Oh what to do. Around Leonessa there are other small villages, all with the same feel, either a few houses on the side of the hill with no obvious access from the road, else with a single medieval era street and not much more. Thus checking the guide books I noticed that Spoleto was near by and more importantly appeared to have an old Roman ampitheatre, plus a museum. There also appeared to be a 9 span medieval Roman style foot bridge near by.
As the crow flies Spoleto is only about 10-15 km from Leonessa, but by the time I had wound round the mountainous roads and even some fast a roads towards the end, it took me close to two hours. Actually that should also include the 30+ minutes spent navigating the city as, despite being a UNESCO labled location, there were no indications of where anything was. I found the old town by accident, at which point the streets became little wider than the car. Suddenly I found myself taking comfort in taking out the extra insurance on the car, no no dings or scrapes, but on a few occasions there was just centimeters spare. I only located the museum through a search of local atractions on the sat nav. The fact it is down a non-drivable passage meant little as it tried to navigate me through the impossible. Still eventually I found parking near by and am presently sat at a busy cafe having ordered lunch. I’ll hit the museum after that. As to the bridge, what I had seen online indicated it was badly sign posted, and as the museum had but one right by it, I expect I have no chance of finding it. Time will tell.
Must admit Spoleto looks interesting as a place to stay for a fee days, but as a driving tourist it is not good. I have but 2 hours parking (meter took coins only) so my trip round the museum may be brief, or require a search for more parking and additional coins.
Looking at my cached pages on Tripadvisor, I think I actually found the bridge, or more accurately I followed one narrow road round to the end where I found the start of a bridge and permanent barriers to stop cars/bikes.
Lunch was taken at Vincenzo Art Cafe, just down a shooping street from the museum. With other restaurants being empty, this was buzzing. I went for a simple Picchi arilli al pomodoro – think short fat spaghetti in a tomato sauce. Being about 3mm thick cooking these can be a problem as you can end up with a sog outer layer or just plain undercooked. Alas mine was the latter. Still it tasted pleasant.
The archaeological museum is small but quite a find if you’re interested in Roman things, or in is case, pre-Roman rule. It’s not large and many of the displays have no English translation, but it’s still a good way to kill an hour. Part of it is a Roman amphitheatre, though much of the stage area and the mural were covered as it’s still used and presently there’s a local festival going on. It does show how good a condition it is in by the fact it does get regular use, though it also means there are electrical cables and modern lighting every where.
I got back with about 5 minutes to spare on the parking ticket. The journey back inly took me about an hour, though I took a more Italian attitude to the drive. I’ve noticed that when no police are around, most Italian drivers seem to think that road signs, road markings, and even speed limits are only advisory and so pay little attention to them. You have to concentrate, but there are some damn fine driving roads around here.