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The Santo Sepolcro Cathedral

The Santo Sepolcro Cathedral

A small but lively town which receives a lot of visitors from nearby Tuscany, Acquapendente is the main agricultural market town in the Viterbo area and produces a large amount of garden fruit, vegetables, legumes and wine. It also has artisan shops and a pottery industry. At the entrance gate of the town walls stands a mediaeval tower known as Julia de Jacopo. Opposite stands the Santo Sepolcro Cathedral consecrated in 1149 by Bishop Aldobrandino of Orvieto. Another important landmark is the Church of St Francis, formerly dedicated to St Mary. This church, originally gothic passed from the Benedictine order to the Conventuals in 1255. Between 1506 and 1534 a belfry designed by Raffaele da Prato was erected. The belfry now contains three bells, the largest of which was forged by Giovanni da Ferentino in 1472. The town has a number of other monuments of which the bridge over the River Paglia deserves special mention. Built in 1580 for Pope Gregory XIII and designed by the architect Fontana, the bridge was named after the Pope and became the Gregorian Bridge. The Mount Rufeno nature reserve 2 kilometres north of the town covers an area of roughly 3,000 hectares, its lands rising to 200-748 metres above sea level. With its ancient woods, the reserve provides a natural habitat for various species of animals such as wild boar, the eagle owl, stone martens and turtles. The lovely landscape here is eminently suited to rambling and horse-riding. The reserve also provides facilities for picnics, and a botanical museum. Once a year on the Sunday of Albis, the town celebrates the "Festival of the Bells", an event that dates back to before 1150 when it used to be a trade fair at which pilgrims from all over Europe on their way to Rome would barter their merchandise. Another important feast, held on the first Sunday after 15th May, commemorates the expulsion of Barbarossa and is known as the "Madonna del Fiore", ("Our Lady of the Flower") when there is a procession of the "pugnaloni". These are large compositions of leaves and petals depicting various religious and allegorical subjects. The Feast of St Anthony also takes place in the month of May and there is a procession of the "Muratori" (the brick-layers). The Acquapendente carnival, meanwhile, is one of the liveliest in the Viterbo area and revolves around the traditional procession of allegorical floats made out of papier-mâché.


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