Vallo di Nera
Distance from postignano
Vallo di Nera is one of the best preserved and architecturally most interesting villages in the Valnerina, where the medieval structure is more clearly visible in its integrity; it has a compact urban center perched on a hill, with steep alleys that converge towards the summit, where the church of San Giovanni Battista is surrounded by the 15th century village included within the double row of city walls, largely intact. Just outside the walls another agglomeration, of the 16th century, completes the whole.
The site shows traces of habitation dating back to the 8th century B.C. and was developed in Roman times as a fortified village. In 1177 Vallo became a fief of the Germanic Duke of Spoleto Conrad of Hursligen. In 1216 the original Castle was destroyed by the Municipality of Spoleto which the following year allowed the inhabitants to build a new castle in exchange for their alliance. In 1223 it was acquired by the Papacy for a short period and then it returned under the dominion of Spoleto, against which it unsuccessfully rebelled in 1522 along with other municipalities of the Valnerina, and was destroyed in retaliation. In 1527 it was sacked by Charles V lansquenets who, on returning from the sack of Rome, sowed destruction in Valnerina and spread a plague contagion. The castle was rebuilt again, and the architraves and the fresco by Jacopo Siculo in the church of San Giovanni date back to this period.
The walls surrounding the town are largely intact and include two towers and two access gates, many are the palombare towers, which initially had a defensive purpose and later became part of the agricultural economy with stables on the ground floor, housing on the first, barns on the second and the dovecot at the top, which provided manure for the fields and meat for the inhabitants. At the entrance of the village there is a large portico that once housed the market, behind which a square dominated by one of the towers offers an overall view of the ancient village and the external part of the walls. Inside the walls there are three beautiful churches, two more are outside. San Giovanni Battista, at the top of the town, is Romanesque and dates back to the 13th century, it was then enlarged around 1575 when the current facade, bell tower and rose window were built. Inside, in addition to the fresco by Jacopo Siculo depicting the death of the Madonna, there are other works by the same artist.
The church of Santa Maria dates back to 1273 and maintains the Gothic portal, the interior is richly frescoed with works by Giotto's school, including a Procession of the Bianchi by Cola di Pietro, executed in 1401. Traces of frescoes from the same period are in the adjacent cloister. The third church within the walls is Santa Caterina, dating to 1354 and part of an abbey complex of which little remains. The church has a Renaissance façade and a bell gable, while the interior has a single nave and 15th century frescoes on the walls. Leaving the walls, we come to the church of San Rocco at the entrance to the 14th century hamlet of Casali, with more palombare towers and a public wash house of the same period. Along the road leading to Castel San Felice is the simple chapel of the Madonna della Neve (or Immagine delle Forche) decorated with frescoes from 1494 attributed to Jacopo Zampolini from Spoleto. It is also worth visiting the nearby Meggiano, Paterno, Geppa, Monte Fiorello, Piedilacosta, La Pieve, Le Campore, Borbonea, Roccagelli.