Hotel SpelloSituated on the extreme downward slope of Mount Subasio, Spello is a member of the club “I Borghi più Belli d’Italia” (“Italy’s most beautiful towns”) and is described as “ a precious book filled with pages to be leisurely turned”, in the midst of which history, art and the love of beauty can be found.
A city of art and culture, Spello is home to numerous artists and their studios as well as local artisans (wrought iron, fabrics). It’s a cradle of history and tradition, like that of the Infiorata del Corpus Domini, where the skill of the flowerarrangers is passed down through the generations. They work through the night to create flower carpets and flower designs which meander through the historic center in honor of the passing of the Body of Christ, in procession on Sunday morning. The Infiorata goes back to the first decades of the 1900s and owes its existence to the initiative of a woman who, around 1930, drew a simple floral design on the street with broom and fennel, meriting the applause of the local inhabitants. They soon began imitating her, challenging each other to create bigger and better floral designs. So it was that in a short time the tradition of creating floral carpets was born which transformed the celebration of Corpus Domini into a joyous occasion in which families and expert “infioratori” were able to compare their work and award prizes to the most creative or technically skilled works.
Other interesting events throughout the year include the Festival of Cinema in February; Finestre, balconi e vicoli fioriti (a contest for the beautification and floral decoration of the urban landscape of Spello); Hispellum, a Roman festival in remembrance of the Splendidissima Colonia Julia e l’Oro di Spello (Splendid Colony Julia and Gold of Spello) which aims at an appreciation of all of Spello’s treasures, giving particular attention to its olive oil and the food and wine products most representative of the area. There are also numerous other initiatives promoting the city’s highquality products, its landscape and its cultural traditions. (www.prospello.it).
Among Spello’s monuments the Collegiata di Santa Maria Maggiore is remarkable, housing splendid frescoes by Pintoricchio. We also recommend the city’s many gates and the Pinacoteca Civica with its frescoes, paintings, sculptures and jewellery which come from various local churches, from the Municipality of Spello and even private donations.
Bernardino di Betto, known as Pintoricchio, was born some time between 1456 and 1460 in Perugia to a modest family of artisans. As a boy he began experimenting with paints in the workshop of the miniaturist Giapeco Caporali, which was located next to his house. In these years Perugia was full of artistic fervor due to the presence of great Renaissance artists such as Gentile da Fabriano, Beato Angelico, Bartolomeo Caporali and the “divine painter”, Perugino. The young Bernardino was present as well during this artistic flourishing, but he would reach his artistic maturity only later in other parts of Italy like Rome and Siena.
In Spello, too, important works of Pintoricchio are present. The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore houses a chapel entirely frescoed by Pintoricchio, commissioned by Troilo Baglioni between summer 1500 and spring 1501.
In the chapel the SelfPortrait of the artist can be found, which was a kind of provocative response to Perugino’s selfportrait: Bernardino appears with his face angled at threequarters, his features deeply recessed almost suffering but still proud.
Pintoricchio was particularly interested in the “minor arts” such as goldsmithing, majolica miniatures and woven fabrics. He would fill his frescoes with details showing every type of jewel, ceramics, fabrics, sacred vestments and fashionable clothing, miniature books, intaglios and wooden intarsias, all painted with relish and imagination which often betray technical prowess. Proof of his versatility can be found in the Pinacoteca Civica in Spello.