Un castello a difesa della montagna
This itinerary allows one to slowly discover the surprising old town of Polino and the nearby Sant'Antonio's Hermitage, immersed in centuries-old holm oaks. Here a very important religious procession takes place every year in June.
Narrow streets, panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and of the Lower Nera Valley: this urban hiking trail will lead the tourist to the discovery of this small town lying at 836 mt AMSL. Polino has always been considered as “the door of the mountain” in the Nera Valley of Terni district, a valley dominated by Mount La Pelosa (1635 mt AMSL).
The manneristic-style monumental fountain appears on the square ‘Piazza Marconi’; it was ordered in 1625 by the Marquis Castelli. It is composed by an elegant marble wall with three basins leaning against it, which are decorated with sea figures and caryatids. The source water flows into the central basin through a Marphurius (a Roman subject representing the God of Rivers). Family Castelli's coat of arms are sculpted in the highest part of the fountain, including a plaque recalling the year of construction and a statue most likely representing a member of a noble family.
The double wall circumscribing the oldest part of the town has an entrance door on which an emblem portraying two rampant dragons and a crown above the fortress can be seen. The door gives access to the labyrinthine of the narrow streets leading up to the fortress; along the way votive lunettes carved in the facades of the small stone houses can be seen.
The church was built in the 16th century and underwent several refurbishment works across the centuries. On the entrance, located on the highest part of the town, some traces of the fresco Madonna con Bambino (“Our Lady with Child”) can be seen. Inside there are the remains of a baptismal font and some sacred furniture.
In the highest part of the town a 16th century fortress stands out, built in a strategic position on the top of the mountain dominating the valley of the stream Fosso La Sargiola and hanging over the stream Fosso di Rosciano. The fortress has a polygonal plan surrounded by four cylindrical towers leaning against the defensive walls, thus enhancing the majesty of the fortress itself.
Nowadays the fortress is home to the interesting Museum of the Umbrian Apennines (see below).
The interior of the fortress has been home for few years to an interactive museum about Umbrian Apennines. The museum is divided into two different sections: geology (downstairs) and nature (upstairs).
The geology section describes the origin of the Apennines , the formation of fossils (ammonites), of which the surrounding territory is rich in, the water cycle (meteoric, surface and groundwater) and the history of the Marmore Waterfall. The Nature section describes the flora (and the several changes caused by human activity), fauna and insects living in the Umbrian Apennines. The museum is open upon booking.
For opening times and further information call tel.+39 0744789121
Along the mule track going up from Polino to the Gold Mine, once used to reach Monteleone di Spoleto, there is the Sant’Antonio hermitage carved into the rocks. It is thought that the hermitage was founded in the 12th century, while the facade was built later; it is characterised by a bell-gable and an external holy water font, standing near the entrance portal.
Inside there are some frescoes, whose date of origin is unknown, and two statues portraying Saint Anthony the Abbot and Saint Anthony from Padua.