Anne’s Insights

In Narni’s Church of San Francesco, Endless Discoveries

Esteemed biographer of Assisi’s San Francesco,  Paul Sabatier, once wrote, “It seems that St. Francis had a special affection for Narni and the surrounding towns.”  His first sojourn in the town probably occurred between 1209 and 1210 on his return from Rome after having received from Pope Innocent III an oral approval of his order…… View Article

Read more

La Rocca di Narni: Papal Power Reigns

During the late 9th to early 10th century, Narni was both a stronghold of, and threatened by, the Saracens –  the appellation in the Middle Ages for Muslim Arabs – as was much of central Italy: As of the 11th century, Narni began to increase in wealth and power, opposing Papal dominance in the early…… View Article

Read more

In Narni, La Corsa all’Anello Gives Life to the Past

The Umbrian medieval hill town of Narni hides countless wonders and a visit there should include the discovery of them. You can start as soon as you enter the town: off the central Piazza Garibaldi, head up towards the Cattedrale di San Giovenale leaning into the hillside. Take time to unearth all the many treasures of the Cathedral…… View Article

Read more

Narni: Where Majesty Hides Roman Treasures

Perched on a rocky outcrop in southern Umbria, Narni captivates many a visitor nowadays. As of 299 B.C., the Romans had their eye on it, too: they were distinctly aware of the strategic importance of Nequinum, inhabited by the Osc0-Umbri, an Italic tribe. After conquering Nequinum, the Romans named the  colony “Narnia” for the Nahar, the river serpentining below. By…… View Article

Read more

Narni’s Cathedral of San Giovenale: a Setting of Splendor

In Italy, the patron saints of cities, towns and villages are feted with joy, emotion,grande passione – and splendid celebratory events rooted in local traditions and history. In Umbria medieval gem, Narni, the narnesi unite in a  joyous month-long celebration of their patron saint, San Giovenale, with  events including the re-enactment of medieval markets, banquets, pageants in elegant costumes, concerts…… View Article

Read more

Narni’s Underground: an Angelic Find

In a recent telephone chat with Roberto Nini,  we reminisced about our first meeting. In 1997, I had taken the train from Assisi to Narni to study the art and history of the town for the upcoming Umbria guide examination. I remember hitching a ride up to the town center as there was no bus…… View Article

Read more

Holy Saturday in Umbria: Cheese Bread Blessings

Yes, there can be “egg hunts” even in Umbria for Easter – but actually, prior to Easter. Finding the eggs is not an amusing and entertaining game for the children but a necessary task for the women,  for perhaps up to 70 eggs will be needed for the baking of the traditional Torta al Formaggio (literally,…… View Article

Read more

Easter Sunday in Bevagna: a Dashing Christ

Yes, Christ dashes in Bevagna on Easter Sunday – quite literally. That is, the Cristo risorto (“Risen Christ”), Bevagna’s treasured 16th-century statue. Every Easter Sunday morning, members of the Confraternita della Misericordia (the Confraternity of Mercy or Compassion) – a lay brotherhood initiated in Bevagna in the 18th century –  in tunics and purple capes, carry the…… View Article

Read more

Assisi’s Good Friday Morning Procession: Remembered

I hadn’t missed Assisi’s evocative morning Good Friday procession in years.  Until last year, due to COVID restrictions. And, anime’  – alas – there won’t be a Good Friday Processione del Cristo Morto (“Procession of the Dead Christ”) this year either. But that beloved Assisi tradition – routed in 13th-century lauds (medieval hymns) – must be remembered……. View Article

Read more

Eremo delle Carceri: an Assisi Mountain Retreat

At over 2500 feet above sea level on the wooded slopes of Mount Subasio backdropping Assisi….….the retreat of San Francesco, Eremo delle Carceri –  called “the Hermitage” – remains a silent place of retreat and seclusion. As of September, a Tuscan Franciscan,  Father Simone, has served as padre guardiano (“father custodian” – that is, the Franciscan community’s…… View Article

Read more