Despite the fact that Spoleto is not outrageously famous or even broadly known, it is certainly one of the most beautiful cities of art in Umbria.
Located at the head of a large, broad valley, surrounded by mountains, Spoleto has long occupied a strategic geographical position, attracting talented architects, artists and craftsmen. They have been building the city over centuries into what it is today and in what it was already famous for, even before the birth of Christ: its magnificence.
Famous monuments in Spoleto include, among others, the Duomo (Cathedral) of S. Maria Assunta, the Roman amphitheatre, the Ponte Sanguinario (“bloody bridge”), a Roman bridge of which the name is attributed to the persecutions of Christians in the nearby amphitheatre, the Ponte delle Torri, a striking 13th-century aquaduct, and the majestic Rocca Albornoziana, the famous castle of Spoleto.
Yet, it is during June and July that Spoleto really comes to life. The Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds) takes over the historic town centre, with high-quality performing art events taking place throughout Spoleto. Churches, piazzas and theatres are turned into festival venues, the streets are thronged and accommodation is fully-booked for a three-week period.
The festival runs every year and is of high quality, attracting big names from the arts world. It has developed into one of the most important cultural manifestations in Italy, featuring opera, classical and modern music, ballet, theatre, dance performances, cinema and visual arts. Venues include the scenic piazza in front of the Duomo, where the opening and closing concerts take place, the Roman Theatre and an assortment of churches, theatres and palazzi.