Cannara and the ancient Urvinum Hortense
The tiny town of Cannara lies on the left bank of the River Topino, in the heart of the Valle Umbra, between Mount Subasio and the hills flanking the Martani Mountains.
Cannara boasts ancient origins: the first we hear of it indicates it was probably founded sometime around the 1st century BC with the Roman encampment “Castrum Canarii”. Important archaeological remains link its origins to Urvinum Hortense, an ancient settlement which already existed in the 1st century BC.
Urvinum Hortense occupied an imposing position on a plateau. A short distance away were the towns of Vettona (Bettona) and Perusia (Perugia); opposite, on the slopes of Mount Subasio Asisium (Assisi) and Hispellum (Spello); lower down Mevania (Bevagna) and Fulginium (Foligno). Urvinum became a municipium after the Social War (90-87 BC): from then on its inhabitants became Roman citizens. Inscriptions, coins, ceramic and architectural remains reveal a considerably lively town for the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. A little further away, the mediaeval village of Collismanci (now called Collemancio) is recorded in documents from 1224 onwards.
Local tradition connects Cannara to the Guelf Count, Valerio Ranieri, who in 1162, when Barbarossa descended into Italy for the third time, was said to have left Perugia to hide in these marshes. In fact, the very name of Cannara evokes an area of abundant water, featuring wells and marshland in which reeds grew naturally. Its strategic position made Cannara an interesting outpost for territorial conquests. During the 13th century, walls and crenellated towers were built around the town, giving it a distinctive appearance. Fiercely contended by the Guelfs and the Ghibellines from the end of the 13th century to the mid 14th century, it was first incorporated into the Duchy of Spoleto and then it passed to the Papal States.
Do not miss
- Church of San Matteo
- Romanesque Church of San Biagio
- The altar piece by Nicolò Alunno and his son Lattanzio in the Church of San Giovanni Battista
- Church of la Buona Morte
- The Sacred Hovel in Palazzo Majolica Landrini, where St Francis lived during his visits to Cannara
- Piandarca, the place where St Francis delivered his “Sermon to the birds”
- The ancient Roman municipium Urvinum Hortense, from where the thermal mosaic comes
- The colourful magic of the Infiorate [Flower Festival] of Corpus Christi
- The unique flavour of a dish made with local onions.