The Etruscan Balcony
of Umbria


Bettona has been called the “Etruscan balcony of Umbria” and is part of the club of the “Borghi più belli d’Italia”. Enclosed by mighty walls, Bettona is a natural viewpoint that overlooks a vast plain, the Umbrian Valley, with the background of Perugia, Assisi, Spello and Montefalco and the distant mountains of Umbria and Marche. The landscape of the valley that can be admired from Bettona is harmonious, characterized by the colors and scents of this land rich in history and generous fruit. Bettona is a town in the province of Perugia, which has just over 4,000 inhabitants including fractions.
Vetumna: the country
of the ancients

The origins of

The historic center of Assisi, a nearly 400 meters above sea level, stands on top of a hill spur, which last northern foothills of the Martani Mountains, of course defense, on the plain of Passage, by the confluence of the rivers Topino and Chiascio, a short distance from the Tiber. The city of Bettona offers Umbrian-Etruscan origin. The etymology is uncertain, but most likely it comes from the Etruscan Vetu (ancient, elder), from which Vetumna, whose meaning could be “the land of the ancients”, referring to people existing before the coming of the Etruscans, that the Umbrians, defined by Pliny the Elder “the oldest population of Italy” also attest “that the Etruscans subdued three hundred towns in Umbria.” Most probably in the group of these three hundred cities is attributable Etruscan Vetumna (IV-III century BC.), Which remains a part of the city wall and a tomb in Colle, Etruscan outpost on the left of the Tiber, which in the territory it was essentially remained, after the Etruscan expansion, under the control of the Umbrian people.
of San Crispolto

By Romans
to Christianity

In Roman times, after the Bellum Perusinum (14 BC), the city is organized in municipium and its people enrolled in Clustumina tribes. In the Augustan age Roman Vettona (Pliny the Elder mentions the fact vettonenses in his Naturalis Historia) is important to the city because of its geographic location along the way Amerina. With the advent of Christianity Vettona is evangelized, according to tradition, from San Crispolto, come from Asia. With the fall, Vettona, suffered the devastation of the Goths led by Totila and the territory later came under Byzantine rule and then Lombard. In 1014 A.D. Bictonia out from obscurity thanks to the Benedictines who founded the Abbey of San Crispolto the Plan (which will guard the Saint’s remains until 1267 year that were transferred within the City walls in the church), along the creek Sambro, near the confluence of the Topino and Chiascio rivers and close to the field bucaronis quoted in the passio sancti Crispoliti. In the same period two other Benedictine settlements of the territory: the Abbey of San Quirico and the monastery of St. Hubert.
The desired autonomy
of its notables

From the dominion of the Church
to the Unification of Italy

In 1198 the Duke of Spoleto Bictonia gives to the Church, contested between the dominion of Assisi and Perugia and involved in the feud between the Guelph and Ghibelline factions. In fact, in 1352, after trying to become independent from the neighboring and powerful Perugia, Bictonia is besieged by the huge army of Perugia and, having long resisted, was forced to surrender. The historians narrate that was put “a lot and iron, beating villains of the primary men of the place, breaking down, scassinando walls and all the houses, sol pardoning the churches.” With prisoners enemies brought in Perugia also the relics of St. Crispolto. Rebuilt in 1367 on the orders of Cardinal Albornoz, in a circle of smaller but more fortified walls, also it recovered the remains of the patron. Ten years after he came under the rule of the Trinci of Foligno and then, by force from Malatesta, subjected to the lordship of the Baglioni of Perugia until 1648, when he came under the direct rule of the Holy See, which follows the fortunes until the Unification of Italy.
A witness pearl
of the ancient past

The historic center
of Bettona

Of all this past of great value, says the current center of Bettona: walls with towers, ramparts and drawbridge, houses, buildings, mostly dating from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, many churches and former convents and an important city museum which houses important works by Perugino and many other artists, without neglecting the important archaeological section that preserves interesting Etruscan and Roman remains. But also the plain of Passage, close to the Abbey of St. Crispolto privately owned, there is the monumental Villa del Boccaglione or Bucajone, that after years of abandonment, in 1993 it passed to the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, which has started the restoration . Built on the field bucaronis in the second half of the eighteenth century the ancient Bettona of Crispolti family, perhaps on an existing building dating back two centuries before, then passed to the family of Archpriests the Pen, and then to the family of Bianconi and finally to the family Iraci Borgia Mandolins . Unknown the architect’s name, although some features the lead back to the cultural area of ​​the Piermarini.
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