Rasiglia, Italy: Uncover the Hidden Charm of Umbria’s ‘Little Venice
From a strictly factual perspective, Italy is always astounding; one would even go so far as to call it a miracle.
Rasiglia, a mountain town in Umbria’s Foligno municipality, fits this description well. The hamlet is situated 648 meters above sea level and is also known as the “Borgo dei ruscelli” (village of the brooks), because to the many streams that traverse it.
Rasiglia’s Charm: The Little Umbrian Venice
One of the most adored cities in the world, it is a stand-in for grace and originality thanks to its endearing moniker, “Little Umbrian Venice.”
Around thirty Rasiglians have suddenly found themselves helping the locals of Venice deal with the tens of thousands of visitors that have descended upon their city.
And it is just this unexpected and exploding fame that is believed by many to be a miracle, bolstered by the commendable will of the local residents who persisted in the tourism and economic rebirth following the 1997 earthquake.
Everything you need to know about the town of streams is right here in Rasiglia.
Rasiglia’s Natural Beauty: The Town of Water
The town’s upper half is home to the Capovena spring, which feeds into the Peschiera (a big reservoir), which in turn feeds into the Menotre river, giving the whole area the appearance of an amphitheater.
The settlement, then known as Curtis de Rasilia, was first mentioned in the 12th century in the “Sassovivo papers” kept by the Abbey of Sassovivo. Next to the original Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie, constructed in 1450, is the modern “Youth House,” designed for use by youth groups and scouts.
The Legacy of the Trinci Family
The Castrum et Roccha Rasiliae was built during the 14th and 15th centuries at the behest of the Trinci family, who used it to exert dominance over the whole Menotre valley. The fortress was defended by armed troops and governed by a castellan. Originally, it encompassed the whole summit of the hill; now, some portions of the encircling walls and the ruins of a tower survive.
Rasiglia’s rise to prominence as a center for the arts and crafts began in the first part of the seventeenth century. Particularly noteworthy are the Accorimboni, Angeli, Silvestri, and Ottaviani mills. The water from the springs facilitated the movement of the blades, which drove the stone mill. Crushed wheat is refined and the wheat germ and bran are separated using a cylinder wrapped with extremely thin silk.
Tales from the Mills
In a charming anecdote, the mills play a starring role. The locals have a saying for each mill, perhaps referring to the character of the miller or the noise of the mill itself: “Lu saccu pe’consciousness” for the Angeli Mill, “Who skis, who doesn’t” for the Silvestri Mill, and “All the same, all the same” for the Ottaviani Mill.
Woolen Mills of Rasiglia: A Testament to Craftsmanship
And then there are the two venerable woolen mills of Tonti and Accorimboni, both located in Rasiglia. They used massive sheet metal shears to harvest the sheep’s fleece before spinning and weaving it into clothing and blankets.
Rasiglia’s Renaissance: Overcoming Earthquake and Time
Since the conclusion of World War II, the hamlet has been at its most prosperous, but in recent decades, its residents have been leaving for Foligno. However, after the devastating earthquake of 1997, the community has enjoyed a second renaissance. Indeed, it was on that day that Rasiglia’s economic revival really started. Renovating a little hydroelectric power facility, engineer Barnocchi.
Rasiglia’s inhabitants have reused or repaired many of the structures that were originally home to woolen mills and dye houses.
However, because to its old-fashioned appeal and the new social networks, Rasiglia is now a popular diversion for travelers passing through the area, even though until recently it primarily received visitors during the times when the traditional yearly celebrations took place. What could be more relaxing than taking a nap under a tree as water trickles nearby in a peaceful, lovely nook?