving San Giovenale, cross Piazza Cavour and turn left along Via Garibaldi: 
the second arch of Porta Superiore probably pierced the Roman wall at this junction; and 
Via Garibaldi follows the line of the Roman cardo maximus, which coincided with Via Flaminia (or perhaps with a spur of it) as it traversed the city.  

Turn left along Via del Campanile, which is named for the campanile of San Giovenale.  [The buildings on the left, before the campanile, belonged to the Palazzo dei Canonici.]

Follow this street as it turns right, to San Francesco on the left and the adjacent Palazzo Eroli, which now houses the Museo della Città e del Territorio and the Pinacoteca. 
Take the first turn on the right, Vicola del Comune, past the side of Palazzo Comunale on the right.  Continue into the Piazza dei Priori, which was the site of both the Roman forum and the medieval Platea Maior.  The civic fountain is at the end of the piazza on the left.  

The cafe next to Palazzo Comunale is housed in Palazzo Calderini (16th century).  There are vestiges of decorative frescoes high up on its facade.

The buildings on the opposite side of the piazza are (from left to right): 
Palazzo dei Priori; 
Torre Civica (13th century); and 

Palazzo Sacripante (13th century), which has medieval reliefs on its facade.  

Leave Piazza dei Priori along Via Mazzini, to Santa Maria Impensole on the right.  Having visited the church, walk down [name??], to the right of it.   The entrance to the  lower church is on the  left,  just before the 1st turn on the left.  If you briefly take that turn, you can see the hanging apse  of the upper church, immediately on the left.   If the  entrance to the lower church is locked, you can  arrange to see it by contacting Narni Sotterranea.  
Return to Via Mazzini and continue to Palazzo Scotti, at number 7 on the left. 
The three towers known as the Torre dei Marzi (14th century) are at number 14 - 23 on the right.  The inscription "Ludovicus Martius" is on the portal of the central tower.  This was the birthplace in 1427 of the humanist Galeotto Marzio. 

The next turn on the left leads to the Giardino di San Bernardo, which was the site of a Cistercian nunnery of San Bernardo, which was demolished in the 19th century.  The remains of the campanile of the church of San Bernardo can be seen on the left.  To view the other side, turn left before entering the gardens and then 1st right. 
Return to the Giardino di San Bernardo.   The fountain here has a relief of the arms of Narni. 

The office of Narni Sotterranea is to the right of the fountain.  This leads to the subterranean church of  Sant’ Angelo and the rooms used in the 16th century by the Inquisition, all of which are under the Convento di San Domenico.  
The campanile of San Domenico is further along on the left, at the junction with Via Mazzini.  The interesting facade of the church is beyond it, ...

... opposite Piazza XIII Giugno, which is named in honour of the liberation of Narni from the Fascists on 13th June, 1944.   

The palace at number 7 opposite the church, which is thought to have been the old Palazzo Vescovile, has interesting busts above the portal (illustrated above) and more inside, in the vestibule.
Continue along Via Mazzini to Santa Restituta, which is on the left.  
The junction of Via Mazzini and Piazza Galeotto Marzia was probably the site of the second major Roman gate, by which Via Flaminia entered Narni from the north, via the Ponte di Augusto.  The buildings around the piazza belonged to the complex of the Ospedale della Beata Lucia di Narni.
Via Marcellina on the right follows the line of the Roman wall, while Via della Mura across the piazza follows the medieval circuit.  Take the first of these to the junction with Via Gattamelata.  [The ex-nunnery of Sant’ Anna (date??) stands at this junction: there is a fine view from the courtyard to the right of it.]

Continue along Via Gattamelata, still following the line of the Roman walls.   Porta del Vodano, which was probably the site of a minor gate from Roman times, can be seen at the end of  the next alley on the left.  A narrow path leads steeply down towards the Nera from this point.

Continue Via Gattamelata, which is named for the condottieri (mercenary soldier), Erasmo di Narni, called Gattamelata (died 1443), whose nickname derived from the name of his mother, Melania Gattelli da Todi.  The house in which he was born is at number 113 on the right.  

Some way further on, you pass the house in which the Blessed Lucy of Narni was born, which is number 16 on the left.  Shortly after, fork left into Via del Asilo, passing Sant’ Agostino on the left. 
The road swings right as Via Ferrucci, still following the line of the Roman walls.  This road, which is named for the 19th century humanist Caterina Franceschi Ferrucci.  Follow it back  to Via Garibaldi, turn left and through Piazza Cavour into Piazza Garibaldi, where the walk round the site of the Roman city ends.