A Place Remembered Even by Giotto
Under the administration of Trevi, this area is one of the city's most populated outskirts and runs from the bottom of the valley up towards the mountain on which Trevi itself stands. It is known with a variety of names, including Faustana, Colle Basso, Colle Alto, La Valle, Alvanischio, Casa del Putto, Fondaccio and Corciano.
The most important building is the 12th century church of St Francis, which has a 5th century frieze and is quoted in Franciscan manuscripts as being one of the places the saint visited most frequently. The 16th century extension of the choir altered the original layout of the apse in the church, but it remains nonetheless one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in the area.
The adjacent abbey was founded by the Benedictines in 1158. Just 200 metres away from the wall of the abbey stands the ancient olive tree of Sant'Emiliano . Legend has it that Emiliano, who was the city's first bishop, was tied to this tree before being decapitated.
This tree is said to be the oldest olive tree in Umbria and was recently classified with number 102 of the region's protected plants.
The crucifix that is kept in a specially built chapel within the church of Bovara has for centuries been an important object of worship. It is said to have been venerated in many occasions by St Francis himself and is connected to the so-called "miracle of the waters".
An Episode painted by Giotto in the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi
The saint's biographers tell that St Francis once spent an entire night praying in the church of Bovara. The following morning brother Pacifico dared not wake his master. Instead he knelt town before this crucifix and prayed. During his prayers, Pacifico is said to have received a vision of Paradise, in which the throne once occupied by Lucifer had been reserved for St Francis. This episode in the saint's life has been depicted by many painters, including Giotto in the frescoes he painted at the Basilica in Assisi.
The same episode is depicted here in one of the lunettes of the cloister, as well as in a canvas that hangs in the church of St Francis.
The crucifix we see today has been dated at around 1330 and is therefore not the one painted by Giotto in the Basilica of Assisi.
The Miracle of the Waters
The Miracle of the Waters took place in 1817 and is documented in a booklet published in 1892 to celebrate the third prodigy jubilee. A severe famine hit the area in 1816, followed by an equally fierce drought the following year. Such was the drought that by May the corn that had been sowed the previous autumn had only just begun to sprout.
The city decided to make a solemn procession, bearing the Bovara crucifix. During this procession the rain came, and lasted to such an extent throughout the season that the price of grain dropped from 40 to 16 shields.
A number of archaeological finds have been unearthed in this area, indicating that there were very ancient settlements here.
The Bovara stele was unearthed in the 1950s. It is a two-line epigraph in archaic Latin that still has to be studied in depth.
A Roman mosaic has been unearthed on several occasions and successively covered again by flooding. The last time it was unearthed was in 1943-44. Since then it lies abandoned beneath a layer of soil, not far from the ancient Roman road that ran from Trevi to the ‘lapideo’ bridge that gives its name to Lapigge, on the river Clitunno.
Lovers of peace and the countryside are advised to book a night at the Agriturismo ‘I Mandorli’. Via Fondaccio 6 Località Bovara Trevi
Tel. (+39) 0742.78.669
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