We start riding along one of the most beautiful itineraries in Umbria to do on a motorcycle, Marche and Lazio: the SS395 and the SS685 “Tre Valli Umbre“, finally reopened, which connects Spoleto, in the province of Perugia, to Arquata del Tronto, in the Marche , on the border with Lazio.
And it is precisely where the earthquake has struck the most that we bikers have to go, not only to discover how truly enchanting those areas are, but also to make them return to their splendor, to eat a sandwich from those who have lost everything and try to re-emerge from the rubble. and make you return as many people as possible.
Built in the 1970s, the state road is a stretch of the corridor between the Adriatic Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are 3 galleries with a length of more than 4 km each, but for all the rest, nature and historic villages will make the journey truly unique. The road connects the Sordo-Corno-Nera (PG) river basin with the Tronto river basin (AP) and the Nera basin with the Umbrian plain of Spoleto-Foligno-Perugia.
We depart from the beautiful Spoleto, the ancient capital of the Lombard dukes, will leave you breathless thanks to the wealth of the city’s historical and artistic heritage. We recommend a visit to the majestic Rocca Albornoziana. For those who don’t suffer from vertigo, climb the Ponte delle Torri, 230 meters long and 82 high. Do not miss: the Roman Theater (I century AD), Palazzo Mauri, the church of Sant’Ansano, the Arch of Drusus and Germanico and Palazzo Leti Sensi. Beyond the marvelous Piazza del Duomo among the things to see in Spoleto there is absolutely the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Casa Romana attributed to the mother of the emperor Vespasiano Polla.
We then set off again in an easterly direction but decide to take the SS395, in the direction of Vallo di Nera, with more curves and panoramic points over the valley. We enter again on the SS685, which meanwhile straightens up a bit: the curves are not exciting but the mountains that surround the road are a splendid setting.
We arrive near the ancient medieval fortresses of Cerreto di Spoleto and its hamlet Borgo Cerreto. The latter is an ancient castle developed in the high-medieval period, it is located on a very important crossroads since the Roman era, it constituted a fortified outpost against the rival Castello di Ponte. The village develops along the road that goes up to Cerreto di Spoleto preserving, from the old inhabited area, beautiful views with exposed stone walls and portals in stone ashlars.
The town of Cerreto di Spoleto takes its name from the many oak forests that grow in the surrounding areas and has very ancient origins, probably due to its strategic position among the lands governed by the Dukes of Spoleto. The village is also known as the “Land of the Charlatans“, a name that has been widespread since the sixteenth century, when its inhabitants were described as: “Those who sell ointments or other medicines or play hand games … from Cerreto used to come in ancient times such people, who were making money with various fictions“. The town is above all known for the collection of black truffles while, from an artistic point of view, the most known monument of Cerreto is the monastery of San Giacomo of the XIV-XV century and the Church of S. Maria De Libera, also of Renaissance period. Photo by LigaDue – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link
After these visits we resume our journey towards Norcia, sadly still kneeling after the last earthquake. Much of the historic center of Norcia can be visited again today. The most evocative glimpse is undoubtedly that of Piazza San Benedetto, together with the most representative monuments, such as the Basilica of San Benedetto, of which the earthquake left only the façade, the Palazzo del Comune, the Castellina and the beautiful Cathedral of Santa Maria Argentea. To date, unfortunately, none of these beauties can be visited. Therefore, our attention turns to all the inhabitants who are trying to get life and economy back on their feet. Turn to them for all your needs, they will be really happy to serve you.
We recommend, in season, to deviate towards the famous Castelluccio di Norcia, famous for the “Flowering (or Fiorita) of Pian Grande di Castelluccio“. A historical, cultural and naturalistic event much appreciated by tourists and traditionally maintained by the nursini. A marvel of nature, a triumph of colors that is renewed every year, between June and July, enchanting everyone. Photo by faustomanasse Pixabay license
Our journey then continues towards Arquata del Tronto. Also this country has suffered heavy devastation. The Medieval Fortress has resisted, but not without wounds, which is now being secured. Subject to the control of the 13 villages that overlook the national parks of the Monti Sibillini and Monti della Laga, only after the conclusion of the safety phase will the actual restoration be carried out.
We hope to return to its former glory as soon as possible. Our itinerary ends here, after miles traveled with a lump in the throat due to the damage that this land and its people have suffered and with the warmth in their hearts that the beauty of this region and its inhabitants they left us. We will meet again soon, promised.