Today I went to see San Mamiliano, an intact and perfectly restored fortified settlement. A large part of the walls with the access door and some towers, the church of S. Biagio and the keep of the fortress are still recognizable.
San Mamiliano is a medieval castle founded to defend the territory from Saracen raids (IX century).
Legend has it that the Templars had an outpost here and that they defended this castle.
It became part of the defensive system of S. Pietro in Valle and was disputed several times between Ferentillo and Spoleto.
In fact, these now peripheral areas were once crossed by communication routes to Spoleto and were surrounded by iron mines.
- A – Entrance door
- B – Square with well and Saracen’s column
- C – Church of S. Biagio
- D – Mastio – Bell tower
- E – Borgo out of town
- F – Road to the convent of S. Giovanni
- G – Arrival parking.
In this image, the perimeter walls that exist today are marked.
The walls and internal streets
They enter from the main door a single street winds between and under the houses of San Mamiliano arriving at the church, in the highest part of the castle.
Here, under large foundation arches, you can still see the original pavement with smooth river pebbles.
They told me that the houses here as in other towns in the area have the entrance on the second floor for defensive reasons.
In fact, the stairs or bridges to reach the entrances were formerly made of wood and could be easily withdrawn in the event of a siege, as an extreme defense attempt.
S. Biagio is a beautiful church with the apse clearly built inside the castle tower as well as the campaniel is none other than the highest tower of the fortress.
The painting by Jacopo Siculo was restored a few years ago, for this reason it was decided to move it to Spoleto.
In fact prevented by a lady of the village who tenaciously imposed that the restoration work be carried out inside the church.
Fearing, as has unfortunately happened too often, that the altarpiece would never return home.
Jacopo Siculo square
Turning through the alleys do not miss this small square, in the upper half of the town.
Under an arch there are the remains of a fountain and in the well, in the center of the square, a base carved with a column bearing the insignia of Ferentillo from which hangs the head of a Moor!
Clear sign of resistance and struggle against the Saracen invasions.
Convent of S. Giovanni
Leaving behind the apse of the church and going uphill along the road, you reach an abandoned house (on the left) near a curve to the right. Follow the path in the woods that from there takes us to the convent.
Of the latter, initially born as a hermitage, few traces remain, including the church and some perimeter walls; hidden under the trees there is also an unfenced well.
Thanks to the inhabitants of S. Mamiliano who allowed me to visit the inside of the church and tell some stories of the town.