Key to Umbria: Terni

From Piazza della Repubblica to Porta Spoletina

Leave Piazza della Repubblica with Palazzo Comunale and then Piazza Solferino on the left and Piazza Europa on the right and continue along Via Garibaldi.  This was the decumanus maximus of the Roman city. 

Take a short detour by turning right along Vico Tempio del Sole into Largo San Salvatore and the church of San Salvatore.  The street takes it name from the fact that a Roman domus, traces of which were found under the church, was once thought to have belonged to a temple dedicated to the Roman god, Sol Invictus.

Return to Via Garibaldi and turn right.  The medieval Porta del Sesto (later Porta Garibaldi) probably stood near the junction with Via delle Conce (on the right) and Via San Nicandro, at or near its Roman predecessor.  The gate had been replaced by a customs barrier by the 1930s and no trace of it now survives.  

Take a short detour by continuing along  Via Garibaldi to the bridge over the River Nera that was known as Ponte Sesto (now Ponte Garibaldi).   Both the bridge and the gate were named for Sextus Pompeius, who was said to have built the original bridge here in Roman times.  The present bridge was built after its predecessor was destroyed in the bombardment of the Second World War.

Continue across the river: the entrance to the old premises of the Società Italiano Ricerche Industriali (SIRI) is across the roundabout and on the left.  An ironworks that had opened here in 1580 was destroyed in the earthquake of 17o3.  Pope Pius VI appointed Cardinal Filippo Carandini to establish a successor (the Ferriera Pontificia) in 1790.  The factory had a chequered history and finally closed in 1905.  Luigi Casale, a chemical engineer, founded SIRI here in 1925.  The site was abandoned in the late 20th century and has recently been adapted as a cultural centre.  It houses the Museo Archeologico and (from 2009) the Pinacoteca Comunale and the Museo d’ Arte Moderna.

Retrace your steps to the junction of Via Garibaldi and  Via San Nicandro.  Turn right along the latter: this street is named for the church of San Nicandro (13th century), which passed in 1291 to a confraternity that became known as the Confraternita di San Nicandro.  The church was demolished in 1950.   [The nearby nunnery of Santa Monica was demolished - when?]

The house at the corner of Via della Stella on the left has foundations made from huge travertine blocks that probably came from the Roman walls.

Continue to the junction with Largo Pietro Manni.  The ex-church of San Giuseppe (18th century) is on the left here.  This church contains traces of a much older building.  It assumed the functions of the parish church of Sant’ Andrea (see below) when the latter was destroyed by the bombardment of the Second World War.  It was subsequently deconsecrated.

Walk along the side of San Giuseppe and then right along a second side of Largo Pietro Manni.  Turn left along Via Chiodaioli: this street, previously Via Clai, is named for the nail makers who supplied the local shoemakers.  There are three interesting turns to the right:

  1. Vicolo San Procolo was probably named for the Franciscan nunnery of San Procolo.  Take a short detour along it and turn right, Via Sant' Andrea, which was named for a church of that dedication (mentioned above) that was destroyed by the bombardment of the Second World War.  Andrea Castelli and his sons were buried here after Braccio Fortebracci murdered them in 1415.  Return to Via Chiodaioli.

  2. Piazza Clai was at the heart of one of the most vibrant quarters of the medieval city.
  3. Via del Comune Vecchio is named for the Palazzo del Comune (1292-1302), which was built at an unknown location nearby.  Tradition has it that the house in Piazza Clai depicted here, which backs onto Via del Comune Vecchio, stands on the site.

Continue along what is now Via Tre Archi to the junction with Corso Vecchio, the cardo maximus of the Roman city.  Turn right and continue to the triangular Piazza Corona, which was once the Jewish quarter of the city.  The Roman gate at the north end of the cardo maximus probably stood in Piazza Corona.  Its successor must have been demolished when the new walls were built in ca. 1354 (see below).  The piazza was also the site of four other monuments of which no traces survive:

  1. the Arco di Domiziano (late 1st century AD), a Roman arch erected in honour of the Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD), which was documented in the 17th century and recorded as in ruins in the 19th century;

  2. two buildings that belonged to the Confraternita di San Nicandro:

  3. the church of San Cleto; and

  4. the adjacent Ospedale dei Pellegrini; and

  5. the church of San Nicolò, which was documented as “foris portam” or variants thereof in the period 1275-1372, but as “inter portas” in later documents (from 1429) .  This suggests that it was outside the first walls of Terni but enclosed by the new circuit in ca. 1354. 

The nearby gate in the new circuit of walls, Porta San Giovanni, was named for a nearby church that was described as ancient in the 17th century.  No trace survives of either the gate or the church, although Via Porta San Giovanni on the right commemorates the former.  Walk a little way long it, to the junction with Via Castello: this was probably the site of the new gate.

Turn left along Via Castello into Piazza Buozzi: a Roman necropolis (which would have been just outside the Roman walls) was excavated here in 1999.  Turn right across the piazza: Viale Benedetto Brin ahead leads to the industrial complex outside Terni. 

Turn left along Via della Bardesca to the junction with Via Eugenio Chiesa (ahead) and Viale Curia Dentato.  The surviving tower of Porta Spoletina, which was built at this junction, was embedded into a new factory known as the Officine Bosco in 1890.  The factory, which was named for the industrialist Antonio Bosco, closed in 1976 and the complex now houses the Centro Multimediale di Terni.

The detour to Santa Maria dell’ Oro begins and ends here.

From Porta Spoletina to Piazza della Repubblica

Turn left along Viale Curia Dentato (or right if you have returned here after the detour).  This busy street was built in the 19th century to link the railway station (see below) to the the industrial zone outside the city.  It is named for  Manius Curius Dentatus, who built the Cascata delle Marmore in 272 BC. 

Continue past Sant’ Antonio da Padova on the left.

Take second turning on the left after the church, along Via Tre Monumenti into Piazza Tre Monumenti.  The street and piazza are named for three Roman funerary monuments, the bases of  which were found here in 1907.  These have been associated  associated with the three monuments in Terni that were demolished in 1568 on the orders of Pope Paul V.  According to tradition, the monuments had commemorated:
  1. the historian Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (died ca. 117 AD);

  2. the Emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus (275-6 AD); and

  3. his half-brother and successor, the Emperor Florianus (276 AD).

Turn right along Via Domenico Mascio, cross the piazza in front of the modern Alterocca complex (named for the Poligrafico Alterocca - see below) and continue along the footpath into Piazza Dante Alighieri, in front of the railway station. 

The structure at the end of the footpath is known as “La Grande Pressa”: this huge press was ordered from the English company Davy Brothers for the Acciaierie steelworks in 1935.  It survived the bombardment of the Second World War and remained on its original site until 1993.  It was re-assembled here in 1999.

Turn left and left again along Viale della Stazione, which takes you back towards the centre of Terni.  Continue to the junction with Via Marco Claudio on the left, which is named for the Emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus.   (The edicola on the opposite side of Viale della Stazione sells English newspapers).

The print works known as the Poligrafico Alterocca, which Virgilio Alterocca built in 1877, extended along Viale della Stazione from Via Marco Claudio to Via Floriano (which is named for the Emperor Florianus).   The ancient necropolis of San Pietro in Campo occupied  this block and the next one, which extends to Via Tre Monumenti.  The necropolis is so-named because the area was known as the Contrado di San Pietro in Campo, presumably because there was a church of that dedication nearby.  

  1. The first tombs of the necropolis were discovered near the junction of Viale della Stazione and  Via Tre Monumenti in 1907.  

  2. Some 50 tombs (ca. 720 - 580 BC) were excavated nearby in 1910-12. 

  3. The demolition of the Poligrafico Alterocca in 1966 provided an opportunity for further excavation of the necropolis. 

  4. Two campaigns, in 1998 and 2000, revealed the existence of a further 46 tombs that had been in use in the decades around 600 BC. 

Finds from the excavations of 1910-12 and 1998-2000 are exhibited in the Museo Archeologico.  

Continue to along Viale della Stazione to Piazza Cornelio Tacito, which is at the heart of the modern city.  Like the corso beyond (see below), it is named for Gaius Cornelius Tacitus.  The architects Mario Ridolfi and Mario Fagiolo designed this important urban space in 1932, at which point the war memorial (1926) was transferred to Piazza Briccialdi (see Walk I). 

  1. Mario Ridolfi and Mario Fagiolo also designed the three-tiered civic fountain, which has a tall steel spire at its centre to symbolise the industrial heritage of the city.   It was destroyed during the bombardment of the Second World War and rebuilt in 1961.  Corrado Cagli designed the polychrome mosaic in the first basin  which depicts the signs of the Zodiac.   The fountain was restored in 1994, but the mosaics are still in a very bad state of repair.

  1. Cesare Bazzani designed the neo-Classical Palazzo del Governo (1930-6), which is on the left, just before the piazza (on the right in the picture below) after Terni was designated as the second provincial capital of Umbria (after Perugia) in 1927.  It is still the headquarters of the Prefettura and Provincia di Terni.

The tourist office is at number 4 Via Cassian Bon, which is the road to the right as you leave the piazza.

Continue along Corso Cornelio Tacito.  Turn left into Largo Passavanti, which is named for Elia Rossi Passavanti, the historian and politician who was decorated in both World Wars.  The tall metal sculpture (1980) to the right is entitled “Opera” and is the work of Umberto Mastroianni.  It was a gift from the “Società Acciai Speciali Terni” to the Commune.

Fork left along Via Angeloni.  This was previously part of the Via delle Carrozze, which provided a route suitable for carriages traveling from the Duomo to Porta Spoletina (see above).  The church of San Cristoforo is on the left.

Take a short detour by continuing straight ahead on leaving the church into Piazza del Mercato Nuova.  The market was moved here from Piazza Solferino (see below) in 1960.  This was the site of the Franciscan nunnery of Santa Caterina, which was documented in the 14th century.  It was closed in 1845 and the complex was used a a school until it was destroyed in the bombardment of the Second World War. 

Return to San Cristoforo and turn right along Via Angeloni, with Largo dei Banderari on the left.  This space is named for the body of 24 magistrates drawn from the middle classes that revolted against papal control in 1564.  Continue along Via Angeloni to the junction with Via San Tommaso on the right.

Take a short detour here by turning left across the edge of the car park and left again at the far corner along the (unmarked ) Vico Possenti, past the remains of the a tower from the medieval walls. 

Follow this narrow street as it curves to the right.  The large travertine blocks in the wall of number 62 on the left, which probably came from the Roman walls, were discovered in 1985.  Viale Mazzini, which is to the left of Vico Possenti, is at a much lower level, and probably runs along what was a ditch outside these walls.

Continue to the end of the street, which rejoins the car park.  This was the Monastero di Santa Teresa until its demolition after the Second World War. 

Continue around the car park, back to Via San Tommaso, and walk along it into Largo Liberotti.   The ex-church of San Tommaso, which now houses the Mostra di Paleontologia, is on the right.  The people of Terni seems to have held political meetings in the church in the 12th century.  The largo in which it stands is named for a blacksmith called Liberotto Liberotti , who (according to tradition) led a revolt after one of these meetings against the taxes imposed by Conrad of Urslingen, Duke of Spoleto in the late 12th century, and thereby secured the independence of Terni.

Turn right on leaving the church and along Via Anastasio De Filis to the point where it swings to the left, with Via dei Castelli ahead.  Three buildings here formed part of or replaced the Case dei Castelli, which belonged to the Castelli family:

  1. the palace (16th century) at number 10 on the right;
  2. the tower (14th century) and the modern structure to the left of it at number 6 on the right; and

  1. the tower house (14th century) opposite them.

Follow Via Anastasio De Filis under the arch and into Corso Vecchio.  The church of San Lorenzo is in the small piazza opposite.  Walk along the right wall of the church (Vico San Lorenzo) to see its apse and campanile. 

Return to Corso Vecchio and turn left along it, past the junction with Via dell’ Ospedale on the left.  Finds from excavations carried out in this street in 1988 provide evidence for the urban settlement of Terni in the 8th and 7th centuries BC that was later incorporated into the Roman Interamna Nahars. These finds are now in the Museo Archeologico.

Continue past the junction with Via del Tribunale on the right to Teatro Verdi on the left.  

Return to the junction with Via del Tribunale and turn left along it.  The palace at number 22 on the right is Palazzo Giocosi Mariani, which now houses the Istituto Musicale Briccialdi. 

Continue to the junction with Corso Cornelio Tacito.  The first building on your right, at 49 Corso Cornelio Tacito, is the headquarters of the Cassa di Risparmio di Terni e Narni.  Walk to the foot of the staircase near the entrance to see the relief of the Pietà (1633) by Simone Lapi.   This was executed for the palace of the Monte di Pietà in what is now Piazza della Repubblica (see Walk I) and moved with the Monte di Pietà to Palazzo Mazzancolli in 1879.  It was moved to the Duomo after the Second World War, and Bishop Vincenzo Paglia gave it to the Cassa di Risparmio di Terni e Narni in 2007.

Turn left as you leave Cassa di Risparmio and continue to the junction with Via Francesco Mancini:

  1. Palazzina Alterocca (1901-3), is on the right.  This distinctive palace was designed by Cesare Bazzani for Virgilio Alterocca (see above).  The ground floor of the palace was used for his commercial activities while the upper floor was his family home.  It passed to its current owners, the Monte dei Paschi di Siena, in 1953.
  2. The excellent Libreria Alterocca is diagonally opposite.

Turn left along Via Francesco Mancini and left again along Via Giordano Bruni, past the long facades of two palaces on the right that formed part of a complex known as the ex-Palazzo di Sanità:

  1. Palazzo Primavera, which is now used for exhibitions; and

  1. what is now the headquarters of the Provincial Government. 

Turn right along Via del Tribunale, which runs along the left side of the second of these palaces, and right again along Vicolo del Tribunale, so that you have almost circumnavigated the ex-Palazzo di Sanità complex.  Cross the courtyard of the complex on the right: the portico from the palace garden now houses a gallery of shops.  Turn left on leaving it, along Via Giulio Cesare Beccaria: Vico Santa Lucia opposite was named for a church that was destroyed during the bombardment of the Second World War. 
Cross Corso Vecchio and continue along Via della Biblioteca into Piazza Carrara.  The huge Palazzo Carrara is ahead: the street is so-called because Palazzo Carrara housed the Biblioteca Comunale in the period 1933-2004. 

The apse and campanile of the church of San Pietro are opposite the palace.  Walk along the left wall of the church to its facade in Piazza San Pietro.   The door to the right of it belongs to an infant school that incorporates the cloister of the adjacent ex-convent.

Turn left on leaving the church, along Via Manassei to Palazzo Manassei on the left, which begins after number 4 and extends to the junction with Via della Stella.

Turn right here along Via del Mercato Vecchio into Piazza Solferino, which is dominated by the back of Palazzo Comunale.   This square was known as Piazza del Mercato: the market of Terni was sited here until 1960, when it moved to the Piazza del Mercato Nuova (see above).

Walk around this palace, into Piazza della Repubblica, where the walk ends. 

Return to Walks around Terni.

Return to the home page on Terni.

Walk II: to the Museums and San Pietro

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