Spello is an Italian municipality of 8,590 inhabitants in the province of Perugia in Umbria. It is located at the foot of Mount Subasio and is approximately 5 km from Foligno and 30 from Perugia.
The surface area of the municipality stretches into the mountains, hills and plains. Cereals, vines and olive trees grow in the area’s very fertile lands.
The olive tree is the source of Spello’s most precious gastronomic product: extra virgin olive oil. It is no surprise that Spello, as well as being known as one of the most beautiful towns in Italy, is also part of the Associazione Nazionale Città dell’Olio (National Association of Oil Towns).
Weekly markets and thriving folkloristic events are held here, among which the Infiorata del Corpus Domini (Corpus Domini Flower Festival) and the festival of oil, which take place respectively in the May-June and December-January periods. Inside the town, there are numerous works of art dating back to the Roman and Renaissance periods. In fact, the largest church in Spello, that of Santa Maria Maggiore, boasts splendid frescoes by Pinturicchio, which are kept in the Baglioni Chapel.
Spello was founded by the Umbrian people and was called Hispellum in Roman times. It was proclaimed “Splendidissima Colonia Julia” by Caesar.
The remains of the town’s boundary walls, which were much larger in the past compared to the part that can still be admired today, bear witness to the town’s greatness, as do the archaeological ruins surrounding it.
The arrival of the barbarians in Italy had a devastating effect on Spello, which was reduced to a poor “borgata” district.
In the period of the duchies, it was incorporated into the Duchy of Spoleto, later to bedragged along with it into the hands of the Papacy.
However, the little town regretted the autonomy it had enjoyed during the Roman Empire and soon became an autonomous Municipality with its own laws. The period as a municipality lasted until the Baglioni family from Perugia gained control of the now former municipality between 1516 and 1648.
In the 4th century, Spello was a bishopric and, in the Early Middle Ages – with other dioceses now suppressed – it was, for a long time, part of the vast diocese of Spoleto. Spello is currently integrated into the Diocese of Foligno.
The Infiorate di Spello (Spello Flower Festival) is an event that takes place every year in this little Umbrian town, on the occasion of the Corpus Domini celebration (the ninth Sunday after Easter). The “infioratori” work for an entire night creating floral carpets and
pictures that move through the streets of the historical centre of the picturesque little town, to honour the passing of the Body of Christ, carried by the bishop in the procession on Sunday morning. The result is an itinerary of approximately 1.5 km characterized by over sixty different alternating flower decorations.