Narni ligger 20 km fra Orte, i 240 meters højde ved
Nera-floden med ca. 21.000 indbyggere.
og læs om klosteret S. Casciano nær Narni
Man kender til byen med navnet Nequinum fra omkring 600
før vor tidsregning.
I 299 f.kr. bliver byen en romersk koloni og i 90 f.kr.
et romersk municipium, med navnet Narnia. I 368 får byen
et kristent bispesæde. Biskoppen er San Giovenale, der i
dag er byens skytshelgen.
I 1000-tallet er byen en magtfuld frikommune, hvor
håndværk og kunst blomstrer. Af kunstnere i perioden
frem til renæssancen kan nævnes Rossellino, Ghirlandaio,
Benozzo Gozzoli, Vecchietta, A. Romano og Spagna.
I 1527 bliver byen erobret og plyndret af
Lanzichenecchi´erne og mange bygninger bliver
destrueret. Byen blev senere genopbygget.
Katedralen bliver bygget mellem 1000 og 1100, og bliver
indviet i 1145. Stilen er romansk med et gotisk apsis,
og inde i kirken findes nogle meget værdifulde hellige
Gravstedet for helgenerne San Giovenale og San Cassio
med et sarkofag fra 1100-tallet og mosaikker fra
Andre værker i katedralen er af Rossellino, Vecchietta,
Torresani, Agresti og andre lokale kunstnere.
Maria Impensole er fra 1175.
I krypten findes kan man se resterne af en romersk
San Domenico fra 1100-tallet hed tidligere Sankta
Maria maggiore, og er i dag byens historisk arkiv og
Kirken genkendes på det høje udvendige tårn.
Indvendig kan Gattamelata- kapellet beundres, og under
kirken er der smukke freskoer, samt en fængselscelle
anvendt under inkvisitionen - hvor man stadig kan se
fangernes graffitti på murene.
Palazzo Comunale, rådhuset, er fra 1273, hvor man
slog tre middelaldertårne sammen. På facaden er der
rester af tidligere indskrifter og en flot dør med
relieffer og kolonner fra 1400-tallet.
I rådhussalen kan man beundre flere freskomalerier af
blandt andre Ghirlandaio, Spagna og B.Gozzoli, samt af
en eller anden grund også en egyptisk mummie!
Palazzo Scotti fra 1500-tallet har freskomalerier
Palazzo Cardoli er fra 1400-tallet
Narni er rig på tårne, der i middelalderen blev
bygget som de rige familiers værn mod fjender:
La torre del Palazzo dei Priori (1200-tallet), la
Torre dei Marzi (1300-tallet), Torre Civica
stammer fra 1300 til 1500-tallet, mens forsvarsværket
Rocca Albornoziana er fra omkring 1370. Albornoz var
en magtfuld kardinal.
Byens teater - Teatro Comunale - blev indviet den
3. maj 1856, og havde dengang plads til 500 tilskuere.
During the period when the Popes left Rome for Avignon most of
the towns of their Italian possessions fell
under the rule of local families as was the case
in other parts of central and northern Italy.
Cardinal Gil de Albornoz was charged with the
task to reconquer at least the areas closest to
Rome to pave the way for the return of the Pope.
He did not only achieve this, but he also laid
down the basis for keeping his conquests by
building fortresses in strategic positions.
Narni, an important medieval town worth a visit,
commands a narrow gorge of the Tiber key to
Central Umbria and here Cardinal Albornoz built
an imposing fortress which still retains the
coats of arms of Urbanus V and Gregorius XI, the
last two Popes who lived in Avignon. Compare the
tower of this fortress with that of the Palace
of the Popes in Avignon. The coats of arms,
among the oldest one can find, show both the
keys and the triregnum (the crown of the pope),
although as separate entities.
(relief at S. Maria Impensole)
After leaving the Orte Junction the
8:14 train departs from the main line to
Florence and from the Tiber valley: it
goes eastwards through a narrow gorge
formed by the River Nera.
The Nera Gorge
In the XIXth century the railway line
and a road were built on the Nera right
bank after dams controlled its course;
Via Flaminia, the historical road
which linked Rome with Umbria and
Marches followed a route through the
woods on the hills south of Nera.
View of Narni
Where Via Flaminia eventually reached
the end of the Nera gorge the Romans
founded Narnia, on the site of a
previous town they had conquered in 299
BC. The location of the Roman town is
visible in the right part of the photo
shown above while the left part of the
image shows the medieval expansion of
the town on a nearby hill.
Roman memories: (left) Augustus'
bridge; (center) Roman gate; (right)
Via Flaminia crossed the river on a very
high and imposing bridge built as part
of a major improvement of Via Flaminia
Emperor Augustus. The Romans
modified the original landscape in order
to obtain a sort of long and narrow
terrace at the top of the hill. Parts of
the arches and walls of Narnia
can still be seen at several points of
(left to right): bell towers of S.
Domenico, the Cathedral, S. Bernardo;
tower in Via Garibaldi
Narni suffered from the fall of the
Roman Empire, but after the year 1000,
due to its position on a main trading
route, it profited from the recovery of
the Italian economy. The town was
situated at the perfect strategic
position which made it easy to defend,
but its inhabitants had to deal with
internal strife and the main families
lived inside house-towers: some of them
were turned later into bell towers and
they were spared by the XIVth century
decrees of the papal government which
placed limits on the height of private
(left to right) portals of S. Maria
Impensole; S. Domenico; the Cathedral
The economic development of Narni led to
the construction of several churches:
their portals were decorated with a
mixture of classic motifs, portraits of
saints and human beings in pretty
strange postures who can hardly be
linked to known religious or
mythological episodes (see a
puzzling capital in S. Maria Impensole).
The image used as background for this
page shows a relief in S. Francesco.
Casa Sacripanti - medieval reliefs
The symbol of Narni is a griffin and
similar mythical creatures are portrayed
in reliefs walled on several buildings.
A more elaborate relief portrays a fight
between two knights in a tournament.
Narni has two very peculiar medieval
fountains; peculiar because of their
shape and for the use of bronze at a
time (the inscription on the fountain
makes reference to the year 1303) during
which metallurgy was still very
(left to right) details of Palazzo
dei Priori; street near the cathedral
The wealth enjoyed by Narni in the early
XIVth century led to building a town
hall and a palace which had a large
loggia where the merchants met in case
of bad weather: the growth of the
population led to building arches over
the town narrow streets to create
Narni Cathedral: (above) VIth century
funerary inscription; (below) Cosmati
The cathedral of Narni is a complex
building: its many works of art are a
sort of summary of the history of the
It contains a very rare example of VIth
century art: the tomb slab dedicated to
Cassio, one of the first bishops of
Narni, and to his wife Fausta. In the
XIIIth century the cathedral was
decorated with a Cosmati pavement which
at a later stage was removed and used to
decorate the walls of a chapel.
|Narni took advantage
absence of the popes from Rome to
increase its self-government, but failed
to gain the de facto independence
acquired by the Tuscan Comuni
(town states), which benefited from the
fact that their region was claimed both
by the pope and the emperor.
Narni and Umbria were an uncontested
possession of the pope and his authority
was restored in the 1353-67 period by
Cardinal Gil de Albornoz built on a
commanding position a fortress which was
not meant to protect the town from
external enemies, but to allow a small
garrison to impose the will of the papal
government. La Rocca as the
fortress is called, was strengthened in
the XVth century by several popes
Pope Pius II, whose coat of arms
appears in the image used as a
background for this page.
(left) Cathedral: lateral view;
(centre) Cathedral: main bell tower;
(right) S. Margherita
Medieval Narni expanded beyond the
boundaries of the ancient Roman town:
its cathedral had two accesses (and two
bell towers): one from the old town and
one (shown above) from its medieval
expansion. This new quarter has no
monuments or churches: the only
exception being S. Margherita, the
church of a monastery built in the
Cathedral: main entrance
The main entrance to the cathedral was
embellished in 1497 by an elegant
Renaissance portal decorated by a fine
Frescoes (left) outside S. Francesco
and (right) in S. Maria Impensole
The churches and streets of Narni are
decorated by many frescoes; they were
not painted by famous artists, but
nonetheless they show the characteristic
peacefulness of the Umbrian school,
which can best be admired in the
works of il Perugino (external
(left and centre) Porta della Fiera;
(right) Porta Nuova
The bus which links the railway station
to Narni reaches the town by a modern
road: the old road was much steeper and
by walking up it, one learns an episode
of the town's history. Porta della
Fiera is a medieval gate on the
ancient Via Flaminia; once you have
crossed it you find no evidence of the
town; after two or three turns of the
road you reach Porta Nuova, an
imposing Renaissance gate, behind which
you eventually see houses and urban
streets: this is because in 1527 the
Landsknechts, the mercenary troops
of Emperor Charles V who sacked Rome,
did the same to Narni, on their way back
to Germany. They set fire to an entire
quarter of the town, which was never
rebuilt: some thirty years later the
design of the wall was modified and a
new gate was built.
(left) Palazzo Scotti: loggia;
(right) Palazzo Orsini: secret garden
During the Renaissance the medieval
appearance of Narni did not change a
lot, but the richest families improved
their quality of life by building fine
courtyards and secret gardens.
XVIIIth century orphanage
According to President de Brosses who
lived in Rome in 1739, a quarter of its
inhabitants lived off charitable
institutions; this most likely was true
also for Narni because the only new
buildings completed in the XVIIIth
century were orphanages and hospices.
View from La Rocca