Friday, February 22, 2008

A Weekend in Terni

This last weekend we went and stayed at an old farmhouse outside of the city of Terni in Umbria. We left right after school and enjoyed the drive to get there through the rolling countryside north of Rome.

This is the view of the farm out our window.

The town itself was heavily damaged during the war, so much of it is rebuilt. We enjoyed some good food and had fun exploring old churches.
We also went 7km outside of the city to take in the natural beauty of the Cascata della Mamore. These waterfalls are the result of the ancient Romans redirecting water to drain a swamp area. Today the water is used for hydroelectric power, so the waterfalls are turned on and off twice a day when the water is not being used for the generators.

The town seems to be most famous for their bishop, Valentine. Yes, he is the saint celebrated on February 14th. (We arrived after all of the big festivities.) Valentine was a Christian medical practitioner, who often cared for the poor and those in prison. He was also a bishop in the early church. There is a legend that while Valentine was in prison awaiting execution for his Christian faith, he converted the jailer by restoring sight to the jailer's daughter.

I found this story of Valentine at
In the Roman empire wars broke out. The emperor Claudius summoned the citizens forth to battle and year after year the fighting continued. Many of the Romans were unwilling to go. The married men did not want to leave their families. The younger men did not wish to leave their sweethearts. The emperor was angry when soldiers were too few. He ordered that no marriages should be celebrated and that all engagements must be broken off immediately. Many a young Roman went off to the wars in sorrow, leaving his love. Many a Roman maiden died of grief as a result of this decree.

Now the good priest Valentine heard of the emperor's command and was very sad. When a young couple came to him, he secretly united them in marriage. Another pair sought his aid and in secret he wedded them. Others came and quietly were married. Valentine was the friend of lovers in every district of Rome. But, such secrets could not be kept for long. At last word of Valentine's acts reached Claudius. He summoned his soldiers. "Go! Take that priest in the temple! Cast him into a dungeon! No man in Rome, priest or not, shall disobey my commands!"

1 comment:

Jim said...

Lorenzo (aka Larry):

Umbria is wonderful; thanks for the memories. I came pretty close to marrying a wonderful American based Italian woman who teaches in Perugia during the summers. I know the North better and have not been to Terni.

Have you been to Assisi recently? If not, its just great, but be sure to go at some time likely to minimize # of tourist buses encountered.

But the best of all is a few days in any village, and with a farmhouse like the one you stayed in. Was it expensive?

Thanks for keeping this blog current, it is fun to follow your adventures. As you may recall, I studied in Italy as a college student. I remain a great fan of both the country and its new Roman resident.


Jim Isaacs