Trevi

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The town of Trevi, in Umbria, Italy in 2001.

Trevi (Latin: Trebiae), an old town and comune of Italy, in the province of Perugia in east central Umbria, 42°53N 12°45E, at 424 meters (1391 ft) above sea-level on the lower part of Mt. Serano above the wide plain of the Clitunno river. It is 10 km (6 mi) S.S.E. of Foligno and 20 km (12 mi) N. of Spoleto. The 2003 count of people by the government said that there were 7800 people living in the comune: about half of the people live in the town and the other people live in the country near town. The frazioni of Trevi (the smaller towns that belong to Trevi) are Borgo, Bovara, Cannaiola, Coste, Pigge, Manciano, Matigge, Parrano, Picciche, S. Lorenzo, S. Maria in Valle.

Most of the town is densely built with many buildings predating the 18th century. It crowns a summit and when one is in the centre the streets are mostly gently sloping. From the town one can see one of the best views in Umbria, over 50 km (30 mi) to the west and on clear days as far as Perugia to the north and even Monte Amiata in southern Tuscany. On the main train route from Rome to Ancona there is a station at the botton of Monte Serano servicing Trevi but the rapid Intercity services do not stop. The train service from Florence to Rome by way of Perugia also stops there: Local bus connections are not frequent. Trevi is a pleasant place to visit and of recent accommodation and good eating has become available; there are few restaurants, but they are good and more numerous than in other nearby small towns.

History[change | change source]

In Roman times, Pliny the Elder said Trevi was a city of the old Umbrians, and an old stone with Umbrian writing was found in the comune, at Bovara, in the 1950s. "Treviae" is also listed in the 5th‑century Bordeaux Itinerary. We do not know the history of Trevi in very old times, although some walls in the center part of the town on the hill are as old as the 1st century BC. Trevi started to spread out away from the hill during the time of the Empire, when Hadrian fixed the main road in the area, the Via Flaminia; this made a small town in the plain grow, at a place now called Pietrarossa. For hundreds of years people have been finding old things there: there were Roman baths that people were probably using in the time of St. Francis, who came here and told people to bathe in them.

In old times people say that Trevi ruled the valley below it, all the way to the Colli Martani, the line of mountains that run down the middle of Umbria. Trevi had a bishop until the 11th century, and was an important place belonging to the Lombards (in Italian, a gastaldato). At the beginning of the 13th century, Trevi made itself independent and became a free commune. It often fought on the side of Perugia to defend itself against nearby Spoleto, and fought wars with other communes in the area, winning some and losing some. It was invaded by Spoleto in the 14th century and by the Trinci, rulers of Foligno. In 1438 Trevi became part of the lands belonging to the Church as part of the "legation" of Perugia: after that Trevi's history was as part of the States of the Church, then (1860) of the united Kingdom of Italy.

Trevi was at its most prosperous in the 15th century: the town was so important for those who wanted to buy and sell that people called it "il porto secco" — the dry port. In 1470, with Foligno, Trevi became the fourth town in Italy to have a printing press, managed by the first known printing company. Many big renaissance palazzi of the town indicate the contemporaneous prosperity.

Important old buildings[change | change source]

Trevi is inside two walls of the Middle Ages; at the end of the 20th century, people found that the inside walls were Roman.

Trevi has about twenty old churches, some of which are interesting:

  • the Duomo Sant' Emiliano, a Romanesque building: it has a carved door and the back of the church has more sculpture. The inside of the church was fixed in the 18th century and does not look old.
  • the Madonna delle Lacrime, a church from the Middle Ages, for monks, with big wall paintings painted to thank God for good things. The best painting is the Adoration of the Magi by Perugino: it is the last painting he put his name and the date on.
  • S. Martino, has old Lombard stones and good paintings by Mezzastris
  • S. Francesco, a large Gothic building. It is now a museum.

The country area around the town has many Romanesque churches: some of those on the plain were built on the Roman Via Flaminia and indicate the road's former route. Some of the stone in these churches is old Roman and derives from buildings long gone.

Museums[change | change source]

Trevi's big museum is the Museo S. Francesco, next to the Gothic church S. Francesco, which is not used for worship any more. It has a few Roman stones, but mostly many Umbrian paintings from the late Middle Ages to the 17th century: the best painting once was part of an altar, and it is by Lo Spagna. There is a very interesting group of "ex‑votos" (paintings to thank God for saving a person from a sickness or an accident) painted by ordinary people, not famous artists, of the 16th‑ century to the 18th‑century.

The Museo della Civiltà dell' Olivo demonstrates the local olive culture: how they are planted, how they grow, and how they are made into oil. The Flash Art Museum is dedicated to contemporary art and is the seat of an international art magazine.

Books to learn more about Trevi[change | change source]

The oldest big book on the history of Trevi is Historia universale dello Stato temporale ed ecclesiastico di Trevi, 1233 pages, by Durastante Natalucci, Trevi, 1745. It was translated into a more modern and readable Italian by Carlo Zenobi, a local historian, between 1987 and 1994. An important book for the plain below Trevi is Cannaiola, Memorie storiche raccolte negli anni 1873‑74 by Father (now the Blessed) Pietro Bonilli.

Pro Trevi, the town's volunteer tourism office, has helped people write and print new books about the history, plants and animals of Trevi and the country nearby.

Other websites[change | change source]