Fornole - Amelia in Umbria

Known since ancient times as “Castrum Fornoli”, the name of this location undoubtedly derives from the numerous kilns present since Roman times, built for the firing of terracotta pottery and bricks. At the beginning of the 15th century, there are reports of new fortifications of the walls and towers of Fornole by Amelia, who considered this castle a strategic fortress on her domain and a control point to contain the expansion of Narni.

The raids of 1412 by the famous leader and mercenary Braccio da Montone (Perugia 1368 – L’Aquila 1424), followed the following year by Paolo Orsini (captain of the Church Militia), almost destroyed Fornole, which, together with Amelia , had submitted to Ladislaus, King of Naples and enemy of the Pope. In 1434, Nicolò Piccinino occupied the castle and set it on fire. In 1596, an agreement was stipulated between Narni and Amelia to define the border between the two cities, positioning it exactly on the Fornole bridge. Currently, some sections of the walls with towers and two access gates to the village remain of the medieval fortress.

Inside the walls, the geometric division of the ancient urban structure of the castle is clearly visible, characterized by parallel alleys aligned with each other. The parish church dedicated to St. Peter has undergone several changes over the centuries, but a valuable fresco from the end of the seventeenth century depicting the Trinity is still visible on the vault of the nave. In the chapels on the sides of the transept there are also two valuable paintings, one depicting the Last Supper (right side) and the other San Silvestro Papa (left side). Also noteworthy are the sculptures carved in olive wood created in 1985 by the local artist Anzio Barbaccia, which represent San Francesco, Sant’Antonio Abate and the Pietà.

A suggestive and pleasant excursion from Fornole leads to the San Silvestro Park, where in addition to the lush vegetation there is the church dedicated to the saint of the same name, patron saint of the town who, according to legend, freed Fornole from the misdeeds of a dragon, as also represented in a painted inside the building. Continuing along the state road 205 in the direction of Amelia, the Marian sanctuary of Santa Maria in Monticelli is also worth a visit. Inside, remodeled in Baroque style, two important paintings can be admired: the altarpiece depicting Christ in glory among male and female saints of the Augustinian Order, attributable to the context of Giacinto Gimignani (Pistoia 1606 – Rome 1681), and a fragment of a fresco detached and transferred to canvas depicting the praying Virgin, probably repainted in the 19th century but correctly attributed by the local historian Emilio Lucci to the hand of Piermatteo d’Amelia (1445/48 – circa 1506).