Trevi is a small town on a hillside in the heart of the Umbria region of Italy, and is rich in history and art.
Trevi was originally a province of the Papal States, but as in other cities in Umbria political power was actually exercised by a small number of noble families and it was these families that gave much of the artistic and cultural heritage to the town we see today.
The enjoyment starts even before you enter the village - the view of Trevi running down the hillside as you approach is very beautiful and one of the highlights of a visit. But be sure to carry on to the town itself...
The medieval center of Trevi is a network of alleys and narrow streets still surrounded in part by the original defensive walls (built in the 13th century). The raised position of the town means it also has some exceptional views across the Umbria countryside as far as Assisi and beyond.
Within the center are numerous attractive small palaces such as Palazzo Valenti and Palazzo Comunale, arcades and porticos, vaulted passageways and features of architectural interest which make trevi one of our favourite villages in the region.
Many of the most important historical monuments here are churches, of which there are a large number in both Trevi and the surrounding area.
Visiting the churches of Trevi we often come across the name of Valenti. Benedetto Valenti, attorney to Clement VII (1478-1534) and Paul III (1468-1549), founded a collection of antique inscriptions in his palace that even today forms a very important collection for learning about the ancient history of Trevi.
For example, in the Church of Madonna delle Lagrime we can see the tombs of Romolo Valenti, Bishop of Conversano and other members of the Valenti family, and works of exceptional technical expertise. It was also in this church that Pietro Vannucci* [1450-1523], called "Il Perugino" worked, for example on the work called 'The Epiphany'. The church was built in the early 16th century and has a Renaissance portal.
Historical note: It was here in this small town in Umbria that the the "Divine Comedy" was printed and published in 1472 by John Numeister and Evangelista Angelini, a native of Trevi.
Of particular renown in Trevi is the gothic style Church of San Francesco. The church portal is surmounted by a lunette with a 14th century fresco, while inside you can see 14th and 15th century frescoes and a 14th century crucifix by the so-called "Master of the Crucifix of Trevi".
The church has an impressive organ built around 1509. The cloister annexed to the convent has frescoes by Bernardino Gagliardi, a painter who was very active in Trevi around 1645, and telling the stories of the life of Saint Francis. The former convent houses the local Art Gallery, including an altarpiece by Spagna.
The Church of Sant’Emiliano dates from the 12th century and is in Romanesque style, although remodeled several times over the centuries. The façade has a 15th century portal crowned with a pediment with a fine relief representing "Sant'Emiliano between the Lions”. The interior of the church holds some valuable works of art, including the “Altare del sacramento” by Rocco da Vicenza from 1522:
“Undoubtedly the masterpiece of Rocco in Umbria is the great altar of carved stone in the church of St. Emiliano in Trevi, with a central part including the tabernacle, flanked by angels in prayer and with a greater arc inside of which are depicted chalices with hosts and cherubic heads, while on the sides are painted “Madonna and Child and San Emiliano.” All the details of the altar are decorated with refined elegance "(See “Arte lombarda”, 1966, p. 42).
Among other works of art in this church are a 15th century crucifix and baptismal font, and a statue of the saint.
Along Via San Martino, we find the Chapel of St. Jerome, painted by Spagna. Nearby there is the 14th century Church of San Martino with its convent and a portal showing a fresco painting by Tiberio di Assisi (1470-1524).of the "Virgin and Child between two adoring angels." Inside there are also some works of Pierantonio Mezzastris (second half of the 15th century) such as the Madonna with Saints on the church altar and another work by Ascensidonio Spacca (1557-1646).
When you have finisihed exploring allow yourself to enjoy lunch in one of the excellent restaurants to be found around Trevi, of which there are several.
There are also many small churches scattered around the countryside near Trevi, such as Santo Stefano di Manciano, little known to tourists - and little known even to the inhabitants of Trevi.
This hilltop church stands at an altitude of 527 metres and was important during the struggles between municipalities because of its strategic position as an outpost to north of the territory of Trevi, with a view of Foligno and the valley below. Only the external walls of the church remain: the elegant semi-circular apse and the crypt. It is also only stones that remain of the ancient Abbey nearby, and no trace remains of the tower that was destroyed by lightning in 1610.
You can also visit the 'Tempietto' (small Temple) of the Clitumnus, a beautifully proportioned roman temple that became an artistic symbol for many leading Renaissance architects.
Finally, tourists can take a nature walk among the olive trees in the region around Trevi, and enjoy some local products such as the "oil bruschetta".
Trevi is also well known for its celery, grown here since the seventeenth century when Cardinal Ludovico Valenti started the reclamation of the Clitumnus. - this land reclamation allowed agriculture to flourish including the cultivation of so-called "black celery," which became famous on national markets.
See also history of Trevi
* For artist notes see Italian painters in the Middle Ages and Renaissance