Just outside the walls of Spello is the start of a trail along the remains of the ancient Roman aqueduct that delivered mountain spring water from the tiny hilltop village of Colepino to Spello. We had walked this trail on our previous visit, but we wanted to experience once again its panoramic views across undulating Umbrian valleys towards the distant Apennines.
The aqueduct had fallen out of use after the Second World War, and the trail had been buried for many hundreds of years. In around 2008 a wonderful restoration project was undertaken, reopening the pathway along which asses carried people and produce between Colepino and Spello in Roman times. As part of the restoration, embedded in the walls at intervals are bricks engraved with quotations from luminaries such as Oscar Wilde, Gandhi, Einstein and Chaplin. Good translation practice for those of us with limited Italian!
Bright berries catch the midday sun….
On either side of the path, olive groves stretch into the distance on terraced slopes, sometimes incorporating sections of the aqueduct….
Olive trees burst into blossom, a taste of things to come….
Wild flowers are everywhere, bright colours reflecting the strong sunlight….
Wild herbs cling to crevices in the walls and asparagus and fennel grow in abundance. Locals come here to gather nature’s bounty to enhance their cooking.
Grasses bleached by the hot summer sun are entwined together in complimentary hues….
Huge dandelion ‘clocks’ disperse their seeds like tiny autogiros….
In the distance the church bells of Spello ring out the hours, whilst these beautiful bells are silent….
The entire walk is a delight. Birds circle overhead, tiny finches hop across the path. Lizards speed through undergrowth and up walls. Crickets chirp, appearing here and there on a grass stalk or tree branch, always well camouflaged.
But it is the smells that linger long afterwards: herbs warmed by the sun, the scent of flowers on the breeze, newly strimmed grass under the olive trees and always, always woodsmoke.