of Giuseppe Bambini

Among the magical and marvelous places which fill a mystical mountain like Mount Subasio, a place which is particularly remarkable awaits you at Panzo. We recommend comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for a trip to the mountains. Bring with you a small knapsack containing something to eat and drink, the map, Paths of Mount Subasio, scale 1:2000, of the C.A.I section of Foligno, binoculars to enjoy the views and a camera for anyone who wants to remember. By car: From Piazza Matteotti (445 m) head in the direction of St. Mary of the Angels; at the Porta Nova fork, continue on for Foligno (SS147); after about 300 m turn left onto a narrow asphalt road (SP 251) in the direction of S. Benedetto . The road will ascend through houses, oaks, and cypresses and soon you will come to an evident intersections of many roads; here you should park in the small level clearing on the right, next to an olive grove (440m - 2.8 km. From Piazza Matteotti). Itinerary: begin to walk (E) on a slight descent down towards S. Benedetto road. On your right, past the fence, you will see the grassy mantle of the Stadium of the Olive Trees, built in the 60's, taking advantage of the natural karst depression of the Hollow, which gives its name to the surrounding area. To your left, a vast olive grove, above, the woody slope of Mount Subasio. After you have gone a few hundred meters, you will come to a fork (456m) where there will be, on your right, a perfectly restored farmhouse, surrounded by thick cypress trees. Leave the road you have been on until now and take left along a narrow dirt road which climbs steeply (wooden sign for S. Angelo in Panzo), shaded by a double row of majestic oaks. Ignore the first turn off to the right which goes to a farmhouse. Continuing along the ascending dirt road you will arrive at (and you cannot go wrong here!) S. Angelo in Panzo (490 m - 30 min from departure), which you will be able to recognize by its stone boundary wall, completely covered by a very much spread out creeper. In Umbria, the cult of St. Michel Archangel -or, more simply St. Angel - goes back to the 5th century, to the time of the Lombard occupation. The place name, St. Angel in Panzo, the name of a noble family, is attested as early as the year 1000 and before. The happy exposition, the richness in springs, and the traces of Roman walls would further justify the presence of ancient human settlements. The whole complex is privately owned. You can, nonetheless, ring the small bell at the metal gate at the entrance. You will be lucky if Rita looks out into the little atrium; she is the mistress of the Panzo castle. The gate opened, you will be taken, with a spontaneous courtesy, into the garden, overlooking the which, with a geometric harmony, you will find the minuscule church of St. Angel, the Ponzo Spring as well as the owner's historical home. (This last cannot be visited.) "Saint Angel in Panzo's fame is connected to St. Claire. The sources recount that Claire, after having made her vows, with Francis present, to God before the Porziuncola's altar, retreated to the Benedictine Monastery of St. Paul of the Abbesses, in Bastia, in the attempt to flee from her relatives, who did not approve of her drastic decision to detach herself from the world. Pursued by them, she did not give in to their violence and displayed herself fir m and unshakeable in her intentions. After a few days stay the St. Paul Monastery, she moved to the church of St. Angel in Panzo, on the slopes of Mount Subasio. St. Francis, Brother Phillip, and Brother Bernard accompanied her there. It was towards the end of March, 1212." (Francesco Santucci) At the end of the 17th century, the complex belonged to the Bonacquisti family of Assisi which, in 1604 saw to the rebuilding of the current church, using the same stones of the extremely old and famous church of St. Angel in Panzo, as the inscription within the sanctuary explains. In the 18th century, the structure passed over to the Aluigi, another Assisi family. In 1933, it became the property of the Brunelli family, also from Assisi. The current owner is Doctor Hector Marconi, a descendent of the Brunelli's, to whose passion and competence we owe the recovery of the entire complex, returned to its ancient splendor after decades of abandon and oblivion. It is worth printing here a curious inscription, reproduced on a brick inside the house: "As you admire this mountain spot - amazed traveler decide to stop -this place will surpass - all other homes on this mountain pass - but if it's not congenial, gives you no delight - peace be with you, find another hotel for tonight - 1604" "The Panzo Spring - Vinicio Buzzao informs me, an expert on the comune's springs for a life time - along with another spring nearby, supplies the water to the Panzo aqueduct, which conveys between 2 and 10 liters a second, and provides water to the lower part of Assisi, between Borgo Aretino and St. Peter. The city has certainly the Panzo Springs since the Etruscan-Roman period, and has frequently restored the aqueduct, over the centuries, the most recent restoration dating to 1907. In 1927 - Vinicio goes on - Assisi's authentic hydraulic memory - Nocera Umbra water was brought to Assisi for the first time, by means of the Bagnara-Assisi-Perugia aqueduct, which radically resolved the city's water needs. Today the Panzo aqueduct contributes 10% of the city's necessary waters." Go and have a drink at the Panzo Spring! From Panzo, after a brief climb (15 min), you can arrive at the Carceri Hollow "where it is possible to observe gorges, ravines, the descending levels of old waterfalls, the mountain's precipitous faces, all signs of an imposing work of demolition carried out, over the centuries, by the extreme rains here. Among the surprises which this torrent fossil reserves for the hiker, the Panzo Orrido, a shadowy ravine locally called the Carabone, will perhaps most amaze, indeed, stupefy you. Here, at the at the lowest level of an ancient waterfall surrounded by peaked mountain walls, a sub-vertical, natural well opens up and overflows; this well is known as the Devil's Basin; its mouth is situated at the waterfall's highest level. Two other natural wells can be found nearby, on the right; they are visible only from below because the mouths above are hidden by vegetation and, therefore, dangerous. The Carabone is without a doubt one of the most suggestive places on Mount Subasio, which elicits one's marvel and sense of the mysterious, and, at the same time, inspires one with an attitude of respect and awe for this seeming work of art which is, instead, a work of nature." (Emilio Vetturini). This time we will not provide the detailed itinerary which would bring you from Panzo to the Carabone, because this hike can be, objectively speaking, dangerous. You must go to the Carabone with the help of someone local who already knows it and frequents it. Asking around, geting information, finding out who has already been, begging someone to accompany you -this makes for a true "discovery". He who writes here got to know the Panzo Orrdio in this way, and since then, for him, the Carabone has always been there, placid and shadowy, always ready to supply new emotions, new sensations.

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