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What to see in Terni

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The most interesting sites from ancient history are mainly in the town center. But Terni also offers a wide variety of industrial archeological sites and splendid landscapes of countryside and natural wonders.

A stroll through the old center can only start in Corso del Popolo (a main street), in a futuristic scenario created by the sculpture Lancia di Luce (Spear of Light) designed by the artist Arnaldo Pomodoro to commemorate 100 years of Terni’s steel plant, to then proceed step by step into the past. At the end of the street (the corso) stands the 15th century Palazzo Spada, an imposing yet elegant building, where municipal offices are today and where the city council meets. Walking on a bit further, you’ll go further back in time when you see the 11th century San Salvatore church whose foundations are on the site of a domus (home) built in the 1st century.

The lanes open up behind the Palazzo Spada in a labyrinth with glimpses of churches and 18th century buildings; then they widen out again unexpectedly at the old city walls that border on the lovely public park where the local people stroll, ride their bikes, meet up with friends or even fall in love. Inside the park is the Anfiteatro Fausto, also called Terni’s colosseum (Colosseo di Terni), built in the first century and very well preserved. When the roofs leave a bit of room for view, you can see the bell towers (campanili) of the Chiesa di S. Francesco, a Romanesque building dedicated to Saint Francis, and the elegant Cattedrale di S. Maria Assunta (Cathedral of Saint Maria Assunta), the city’s main church. Going back towards Piazza della Repubblica, you can visit the Palazzo Comunale (ex-town hall) built in the 8th century, whose 40-meter-high steel bell tower that is the emblem of the combination of old and new for which the town is a proud ambassador. Going out of the walls you will come to Piazza Valnerina, the railway station, and the Colle di Pentina, where the most important industries in central Italy operated from the second half of the 1800s – the Fabbrica d’Armi (a small weapons factory)(1880), where you can visit the vast collection of the Raccolta tecnica di armi (collection of weapons); the Acciaieria (steel plant) (1884); the Jutificio Centurini (jute factory) (1886), of which only the villa Centurini survives today nestled in the pine wood that bears the same name. There are older structures nearby like the Lanificio Gruber (wool factory) (1846) and the Nerina Canal, which was the energy source for the early factories. All around are the factory worker neighborhoods Borgo Bovio and Sant’Agnese.

To the west of the town, built on the remains of a Roman-era Christian burial ground, is the Basilico di S. Valentino, destination of pilgrimages of lovers from all over the world who come to honor the saint and ask for his blessing.

The beautiful basin in which the town lies is naturally ready to welcome and awe-inspire people who love the outdoors, peaceful surroundings and mountains. Terni lies at the feet of the Monti Martani, with their prehistoric settlements, bordered by the Parco Fluviale del Nera (the Nera River Park) where you can stroll, or bike or ride horses along its entire length. You can’t leave the area without going to see the majestic Cascate delle Marmore (waterfalls), the highest and oldest manmade waterfalls, that couldn’t sum up any better way the uniqueness of this territory, where history, nature and technology meet but never clash, they rub but never screech, in a delicate balance that has been formed over centuries.

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