Sunday, 4 January 2009

Amelia - the chocolate shops are still there.

Everyone in the car had their own idea about how to get to Amelia. As a result we were late getting there and even later getting back . The chocolate shops were as I remembered them - full of every type of confectionery known to man. The reason for this is that Amelia is indeed a destination for the sweet toothed of this world - the local delicacy is a high sucrose level fig and nut confit caked in white chocolate.

The Etruscan walls are impressive - huge slabs of rock layered on top of each other so they rise as much as four metres wide and eight high. Once inside the line of defence, Amelia like many other Umbrian hill towns seems to be suffering from a marked population exodus. The young people of the town flock to nondescript developments of modern apartments that stretch far into the countryside, while the town centre is increasingly deserted. There are stunning 16th and 17th century palaces boarded up and unoccupied. The same seems to be true of other towns such as Narni and Todi. As to whether this is government policy,bad local government, the need for easy car access or a sad accident I don't know but if it carries on it will profoundly shape the Italian experience.
The cathedral is at the top of the hill and requires some twenty minutes of blood pumping pulmonary climbing to get there. The tower is twelve sided and incorporates much ancient roman era material. The church itself was much 'improved' in the 19th century and is largely forgettable. Interesting though to see captured Turkish standards from the battle of Lepanto in one of the side chapels.

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