Main square of Cerreto
Cerreto di Spoleto – the Center
Distance from the Start:
Distance from Fisnish:
Cerreto is a “castle” hill town of medieval origin, probably built on a pre-existing Roman settlement dating back to 290 BC. C., however, the first historical news of the village date back to the era of the Lombards. It belongs to the typology of hill castles, with a ridge road flanked by parallel streets adorned with elegant noble palaces of the 17th and 18th centuries, testimony to the town’s past prosperity.
It is located on the hill of S. Sebastiano at 558 m a.s.l., in the part where the Valnerina narrows into a gorge between high mountains, lying on a spur overlooking the two valleys of Vigi and Nera. Together with the Rocca di Ponte, Cerreto controlled important road junctions: the road that follows the Vigi Valley, the one leading to Roccatamburo and Poggiodomo along the Tissino Valley, all the way to Monteleone di Spoleto and the Leonessa Plateau, and above all the one that, skirting the course of the Nera, goes downstream to the south as far as Terni and upstream to the north, forking at the Castle of Triponzo in the direction of Norcia and Visso. Due to its high strategic value, Cerreto was long disputed between Norcia and Spoleto, always fighting over control of the territory.
The castle of Cerreto culminated in a fortress of which now remains the tall and slender Bell Tower, which has always been called simply “tower”, but which is actually also a bell tower. It houses, in fact, the “big bell” which according to custom was rung mainly to dispel storms and to attract the attention of the people when it was to convene in the “Publico Arengo” (popular assembly).
The former Communal Palace standing in the main square, also called Palazzo Periorale or Theater, was the ancient municipal residence of the 16th century. In front of the palace stood an ancient oak, the “sacred quercus” sung by Pontano and the emblem of Cerreto; the coat of arms of the town is in fact a bipartite shield depicting an oak in the head, between two rampant white bears, emblem of the Orsini, and a bridge over the river with three arches at the foot. At the center of the square now stands an octagonal fountain connected to underground cisterns which collected the waters flowing from the springs of Mount Fregino.
Cerreto gave birth to men learned in the sciences, letters and the art of good government; first and foremost, the humanist and poet Giovanni Pontano, to whose memory the bronze statue located in front of the Town Hall is dedicated.
Not to be missed is the parish church of Santa Maria Annunziata; with a single nave, it dates back to 1517, when it was erected by unifying two small pre-existing churches, it was subsequentely restored in the 600’s. It is accessed by a stone portal from 1592; the 16th century baptismal font and the 17th century organ by Ascanio Puggini, restored by the famous Cerretan organ builder Armodio Maccioni, are noteworthy.
More Info: https://www.umbriavalnerina.it