Sant'Anatolia di Narco
Distance from postignano
Sant’Anatolia di Narco is located at the beginning of the Valnerina, on a hillock along the course of the Nera river and with a troubled history due in large part to its strategic passage position.
The site was already inhabited in pre-Roman times, as evidenced by various archaeological finds and a necropolis. Two Roman funerary epigraphs are set in the wall of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, these confirm the Roman presence in the place, later inhabited by Syrian monks who imported Christianity in the 5th century and then established as a Longobard court in the 8th century. The area was part of the municipality of Terni, as indicated by a Bull of Benedict III dated 856. On the occasion of his coronation, on 31st January 962, the Narco valley was donated by Otto I to John XII and in 1155 the army of Frederick Barbarossa passed through it while it was about to attack Spoleto. The Naharco castle was built by Conrad of Urselingen in 1178 and passed to the Church State in 1198. The Spoletini destroyed the Swabian castle and built one nearby baptising it Sant'Anatolia, which however was devastated by Conrad's son, Rainaldo, who recaptured it in 1228 with his Saracen army. Later Spoleto regained possession with Frederick II in 1241 and Cardinal Capocci in 1248. King Manfredi, with an army of Saracens and Tartars, passed through it in 1258, as did Charles of Anjou in 1251, who was preparing to attack the Swabians. The castle walls were rebuilt in 1320 and later Sant'Anatolia participated in the Ghibelline revolt which saw many towns in the Valnerina rebel against the Guelph Spoleto with mixed fortunes. Louis I D'Angiò and the Green Count Amedeo VI of Savoy passed by Sant’Anatolia in 1382, while they went to help Queen Joanna I of Naples. The town was sacked in 1390 by Tommaso da Chiavano and Giovanni di Cola di Monteleone who were going to Spoleto to free Ghibelline prisoners, on the way back from their failed enterprise they completed the destruction of the town. Later on, Sant'Anatolia saw the passage of various other armies, the knights of Fortebraccio in 1419 on their way t l'Aquila, the army of Francesco Sforza in 1437, the Neapolitans of Alfonso of Aragon in 1443 and in 1511 the Neapolitan troops of Julius II fighting against the French.
In 1522 Sant'Anatolia again rebelled against Spoleto without success, and ended up being devastated by Picozzo Brancaleone and Petrone da Vallo. In 1527 a large army of Lansquenets sowed destruction throughout the Valnerina, returning from the sack of Rome, and infected the local populations with the plague. In 1490 the Spanish army of Luigi Farnese stayed for a long time in the area on the road to Perugia for the salt war, while in 1557 a French army again crossed the valley. In 1575 there was another epidemic of plague that struck the whole valley and in 1703 the severe earthquake that sowed destruction in the whole Valnerina. From 1798, Sant'Anatolia was dominated by the French, against whom a rebellion of insurgents and brigands arose that brought new destruction to the area. After the Restoration, Sant'Anatolia remained in the orbit of Spoleto, until the unification of Italy in 1861. The oldest part of the town, criss-crossed by narrow alleys, reflects the historical vicissitudes with a set of buildings ranging from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, with the churches of Santa Maria delle Grazie just outside the walls, the church of Sant'Antaolia and the former convent of Santa Croce. Several of the historic buildings in the oldest part of the town are now occupied by the interesting and well-kept Hemp Museum, dedicated to the documentation of the numerous activities related to the production of hemp in the region, an important part of the local tradition that the museum strives to revitalize and promote through a series of exhibition, dissemination activities and workshops.