Cerreto di Spoleto
Distance from postignano
The original core dates back to 290 B.C. when the Romans settled in the region. The town is located in a panoramic position that overlooks the confluence of the Vigi and Era valleys. It developed in the Middle Ages and for its strategic position it was long disputed between Norcia and Spoleto. Legend has it that the original castle was founded by the Franks in the wake of Charlemagne around the year 800 to counter the Longobards who settled in the nearby Castle of Ponte.
Between the 9th and 10th centuries Cerreto, like the other villages of the region, built fortifications to defend itself against the invasion of the Saracens, as well as sighting towers that still exist at various points in the Nera valley. From 1200 Cerreto became part of the papal dominions even if numerous were the rebellions and the temporary passages of control between Norcia, Spoleto, Camerino and the Sforza, as well as periods of independence. In the 1400s, following plagues and famines, the inhabitants of Cerreto specialised in the activity of producers and sellers of herbal remedies, often of dubious efficacy, which earned them the reputation of hucksters and swindlers, so much so as to give rise to the name of charlatans (from "Cerretans". Another activity for which the people of Cerreto acquired a reputation was to raise funds for the construction and sustenance of the numerous monasteries, mainly Benedictines, which had sprung up in the region, but even this activity often turned into illicit businesses. In the vocabulary of the Crusca of 1612 they were described as "Those who for the squares pass off ointments, or other medicines, dig out teeth or play hands that are now more commonly called charlatans, ... from Cerreto, a town of Umbria where such people used to come from, who were making money with various tricks".
The 18th century marked a beginning of a decline, not least due to the numerous earthquakes, in particular that of 1703, which led to a depopulation of the area. At the end of the 18th century Cerreto was under French domination, which extended to Umbria in 1808 during the Napoleonic period and until 1814 when it returned again under the control of the papal state. Cerreto is perched on the top of a hillock, with a main road running through it and parallel secondary roads. There are numerous buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries that testify to a certain well-being in the town that ends at a fortress with a bell tower. Little remains of the double set of ancient walls, still present are the arched door next to the interesting complex of the church and convent of San Giacomo and that to the church of Santa Maria "Delibera" set in a pre-existing tower in which the cannons apertures are still visible. The church of Santa Maria Annunziata, built in 1517 on the site of a 14th century church, contains 16th century wooden sculptures, a Lombard baptismal font from 1546, two orders of bas-reliefs and an organ by a Cerreto master, Armodio Maccioni and some paintings 17th century. On the outside it has a stone portal dated 1592 and a mullioned window, two sculptures that belonged to the original church from 1300.
The former 16th century town hall is now a theater. Many of the original architectural elements have disappeared, but portals, crests and an access staircase remain. In the large square in front of an octagonal 1869 fountain occupies the site where previously there was a chapel. Also in the square is Palazzo Bonifazi, a typical example of local noble palaces from the 17th and 18th centuries, showing a portal with a noble crest, stone windows and a fountain, while some decorated rooms survive inside. Other noteworthy buildings arethe Argentieri, Orlandini Nobili, Vespasiani and Toni, all in the immediate vicinity, private and restored.