Collicello - Amelia in Umbria

This suggestive castle stands on a wooded hill, from which it takes its name. Collicello was for centuries the most distant Amerino bastion to oppose the nearby dominions of Todi. A few hundred meters from the town was the Canale castle, an ancient possession of the Chiaravalle family from Todina. Collicello is one of the Amerino castles that has most intactly preserved its medieval appearance, modern buildings being very rare in its territory.

In 1342, Collicello was definitively subjected to the jurisdiction of Amelia through an oath of loyalty, imposed by Giordano Orsini, rector of the Church Heritage. In 1404, the Municipality of Amelia had a fortress built within the walls of Collicello, in order to constitute a more secure defense against the expansionist ambitions of the Chiaravalle. However, in 1460, the people of Chiaravello attacked the castle, which was partly set on fire.

To improve the defense of Collicello, an armed garrison was established with one hundred verrettoni (a weapon consisting of a metal rod to be thrown by hand or with a crossbow) and a bombard capable of launching a cannonball weighing thirty pounds. However, in 1461, the Chiaravalle took advantage of a brief absence of the Amerina garrison and attacked Collicello, destroying it.

A prompt retaliation occurred in 1462, when the papal and Amerine troops, commanded by Raffaele Caymo, clashed with the Chiaravalle, who were severely defeated near their castle of Canale, which was demolished on the orders of Pope Pius II.

Today Collicello retains its surrounding walls in excellent condition, with an entrance door characterized by an external ring arch in tanning stone and its beautiful eight guard towers, one of which faces in the direction of the now destroyed Canale castle. Inside the parish church of San Giovanni Evangelista there are interesting frescoes, located in the apse, depicting the Madonna and Child between Saints Michael the Archangel and John the Evangelist, with a view of Collicello. This work was created in 1948 by the Tuder painter and decorator Benedetto Cascianelli.

Just outside the town there is also the rural church known as Madonna delle Grazie. Characterized by a harmonious façade and a high bell tower, this church has an interior decorated with large frescoed panels, in which figures of saints stand out set in delicate rural landscapes. Wrongly considered to be from the Renaissance era, these works can be correctly dated to the first half of the 17th century, thanks to the presence of San Carlo Borromeo (Arona 1538 – Milan 1584), canonized in 1610.

Starting from Collicello, several interesting excursions are possible. Walking along a path that begins in the upper part of the town, you come to see, among the vegetation, the ruins of the ancient Rocca di Canale. Traveling instead along the Galisciano (or Gallisciano) road, you can visit the remains of an ancient Franciscan monastery, previously a Benedictine abbey. It is said that Saint Francis (Assisi 1182-1226) stayed near the convent, retiring to pray in an adjacent cave, called the Cave of Saint Francis in honor of him.