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Canyoning in Umbria, Valnerina

Hurl yourself onto sheets of glistening water or white-water torrents or climb down rock faces and dive into the river. Experience the canyoning in Umbria!

80€ Per person
Price is lower based on umber of people
In the Martani mountains and Spoleto

In the Monti Martani exploring rugged paths and ancient villages up to the magnificent town of Spoleto

from 90€ Per person
Price is lower based on umber of people
Rent an e-bike in Cascia

Rent an e-bike in Cascia and explore the many paths and trails in total freedom!

60€ Per person
Price is lower based on umber of people
Spa in Cascia, a day of pure relaxation

Enjoy a whole day just for you and relax in this terrific Spa in Cascia, surrounded by nature

55€ Per person
Price is lower based on umber of people
The ring of the ‘Monte Patino’ mountain

Trekking in the Sibillini mountain range, from the valley of a thousand colours to the top of Monte Patino

from 90€ Per person
Price is lower based on umber of people
Trekking around mount Veletta and Castelluccio di Norcia

Trekking around Monte Veletta, on the hills above Castelluccio di Norcia

from 75€ Per person
Price is lower based on umber of people
Trekking to Rasiglia and Verchiano, along the ancient road

A circular trekking excursion to discover Rasiglia, one of the most beautiful places in Umbria.

from 90€ Per person
Price is lower based on umber of people

Discover Sellano

Discover Sellano with us 

The very small “borgo” of Sellano sits at 640m (1920 ft) above sea level, nestled in one of the most picturesque panoramas of the Umbrian Apennine Mountains and lulled by the waters of the Vigi stream that flows into the Nera River.

Historians have long debated the origins of its name. Some connect it with the Syllinate population mentioned by Pliny in his Naturalis Historia, people who could have been members of the Roman gens ‘Suilla’or Suillates; other historians claim the hamlet took its name from the Roman warlord who founded it – Lucio Cornelio Silla – who sought refuge here with his companions in 89 BC after the battle against Spoleto during the first civil war;  modern tradition holds that it refers to the word “sella” (saddle) used to describe the mountain pass on which the Archangel Michael stands, which is depicted on the town’s crest.

Whatever the truth, what is certain is that this settlement existed in Roman times and retained a significant importance throughout the Middle Ages thanks to its strategic position along the road that crossed the valley and led to Foligno and Spoleto. In the 1300s Sellano became a feudal community under the Collicola family, lords from Montesanto, but it struggled long and hard to gain autonomy to govern itself. These struggles ended tragically in 1522 with a failed organized insurrection against Spoleto. Then for centuries it remained under jurisdiction of the town of Spoleto and under the papal state until modern times, when in 1860 it was annexed to the newly formed Italian state along with several smaller hamlets in its territory (Cammoro, Postignano, Apagni, Montesanto and Orsano).

Today Sellano still enjoys the pure uncontaminated nature typical of mountain living; its sustenance comes straight from the surrounding territory: wood, coal, vineyards, fruit orchards, livestock raising and cultivations of grains are the wealth of this area along with traditional crafting of fine work tools, marketed around central  Italy since the 1700s.

Such a pure and fertile land,  it will surely astound your eyes with its most incredibly beautiful natural panoramic frame, it will tickle your taste buds with the delicious strong flavors of its typical foods, and it will pluck your heartstrings to see how devoted the people are to their patron saints.

If you can choose, visit Sellano in June or July when pilgrims from all over the world hike along the mystic trails that lead from the town center up to the old hermitages of Saint Giolo and Saint Paterniano. Or go in August when the local festival Sagra della Fojada e della Attorta fills the streets with enticing smells of local dishes.

The Fojada is a savory puff pastry filled with cheese and vegetables, and the Attorta is also a puff pastry filled with figs, grapes and nuts. Enough to make your mouth water!

Discover what to see in Sellano

The territory of Sellano covers an area of 85 square kilometers along the Vigi mountain stream. It is surrounded by lush vegetation including woods with beech trees and oaks that alternate with beautiful forests, valleys and plateaus inhabited by wildlife and dissected by limpid brooks. Although numerous earthquakes over the years damaged many buildings, the form of the medieval castle foundation of the hamlet has resisted rather well; a main road runs along the crest of the mountain from which lateral roads branch off. At one time the town center seems to have been protected by two rows of defense walls, many of which are still standing; entrance to the town was through five gates, only two of which are visible today among the more modern buildings – the Porta dell’Annunziata and the Porta Spoletina or the Santa Maria gate. While strolling through the narrow streets in the center,  you will have to stop off and visit some religious and civic buildings – the Palazzo Comunale (town hall) from the 15th century and the church of S. Francesco (St Frances) also known as S. Maria della Croce (St Mary of the Cross), in the characteristic octagonal layout, and the chiesa parrocchiale di S. Maria (the little parish church of St. Mary), where the remains of Sellano’s patron saint the Blessed Giolo are preserved. A visit to the town center will be brief, leaving you more time to explore its surroundings. Don’t miss the chance to visit Castello di Postignano, one of the most charming locations in all of Umbria. Totally abandoned already in the 1960s, this hamlet from the 1200s has been the object of important renovation projects since 2007and came to life again as a tourist attraction in 2011. In Montesanto  you have the opportunity to admire another ancient castle completely walled in; for those more interested in cult sites, there is quite a choice: the Chiesa di S. Maria Novella church in Cammoro, a rare example of an elevated church built on the side of a cliff; the Chiesa di S. Sebastiano in Pupaggi has frescoes from the 14th-16th centuries; the Chiesa della Madonna delle Grazie (church of the Madonna of Clemency) has a beautiful wooden sculpture of the Madonna and Child from the 13th century. You can also visit Villamagina closely associated with the handmade files and rasps by master artisans. A whole section of the Ecomuseo della Dorsale Appenninica Umbra (the Ecomuseum of the Backbone of the Umbrian Apenines) is dedicated to this well-known tradition; and since 1945 the town of Sellano has hosted the Società Cooperativa Artigiana di Villamagina (the Villamagina Artisans Co-op). Both of these initiatives were formed to protect a tradition and to safeguard the production and marketing of these prestigious tools. The handmade rasps have irregular tips on the surface, which make the artisanal tools much more valuable than those factory-made. The Villamagina Co-op is still the only one in Italy able to produce round rasps, roasting cages for chestnuts (birolere), and other tools for goldsmiths, farmers, glass workers and cobblers, which they use to make a variety of high-market objects. According to tradition, in the 1600s every home in the area had the particular wooden work table used to make files and rasps and every member of the family knew how to use it.

Not far from the little parish church of Santa Maria is Sellano’s Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall). The building has a typically characteristic façade of the 1500s, remodeled in the 1800s. The building has two floors separated by a cornice. There are two entrance doors on the ground floor and two small quadrangular windows, whereas the upper floor has five large rectangular windows separated by pilasters and decorated with cornices. In one room on the ground floor you can admire a beautiful fresco from the 16th century the “Madonna with Child and Saints” and the famous ‘Piatto di Brevicelli’, a piece from the 16th century made of embossed gilded copper.

The church, in existence since the thirteenth century, was initially dedicated to St. Matthew and only in 1256 was named for St. Francis of Assisi who, according to tradition, frequently attended it. Beginning in 1796 the ancient structure was completely modified according to a project by the architect Andrea Vici. The works, which lasted several years, were supervised by Giovanni Bettini and Vincenzo Vitali. In 1856 the building was reopened to the public but it was still without the facade, which was only built by the civil engineer Giovanni Bertucci in 1886.

The three entrance doors, with architraves and simple frames, are complete with stucco decorations of five pilasters with capitals.

The interior is in  neoclassical style consisting of a single nave on either side of which are four apsidal chapels. The apsidal basin is decorated with frescoes dating back to the eighteenth century, while the sacristy and the chapel of St. Matthew preserve the fragmentary fresco decoration of the fourteenth century.

In the center of the village is the small parish church of Santa Maria, built in the 1200s and almost entirely rebuilt in the 16th century.

There are some lovely works of art inside worth pointing out: paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, a carved walnut wood pulpit, and a triptych with a gold background from the 15th century.

The importance of this church is due to the fact that the remains of the Blessed Giolo are kept here in a gold metal urn placed near the altar; the devout hermit lived in the 13th-14th century and later became the patron saint of Sellano.

About ten kilometers from the center of Sellano, following an easily walkable path, you will find a small lake called Lago di Vigi, formed in the 1960s after flooding from the mountain stream of the same name. The locals jokingly refer to the lake as Lockness from the name of the restaurant nearby set up in a restored mill. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes with a gurgling brook and holly oaks and oak woods, the restaurant has a particular attraction – the floor is made of glass so the customers can watch the flowing stream below while they eat.

Following another path, not too steep and not too long, you will come to the Cascate del Torrente le Rote waterfalls where the Rote stream feeds into the Vigi river, tumbling down from a height of several meters. Take note that swimming is not recommended as the water is about 8-10° C (42°F); in particularly hot summers the falls could even be dry. The dense vegetation in the area is home to herons and hawks who keep sports fishermen company in the nearby fishing center not far from the restaurant and artificial lake.

According to tradition, Giolo, born in Sellano in the 13th century, lived a hermit’s life in a grotto on Mount Giove, where a small oratory was built in the 16th century dedicated to Saint Lorenzo.

Although in a position hard to reach from a narrow, almost impassable path, the grotto today is the frequent destination of devout pilgrims who caress the cliff and take home small stones that they keep in their pockets all year as relics or talismans, only after leaving on site the ones they took the year before. It seems that water seeps through the rock walls from a spring nearby with therapeutic properties.

It is said that the Blessed Giolo carried up to his refuge a piece of burning coal that he was charitably given; he wrapped it in his robe which miraculously did not catch on fire. The people were particularly devoted to him following his death in 1315 and many people from Sellano claimed miracles in his name. The most significant concerned the nebbia miracolosa (miraculous fog), thanks to which a dispute between neighboring castles finally ended over who would be keeper of the saint’s remains. Only the inhabitants of Sellano were allowed to go to where the Blessed Giolo’s body lay; it was moved and kept at the St Lorenzo Church in Ottaggi and then moved to the parish church of S. Maria in Sellano (where the remains are kept today).  It was only in 1780 on specific request of the Sellano inhabitants that the bishop of Spoleto officially granted permission to worship the Blessed Giolo.

At 1020 m above sea level (3060 ft) surrounded by beech trees and splendid forests on the side of Mt Cammoro not far from the villages of Pettino and Orsano, there is a small sanctuary dedicated to St. Paterniano. Tradition holds that the saint, bishop of Fano, stopped over here to live briefly as a hermit on one of his trips to Rome. It seems he appeared often in this area until his request to build a worship site was finally granted.

The small Romanesque style church has a very plain gabled façade; there are two lateral windows and one over the door. A portico covers the entrance and there is a holy stone to the right known as the inginocchiatoio del santo (where the saint kneeled); in fact, the stone is worn smooth and bears the signs of the hermit saint’s knees and staff. Today the devout kneel in the same position for the purpose of praying for a favor and healing of diseases of the bones.

Behind the little chapel is a small ‘cell’ or room that was furnished as a refuge for people of the Church or laymen hermits in the early 1900s.

The entire structure has been restored recently and today it is the destination of numerous devout pilgrims who come every year to pay homage to the saint on the day when he is remembered – July 10th.

The faithful meet in the lower valley for a Mass then walk to the hermitage in procession. There is a fresh mountain spring nearby named after St Paterniano whose water, according to tradition, has therapeutic properties.

Discover what to do in Sellano 

If you think going to church and doing craftworks are the only activities here, you would be quite wrong, because Sellano and its territory is the winner in the natural landscape category. You can go trekking, mountain biking or horse riding along ancient mule paths and footpaths, more or less steep,  where you will see breathtaking natural scenery that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Entering the lush green woods and forests with typical  Apennine vegetation, just a few miles away from a town within walking distance,  you can find the mystic cult locations of old hermitages – the Eremo di S. Paterniano (Hermitage of St Paterniano) and the Eremo del Beato Giolo (Hermitage of the Blessed Giolo), where devotion and silence reign, interrupted only by the gurgling of the Vigi brook. You will eventually come to a small artificial lake called Lago di Vigi, where you can fish in peace, if you brought your pole. If you are not too tired after a stop at the charming restaurant set up in an old mill, you can continue along the path to see the cascate del Torrente Le Rote waterfall.

It might be an intense day out, but it will certainly be a satisfying one!

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