Strolling round Spello at night is a wonderful experience. The day-trippers have left, the streets are quiet and the shutters are closed on the many windows. The Propertius Towers flank the western gate into the town, their restored Roman remains surrounding a medieval entrance. Beyond, the lights of Foligno and Montefalco shine through the darkness.
The main piazza has been recently refurbished, its clean lines contrasting with the previous rather haphazard arrangement.The changes have been controversial. It seems that there was little or no consultation with the people of Spello – the Spellani – over the plans. There is lingering discontent still, and it remains to be seen whether any further changes will be made. A bronze statue of The Return of Saint Frances by Norberto is sited in the piazza. It’s a lovely thing, but it is a copy of the statue outside the basilica in nearby Assisi, and although Norberto was a native of Spello, the locals feel that it is not sufficiently original for Spello. Close to the statue is a white metal tree, ugly by day and barely improved by night when its branches are lit. The original fountain has been refurbished; previously it rarely worked, but now it is in full working order and an asset to the piazza.
At the moment, when darkness falls, the square is lit in the colours of the Italian flag. There are rumours that this is a temporary measure but, Spello Commune, if you listen to the people you will hear that they want the lights to stay. For what it’s worth, I’d like them to stay too.