Driving up to Panicale the profile of the Campanile, or old Town Hall comes into sight at the height of this gentle but lively hill town.
This place has been occupied since 1300 BC. First by the ancient Aequi, then the Etruscans then the Romans.
In the Middle Ages it was an independent commune.The walls that enclose the town were built for fortification date back to 1276. There was also a moat that was filled in during the 19th Century.
The warm colors of Panicale beckon as we approach the town.
We enter Panicale through Porta Perugina, named for the Renaissance
artist Pietro Perugino ( 1445-15240
In the tiny church of St. Sebastiano there is a fresco by Perugino, that he painted during the time Raphael was his student.
Piazza Umberto I is the center of much of the town's activity. At any time of day the friendly Bar Gallo is open, it is where to start the day with coffee, return later for another coffee or gelato, and perhaps before dinner an apertivo.
The Renaissance fountain, which was originally a well is a good resting spot to watch the daily activity of the piazza. This is a holiday week (Festa di lavoro or May Day), so the piazza has been busy and there have been children playing in the piazza. The children's sweet voices fill the piazza on this sunny spring day as they play soccer or
hide and seek..........pretty interesting in this piazza that radiates with Medieval streets.
Walking through the streets of Panicale could not have been much different 500 years ago then it is today. The ever present sound of the swallows flying over the town, the aroma of food through open kitchen windows in mid afternoon,the stone facades of buildings with old wooden doors that open to houses that still remain centuries later.
It is all quite magical. The walk is full of texture and color, layer upon layer. The Medieval is here. The Renaissance is here.
(And best of all, for us, we are here!)
Climbing the narrow and ancient streets .....at times we feel like everything is up here....always, always climbing hills and stairs!
On our way up to the top of the town we stop in at the church of San Michele to see the newly restored painting The Adoration by Corporale as well as
The Annunciation by Masolino di Panicale.
Masolino, the important early Renaissance painter, as his name implies, was from Panicale.
Now we finish the climb to the top to the Piazza Podesta. We enjoy a rest as we look at the view.
Panicale rises above the Umbrian plain with panoramic views to Lago Trasimeno. Umbria is quite agricultural and here fields of different crops, grains, grapes,olives or legumes, can be seen across the plain to the lake.
A soft breeze is found here on the hilltop.
(Maybe James will post a blog on the Battle of Trasimeno and tell you about how the Romans were defeated by Hannibal and his War Elephants.)
But for now, here later in the day and into the evening there is sunset and time for dinner.
More on that soon, dinner that is.
Next..... People and Places.......... eating and marketing in Panicale.