(Photo from Wikimedia commons, contributed by Zyance)
Spoleto (Latin: Spoletium) is an ancient city in the Italian province of Perugia in east central Umbria on a foothill of the Apennines. Located at the head of a large, broad valley, surrounded by mountains, Spoleto has long occupied a strategic geographical position.
It appears to have been an important town to the original Umbri tribes, who built walls around their settlement in the 5th century BC, some of which are visible today. In modern times, the town has become well known because of the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds), which was founded in 1958. The festival has developed into one of the most important cultural manifestations in Italy, with a three-week schedule of music, theater and dance performances.
Here is a link for more information about Spoleto: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoleto
My friend Antonella lives in nearby Perugia and reveals so many interesting details on her site about the area where she lives. I recently translated her article about the Romanesque reliefs in San Pietro in Spoleto into English. Here is the link to the full article: http://www.evus.it/en/index.php/news/panorama/relief-of-st-peter-church-in-spoleto/
What I found the most interesting about the article was the amount of rich detail that can be taken from these reliefs to frame the context of the time period in which they were created. Also, the craftsmanship that is exhibited in the artifacts that Antonella uncovers never ceases to impress me.
(Photos furnished by Antonella Bazzoli from evus.it )
In looking at these two photos, you can clearly see a very different attitude of the Lion vis. a vis. the man. Antonella says this about the reliefs in her article: “To better understand the symbolic significance of these findings, we have to refer to the texts of the medieval bestiaries where animals appear as protagonists with highly allegorical functions. The lion, for example, is seen as an animal that would never hurt a defenseless man, nor assail an unarmed man, but on the contrary would menace the warrior who tries to attack him.”
Perhaps on my next visit to the province of Perugia I can accompany Antonella on a tour of Spoleto.