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A walk through the silence of nature – on donkey trails, along a Roman aqueduct, to an ancient castle

| Barbara Kollmann |
Sentiero 52 acquedotto romano

What makes this hiking trail so unique? Its location on the southern edge of the Monte Subasio (1290 m), a mountain range between Umbria and the Marches, is not the only thing that makes it unique: the trail is 5.6 km long and is suitable for all ages. It starts above the beautiful village of Spello and ends (for me) in Collepino, a completely remote medieval castle village. Here you can breathe in the true essence of Umbria while walking through olive groves and enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys. In addition, you can admire ancient remains from Roman times, as the route runs along and on a Roman aqueduct.

One of the donkey troughs

Aquaeductus romanus

Until the end of the 19th century, the entire town of Spello was supplied with water by this impressive structure, which dates back to the time of the Emperor Augustus. Some sections were built above ground, in white and pink limestone of local origin, in the shape of terraces –  others run underground. One segment of the aqueduct is used as a support for the road that connects Spello with the beautiful village of Collepino. Due to various landslides, some parts show a bed of mud bricks over which the water flowed at that time. You can really get a good idea of how water was once channelled from the Fonte Canale spring just below Collepino to Spello.

An above-ground section of the aqueduct

How to get there

Driving on the SS75 from Assisi to Foligno please take the exit of Cannara, head left and continue towards Spello. Then cross the first bridge on the left over the motorway and turn right at Via delle Regioni. Immediately afterwards take the first road on your left which is  Via Poeta. Now follow this road until you reach the car park named “Parcheggio Poeta” on your right side. 

Let´s go

After filling up your water bottles at the donkey trough, follow the asphalted road to the left, which crosses olive groves and scrubland, and turn right after 20 mt, always following the signs of “sentiero 52”. After 200 mt you will reach the “three arches” of the aqueduct.

Looking eastward

I don’t want to preface this lovely hike through the magical silence of nature, but let me tell you this: you will pass over three bridges, which are Ponte Corvara, Ponte della Moie and Ponte di Parasacco (a single stone archway, 18 metres high). You will encounter several natural water springs, you will pass the so-called “curva del rosmarino” and see wild fig trees, a very large oak tree and the “Belvedere” with an amazing panoramic view of Spello. In between, a wonderful view of the Apennine valleys opens up, again and again.

When you have reached the Fonte del Molinaccio (550 m above sea level) you got to the asphalted road leading to Collepino. Actually, the hiking route along the Roman aqueduct ends here. But…

Where is Collepino, and the castle, or what is left of it?

I strongly recommend that you continue the hike and follow the main road only for a few meters. Then please turn left (there is a little sign on the wall) and start climbing the last 600-800 mt up to the village. This is the most difficult part of your entire walk – but it’s worth it! Formerly known as Colle-Lupino (Hill of the Wolf), this small village dates back to the Middle Age and has been completely restored, retaining bits of the town walls, four of the seven original towers and an ancient gate. Totally embedded in nature, Collepino, with its 35 inhabitants (that is what they say…) really IS a gem!

Formerly known as Colle-Lupino (Hill of the Wolf), this village has been completely restored, retaining bits of the town walls, four of the seven original towers and an ancient gate.

Looking down the valley

Now you earn a reward!

Have a drink (and a meal) at Flavio´s Bar – no big choice, but really good!

◆The Bar “La Locanda”  

Flavio´s tagliere vegetale – delicious!