Spello is a wonderful town, an ancient Roman settlement
that became an industrious village during the Renaissance. Today it offers splendid
views and sights, and warm traditional places. Though Spello is small, its charm and its many small churches, combined with several
good hotels and a fair number of restaurants, make it a popular tourist destination.
Spello (Latin: Hispellum) [see a
City map with points of interest from the Associazione Turistica "Pro Spello", or a
Google map of Spello town] is an ancient town and comune (township) of Italy, in the province
of Perugia in east central Umbria, 42°59N 12°42E, at 313 meters (1027
ft) above sea-level on the lower southern flank of Mt. Subasio.
Spello is close to Florence (about 160 Km) and Rome (about 170 Km).
It is 6 km (4 miles) NNW of Foligno and 10 km (6 miles) SSE of Assisi.
The old walled town lies on a regularly NW-SE sloping ridge that eventually meets
the plain. From the top of the ridge, Spello commands a good view of the Umbrian
plain towards Perugia; at the bottom of the ridge, the town spills out of its
walls into a small modern section (or Borgo) served by the rail line from Rome
to Florence via Perugia.
The densely-inhabited town, built of stone, is of decidedly medieval aspect, and
is enclosed in a circuit of medieval walls on Roman foundations, including three
Roman or Late Antique gates and traces of three more, as well several medieval
gates. Spello boasts about two dozen small churches, most of them medieval: the
most important are:
S. Maria Maggiore (13th century), with a very fine chapel frescoed by Pinturicchio
S. Claudio (11th century or earlier), an elegant building with a rose window
and votive frescoes, said to have been built on the remains of a Roman temple
In the plain, near S. Claudio, are the remains of a semi-excavated Roman amphitheater;
and a small valley to the east of the town is remarkable for its traces of Roman
Beyond the town proper, the comune's chief monuments are the church of S. Silvestro
at Collepino, and the church of the Madonna della Spella with late-medieval votive
frescoes and graffiti.