What Americans call alleyways, Italian hill-top dwellers call streets. Moments before I took this picture two motor scooters roared down this way, working around the suited pedestrian. Spoteto is a city which shows its use. The place is not a Disney set, but more like a grand old room in a mansion which needs some work. It’s a little dingy, a tad musty, and (as we'll see this week) someone could slip some putty into the cracks. But, like a well-worn shoe, it’s easy to put on and a delight to amble about in. Of the Italian hill towns we visited, it was my favorite.
SPOLETO: Italian history dotted steep hillsides with fortified cities. Spoleto, some 78 miles (126 km) north of Rome was built around 600 BC at the head of a magnificent wide valley carved between two mountain ranges. It’s steep streets are lined with a mixture of modern and ancient structures, some incorporating components pre-dating the second century. Its strategic position has involved it in virtually every war ever fought in this country, leaving the sort of scars which old warriors flaunt. The inhabitants, for example, repulsed Hannibal early in the third century. About 38,000 people live there. When we visited in October, the city had the look of a mid-rate hotel the day after a party crowd had left. It was charming, but in need of some dusting, furniture repair, and maybe a good washing down.