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Mura Megalitiche

  

Close to the Gate of the Valley, there should be the most ancient city narrow passage which directly led to the pre-Roman Age Acropolis. The archaic entrance has disappeared since the ancient city Walls were inner to the Medieval Walls and so they were certainly demolished. An imposing section remains and it is characterized by enormous irregular stone blocks from which they take the name megalithic (from greek mégas = big and lithos = stone). This city walls section is situated by few tens meters from the Medieval Gate on the corner of two streets, Via della Valle and Via Piacenti. Above and along the megalithic walls stood out in the Middle Ages tower-houses of Guelph and Ghibelline families with the typical “doors of the dead” (one example of which can still be seen on the facade of Palazzo Nacci in piazza Marconi) and the stone buttresses.

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History of the city

History of the city

According to a tradition attested in the work of the scholar Cato the Elder, Ameria was founded by the eponymous Amiro in the year 1134 BC, 963 years before the war of the Romans against the king of Macedonia, Perseus. The ancient foundation that the antiquarian tradition attributes to the city is not contradicted by the oldest archaeological traces: the first man-made interactions seem to settle it on the cusp between the third and second millennium BC Pottery remains and a village of huts found on the south-eastern slope allow to hypothesize the existence of small scattered settlements on the hill between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Between the sixth and fifth centuries the Umbrian town of Amer had to be structured and made use of an extra-urban sanctuary in the Pantanelli area with an adjoining cemetery. The level of social articulation achieved by the city is reflected at the end of the fourth century in the rich material from the graves of a new necropolis area (see Necropolis Ex-Consortium) that extends along the edge of the town of Amerina (see Road Roman). At the beginning of the third century official relations with Rome began: a political reality that held a potentially great expansive horizon of the Umbrian territories and Falisci. The construction of the walls (see Walls) were then undertaken, and after 90 BC, with the transformation of the federal center in municipium of Ameria, the planning of urban infrastructure was put into effect, which saw its completion in the Augustan age, a time when Ameria became part of Region VI. The city then lives a phase of intense public building activity, complemented by the development of residential areas: many domus had private rooms with floors covered with mosaics, such as those embedded in the cellars of Palazzo Venturelli and the area occupied by the Palazzo Farrattini. The city was endowed with a Forum, with the cistern below, of a theater on the eastern slopes of the stronghold, and the paved streets with drainage system below. Along two important roads, linking the city with Rome on the one hand, with the centers of the Conca Ternana on the other, the campus and the amphitheater probably arose. Towards the middle of the second century A.D. the baths were built in the south-western urban sector (Palazzo Farrattini Baths and Roman domus), whose floors were decorated with mosaics that are presumed to be duotone created by local workshops for the use of innovative and unusual patterns. This intense building activity, evidently connected with the existence of social classes, in a position to self promote and to invest in the creation of an urban design appropriate and compliant with the most prosperous municipalities of Roman influence, is destined to fade in later centuries. From the third century. A.D. Ameria was assigned, according to the new territorial organization sponsored by the Tetrarchy, to the province Tuscia et Umbria. Probably the late antique and early medieval settlement continued to insist on an area comprised within the perimeter of the polygonal walls and in the Borgo. Epigraphic evidence reveals the existence of a Christian community in the fourth century urban (CIL XI, 4565, 4566; ICI VI, p. 58, n. 37). From the middle of the fifth century a diocese existed in Ameria (1759-1798 Mansi, VII, col. 967). In the next century America assumed importance as a stronghold of control, due to its fortresses, on the Via Amerina: it is believed that it passed under Byzantine control, suffering a fate similar to that of Todi and Chiusi, in 538. Contested between the Goths, Lombards and Byzantines for its privileged position as a strategic outpost on the limes in 742 it was returned by Liutprando to the Church and became part of the heritage of the Holy See as Castrum Sancti Petri.

Medieval Era

The exact date when Amelia became a municipality is not known, but it is historically established that the city fought a war between the common side of Todi and Foligno against Perugia, Orvieto and Gubbio in 1065: it seems, therefore, that at the time it had a significant municipal organization. Charged with the regency of the City were Consuls (two or four), who were elected among the most representative men of the city. In 1208 the Abbey of San Secondo entered into a peace treaty-submission with Todi, which aimed to keep it tied with Amelia, whose control was key to remove the interference of Orvieto, a bitter enemy. As part of the struggle between the Papacy and the Empire, the city of Amelia underwent a sack by the troops of Frederick II in 1240. The decline of the City followed its involvement in the disputes between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. By the end of 1200 the city was the governed by Popular Statutes which are preserved in the Historical Municipal texts of 1330 and 1346. Around the middle of the fourteenth century Amelia was re-conquered by Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, who managed to remove several heavy burdens that the city had contracted against Todi and applied changes to the Riformanze preserved in the Historical City with the other codes and statutes, examples of legislative art that show how functional the municipal law was. Between the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century Amelia ran into a period of famine, the effects of which were aggravated by taxes imposed by Rome. The 11th November 1417 Cardinal Otto Colonna (Martin V), was elected Pope, who, having frequented Amelia, confirmed the privileges of the city. In 1426 St. Bernardino of Siena preached in Amelia against blasphemy and usury. Amelia, while influenced from belonging to the Church, continued with alacrity to defend the criteria of autonomy and municipal freedom, also encouraged by the auspices of distinguished Amerini, as Msgr. Angelo Geraldini. In 1476, Pope Sixtus IV, moving away from Rome where the plague was raging, was hosted by the Geraldini in Amelia.

Renaissance and Modern Times

The Renaissance in Amelia was a period of great magnificence. Wealthy citizens embellished their palaces in the city, similar to what was being pursued by the Orsini in Bomarzo, the Farnese in Caprarola and so on. Some prelates and important people occupied positions of power in the Roman Curia, such as Hippolito and Cesare Naccarato, the latter vice papal legate, Angelo Archileggi, Fantino Petrignani, Batolomeo II and III Farrattini, Giovanni and Filippo Venturelli, Svetonio, Cristoforo and Silla Cansacchi, Clemente Clementini, but it is mainly the story of the Geraldini family, one of the most representative of the Amelia of the 14th and 15th centuries, which offer us an ideal glimpse for understanding the cultural and political climate of Italy and Europe in the age of the Renaissance. What is certain, is that the family fortune came from the relationship of Amelia with Rome and with the Aragonese, relationships that allowed the inclusion of the Geraldini in the judiciary and in diplomacy and together they offered the opportunity to forge fruitful relationships with powerful families, including the Colonna and the Borgia. The family had many members in the secular clergy, obtaining prestigious commissions: diplomats, governors of cities, abbreviators of apostolic letters, bishops. It seems that Alessandro Geraldini, at the court of Spain, and confessor of Queen Isabella, interceded so that Columbus got the three caravels to take the fateful trip. He was later appointed the first resident Bishop in the New World, in Santo Domingo, where he died on March 8th, 1524. At the beginning of the 15th century Amelia is all a construction site: mansions were installed along the route of the ancient persistence, from Porta Romana to the cross of Borgo. Cardinals and bishops, dedicated more than most to the pleasures of art and collecting antiques, commissioned fresco cycles within the palaces and mansions and transformed these in large spaces articulated on the one hand as a city of palaces, and on the other as country residences. The second half of the 15th century witnessed in Umbria and Lazio, a radical transformation of the type of interior decoration: in particular the Umbrian town of Amelia is a testimony to that effect, authoritative guidance of a new decoration of boardrooms, centered on the use of continuous frieze painting. This has been thought the birth and development in the city of a real "Amelia school" with patrons and artists and citizens of the neighboring cities. In 1599 Cardinal Federico Borromeo is hosted at Amelia’s Palazzo Cansacchi In later centuries, until the “Risorgimento”, the story of Amelia is identical with that of the State of the Church.

From the Renaissance to contemporary times

During the riots of 1848-49 Amerini volunteers participated in the defense of Vicenza, the Roman Republic and in 1859 to the riots, until September 21st 1860 when the Piedmontese troops of General Brignone entered the city. The new royal government proceeded, in Amelia, to the expropriation of many goods of the Church. At the beginning of the century, the rise of agriculture and the birth of the first local industry did not prevent emigration, especially to the United States and Argentina. Electric light came in Amelia in 1911 replacing the public lighting oil. During the First World War the Amerini contributed with 188 dead soldiers on the battlefield. During Fascism, as in every part of Italy, rallies followed, speeches, marches and exercising exhibitions were held between City Hall Square (today Piazza Matteotti), Piazza Vittorio Emanuele (today Piazza G. Marconi), Via Garibaldi, Corso Vittorio Emanuele (now Via Repubblica) and at the monument of the fallen (Piazza A. Vera). During the Second World War the only act of war that involves Amelia was the tragic Allied bombing of January 25, 1944, during which, by mistake, instead of the bridge, the Great Church of St. Elizabeth (now Saint Lucia) and the adjoining female elementary school was hit. The new atmosphere of the post-war period showed Amelia from the setting offered by the film "Il Passatore", shot entirely in Amelia, directed by Coleman (1947). Into the city poured a host of drivers, technicians and new myths of the cinema, like actors Rossano Brazzi, Valentina Cortese, Gino Cervi and the then rising star Alberto Sordi. After the Fascist period, in 1946 the Socialist blacksmith Cafiero Liberati was elected mayor and he would stay in office until 1964.

Useful numbers

CARABINIERI COMMAND
Phone: +39 0744982000

MUNICIPAL POLICE
Phone: +39 0744982445

FIRE FIGHTERS
Phone: +39 0744978021

FORESTRY BODY OF THE STATE
Phone: +39 0744982890

HOSPITAL
Phone: +39 07449011

POST OFFICE
Phone: +39 0744982239

ITALIAN AUTOMOBIL CLUB
Phone: +39 0744983027

GT MINIVAN AND CAR WITH DRIVER RENTAL
Phone: +39 0744428427
Fax: +39 0744406661

BIKE AND MOUNTAIN BIKE RENTAL
Phone: +39 0744993518

TAXI
Phone: +39 3334417453
Phone: +39 3487980820

BUS
Phone: +39 0744978260
Sito web: www.umbriamobilita.it

TIVAVIAGGI T.O. Travel agency
Phone: +39 0744989031
Fax: +39 0744998240

LET'S TRAVEL Travel Agency
Phone: +39 07441980233
E-mail: booking@dreavel.com

PRO-LOCO Amelia
P.zza A.Vera ,8
Phone: +39 0744 982559
E-mail: proloco.amelia@tiscali.it

HORSE PASSION
loc. Capodisopra (horseback riding)
Phone: +39 3389071870
Phone: +39 3206738318

MANEGGIO CLUB
S.Angelo Claudia Farrattini

Phone: +39 3281130136
Phone: +39 0744983261

MANEGGIO Totano
loc Montenero (horse riding only)
Phone: +39 0744978497

SWIMMING POOL c / o RESTAURANT
"Parco degli Ulivi"
Phone: +39 0744982681

Photo
Andrea Boccalini Emanuele Grilli - Cristina Belfiore - Sergio Chiappafreddo - Nazzareno Novelli - Riccardo Passagrilli - Pasquale Comegna - Pier Giorgio Giorgini - Giancarlo Petrarca - Pietro Maccaglia - AngeliKa Leik

Texts
Saverio Ricci - Alessandra Bravi (per la parte archeologica) - Giulio Faustini (San Silvestro) - Massimo Moretti (palazzo Petrignani)

General coordination
Riccardo Passagrilli