The medieval hamlet of San Gemini, close to Terni and Narni, lies on a hilly landscape spotted with torrents and valleys, where a long time ago it was a Roman settlement. You will surely breath art and culture at every step… The first news about San Gemini dated back to 1036, contemporaneously with the foundation of the Abbey of St Nicolò. During that century the village underwent numerous Saracen invasions and became part of the Church States, thanks to the cardinal Albornoz. In 1530, the hamlet turned into one of the Orsini’s feud for want of Pope Clement VII. It then belonged in the following century to the Publicola of Santacroce. In 1781 Pio VI elevated San Gemini to the rank of an independent city.
The old town centre has preserved the morphology and typical medieval architecture. Have a look at the Palazzo Vecchio (XII-XIII century). The Palazzo keeps splendid frescoes representing rural scenes. Torre Esperia, with a bell-tower built in 1318, which is the symbol of the town.
Piazza San Francesco is the centre of San Gemini, where the ancient part of the city borders with the modern one. Here you will find the lovely church dedicated to the saint from Assisi, St Francesco. Please note the Gothic portal and its wooden door; inside, admire the fifteenth-century Umbrian school frescoes, like the “Crocifissione con San Francesco e San Giovanni ai piedi della Croce”.
Do not miss the Duomo, dedicated to the local patron saint, St Gemini. The church, dating back to the XII century, was totally renovated during the early XIX century. The interiors preserve seventeenth-century stuccoes and frescoes, like “Martirio di San Sebastiano” and “Madonna con Bambino e Santo Vescovo”.
Driving northwards for 4 Km from San Gemini, you will reach an important archeological site with the ruins of a Roman settlement, called Carsulae, still partially buried. The ruins of Carsulae consist of the ancient forum area, with the basilica, theatre and amphitheatre, making one of the most fascinating archeological sites in southern Umbria. The Church of St Damiano is another must see. The building was erected during the Middle Ages over the ruins of a Roman edifice, and shows inside wonderful XIV and XV-century frescoes.
San Gemini is naturally renowned for its great Mineral Water springs: for centuries San Gemini mineral water has enjoyed a consolidated reputation for its health-inducing properties. This reputation is both on account of the therapeutic properties of the water itself and the result of the natural and unspoilt environment that surrounds the source of this special water (Mounts Martani and Umbrian Apennines). The thermal spa features sporting facilities and is embellished by a number of medieval monuments all around.
The gastronomic tradition is particularly focused on the cheesy pizza, salted focaccia and “panpepato”. Well-known even the picchiarelli alla sangeminese: home-made pasta seasoned with spicy ragout.
Events and folklore
The most heartfelt event in San Gemini is the so-called “Infiorata di San Gemini”: a historical-religious recalling that take place in town between May and June, along with the Corpus Domini. The city gets wonderfully adorned with flowers, with drawings which are real pieces of art. The “infioratori” work all year long, collecting herbs and flowers to make their works just unique!
The “Mercatino dell´Antiquariato, Modernariato, Collezionismo e Artigianato” occurs every third Sunday of the month in Piazza San Francesco; it is an antiquity market, exhibiting also modern and craft-made pieces coming from all lover Italy.
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This Umbria town is surrounded by beautiful countryside and has a lived-in feel.
Terni was called "the Italian Manchester" in the late 19th century (in the middle of the Industrial Revolution) and it owes its current look to the establishment of large industrial enterprises, and important hydropower productions.
Historical documents and finds testify that Narni, whose primary name was “Nequinum", has been inhabited from the Paleolith.