Spello’s well preserved town walls remain surprisingly complete. At the highest point is the Belvedere with its extensive views over the Topino valley and its Roman archway. Leave the main streets and lose yourself in the quiet medieval alleyways crowded with interlocked stone houses with flower-filled balconies.
Spello is built on the lower slopes of Mount Subasio. The pink marble from the mountain was used to build the town, giving it a rosy hue, especially at sunrise and sunset. The striations in the stones show the ridges and grooves of movements in the rocks over millions of years.
The remains of the Arch of Augustus form part of a later wall, its original Roman inscription visible.
The walls show the changes to building facades over the centuries; here a doorway has been bricked up, still using the local marble.
Each turn, each tiny alley brings its rewards, with plants and flowers, delicate handrails and secret arches. Who knows where that street will lead? Who cares, when there is time to explore?
I place my hand on the ancient stones in sunlight and they are warm to the touch. The marble absorbs and stores the heat, releasing it when the day cools down. The walls are thick, keeping the houses cool in summer and warm in winter. The roofs are made from layers of crafted Roman tiles, normally on a wooden frame or barrel vaults. The colours of the tiles change as they weather. The result is picture perfect.
I stand with my back to the stones and wonder what tales they could tell, what changes they have seen and how many people have passed them by. I am just one visitor, just one more person passing through this town of pink stones. But this visitor will be back. Spello may have a heart of stone, but it is entwined with my own.