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Narni
—  Comune  —
Comune di Narni
Central square in Narni.

Coat of arms
Narni is located in Italy
Narni
Location of Narni in Italy
Coordinates: 42°31′N 12°31′E / 42.517°N 12.517°E / 42.517; 12.517Coordinates: 42°31′N 12°31′E / 42.517°N 12.517°E / 42.517; 12.517
Country Italy
Region Umbria
Province Terni (TR)
Frazioni Narni Scalo, Borgaria, Capitone, Guadamello, Gualdo, Itieli, La Cerqua, Montoro, San Faustino, San Liberato, Sant'Urbano, San Vito, Schifanoia, Taizzano, Vigne
Government
 - Mayor Stefano Bigaroni (Democratic Party)
Area
 - Total 197 km2 (76.1 sq mi)
Elevation 240 m (787 ft)
Population (May 31, 2008)
 - Total 20,385
 - Density 103.5/km2 (268/sq mi)
 - Demonym Narnesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 05035 - 05036
Dialing code 0744
Patron saint Juvenal of Narni
Saint day May 3
Website Official website
Façade of the Communal Palace.
The Abbey of San Cassiano.

Narni is an ancient hilltown and comune of Umbria in central Italy, with 20,100 inhabitants according to the 2003 census; at altitude 240 m (787 ft) it overhangs a narrow gorge of the Nera River in the province of Terni.

Bridge of Narni over the Nera River, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, 1826.

It is very close to the Geographic center of Italy [1] There is a stone on the exact spot with a sign in multiple languages[2]

Contents

History

The area around Narnia was already inhabited in the Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages, as attested by finds in some of the caves. Around the start of the first millennium the Osco-Umbrian (Ombrikoì in Greek), a people with a language of Indo-European origin that dominated the left bank of the Tiber that vertically cuts the region to the Adriatic sea, settled in the area and called the town Nequinum. Records mention Nequinum as early as 600 BC.

The Romans conquered Nequinum in the 4th century BC and made it a position of force in this key point of the Via Flaminia the famous road which connected the city of Rome to the Adriatic Sea (at that time the road passed through the town descending to the right bank of the Nera to then carrying on to Carsulae, Acquasparta, Massa Martana and Spoleto). It supported the Gauls with the hope of freeing itself from Rome. The attempt failed and the victorious Romans changed its name to Narnia after the nearby Nar River; as in the case of Benevento, the former name was considered of ill augury: in Latin, nequeo means "I am unable", and nequitia means "worthlessness".

In 299 BC it became a Roman Municipality, and took the name Narnia. In 209 BC, it was destroyed by the Romans, for refusing to help pay for the war against Carthage. It was later rebuilt, and during the Roman times it was an outpost for the Roman army.

The Roman Emperor Nerva was born in Narnia in 35.

In Late Antiquity it suffered the events of the Greek-Gothic war and was plundered by Totila. Seat of a Lombard gastald (guastaldo), Narnia embraced the cause of Otho I of Saxony thanks to the mediation of its bishop, now Pope John XVII. Narni was part of the possessions of the Countess Matilde, once more part of the Dominions of the Church in 726. From the 11th century it began to increase in wealth and power, was opposed to Pope Paschal II in 1112 and rose against Barbarossa in 1167. This insubordination cost Narni a ferocious repression imposed by the archbishop Christian of Mainz, Barbarossa's Chancellor. In 1242 Narni, prevalently tied to the Guelph party, entered into an alliance with Perugia and Rome against the Empire.

In the following century it was included in the reconquest of the papal patrimony by Cardinal Albornoz, who also had the mighty Rocca built. It was the work of Ugolino di Montemarte, known as il Gattapone. He was also author of the plans for the Loggia dei Priori and the Colonnade that faces out onto the Piazza dei Priori together with the 13th‑century Palazzo del Podestà and the 14th‑century fountain.

In 1373 Narnia was given as fief to the Orsini to whom it returned in 1409. Occupied by King Ladislas of Naples, in the 15th century, to be soon again reabsorbed by the church, thanks to Braccio da Montone. July 15, 1525 marked a decisive turning-point in Narni's history. The troops of Charles V, mostly in fact the undisciplined Spanish soldiery and German mercenaries (Landsknechten), put the city to fire and sword; it lost its ancient prosperity. Even the inhabitants of Terni took advantage of the situation to deliver their blame to give vent to their long-repressed hatred of Narni. Its reconstruction gives it a physiognomy characteristic of the cities in Papal territory. It became part of the Roman Republic in 1789. In 1831 it joined the revolt against Gregory XVI and was annexed to the Italian Kingdom in 1860.

Main sights

Like many of the smaller towns of Umbria, Narni is still of strikingly medieval appearance today, with stone buildings, and narrow cobblestone streets. The town is famous for the largest Roman bridge (Ponte di Augusto[1]) ever built, by which the Via Flaminia crossed the Nera: about half of the bridge still stands; it is some 30 meters high.

Other sights include:

  • Duomo (Cathedral).
  • Eroli Museum with a Ghirlandaio's altarpiece.
  • Church of Santa Maria Impensole.
  • Communal Palace (13th century).
  • Palazzo dei Priori, located in the ancient Roman forum's site.
  • Rocca Albornoziana (Albornoz' Castle), overlooking the town, now hosting temporary exhibitions.
  • Romanesque church of Santa Pudenziana, just outside the town.
  • Church of Sant'Agostino, decorated with 18th century tromp-l'oeil frescoes.
  • Benedictine abbey of San Cassiano.

Narnia

The imaginary land of Narnia, described in the works of C. S. Lewis, may have been named after Narni. It has been said that he came across the name in an atlas as a child.

Notable people

References

External links

See also

Roman shipyard of Stifone (Narni)

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Narni is a city and hill town in the south of the Italian region of Umbria. It lays claim to being the geographical center of Italy, although this claim is also made by nearby Rieti. It rose to importance in ancient Roman times by being on the Via Flaminia, the road that connected Rome with Rimini. In Roman times the city was known as Narnia, but it is not certain that this is where C.S. Lewis got the name for his Chronicles from.

Get in

By Car

From Rome take the A1 Autostrada as far as Orte. Then head east on the E45 highway and Narni is about 25km.

By Train

There are trains from Rome on the line to Ancona. If coming from the north (e.g. Florence), you can change at Orte station.

Get around

Narni Scalo station is a few km from the main town. Bus services are available.

  • Bridge of Augustus. This ruined bridge is believed to be the largest Roman bridge ever constructed. It was built to carry the Via Flaminia 30m over the River Nera. About half of it remains.
  • City Museum in Palazzo Eroli, Via Aurelio Saffi. This is mainly known for housing a famous altarpiece by Domenico Bigordi known as il Ghirlandaio, but there are also prehistoric, Roman and medieval items as well as other paintings. 10.30-13.00 and 15.30-18.00, with variations according to the time of year. The museum's logo has attracted considerable attention from design enthusiasts, combining an M for museum, and an E for Eroli into what appears to be a bridge. Admission Euros 5.
  • Underground Narni. The city has several interesting underground sites, including a medieval cistern, a Roman aqueduct, and lower areas of churches. Organized tours are offered. Phone 0744/722292.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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