Located at the geographical centre of Italy, Narni — like many other villages in Umbria — still conserves intact most of its medieval character. In the historic centre, streets are narrow and covered in cobblestones; while buildings are made of solid stone. Narni inspired the name of the imaginary land of Narnia in C. S. Lewis’ series The Chronicles of Narnia. Today, this charming village offers a few cultural attractions for visitors that are sure to transport you right back to the Middle Ages.
Narni: Corsa all’Anello
Every year around April 25th, Narni celebrates its famous Corsa all’Anello (meaning Race for the Ring), a traditional feast that dates back to medieval times to honour the town’s patron saint, St. Giovanale. The race consists of taking a ring that hangs by two thin threads while riding a galloping horse. Exciting!
Below the Dominican convent of Santa Maria Maggiore, there’s an underground complex that includes a 12th century church with frescoes, a Roman cistern and aqueducts, and a torture chamber used by the town’s Inquisition tribunal. This mysterious underground attraction laid undiscovered until just a few decades ago. For more information, go here.
The Fortress of Narni
Towering over Narni, the Rocca di Albornoz (Fortress of Albornoz) offers stunning views of the town below and the surrounding valleys. Also known as the Rocca di Narni, its construction was finished in 1378. The fortress is well-preserved both on the outside and on the inside, where there is a remarkable collection of suits of armour, medieval weapons and dresses.
Outside, there’s a crafts fair displaying goods made with traditional methods. For children, there are also storytellers, performers and other sorts of entertainment to keep them busy. If you can, make sure to stay around to watch the sunset; it’s a great spot for that! The site is open to visitors only on weekends and holidays; for more information have a look at their Facebook page.
Have you visited the region of Umbria in Italy? Which are your favourite towns in the region? Leave me a comment, I’d love to know!
To see the rest of my photos from my travels in Umbria, check out my gallery.