Difference in height: m. 133
Length: Km. 9
Outfit: walking boots or mountain bike, flask.
Excursion to the Forre of Ponte Marchetto
Level route at the back of the stream Marchetto as far as the canyon, it draws next to the omonimous bridge built where the ditch Sanguinone flows into it.
Leave Villamena, (m.460, get out of the entrance and turn right), go down the “Balza di Corazza Sbaraglino” and you will reach “Pian della Pieve” where, on the left, you can see the quadrangular body of the fortified building formerly belonging to the Sbaraglini family.
The chronicle of Perugia narrates that Corazza Sbaraglino, while staying in the Castle of Pian della Pieve, one morning woke up surrounded by enemies; he mounted on horseback and broke the siege while going towards Villamena but the enemies reached him again. Corazza without delay gallopped away towards the Tescio running down to the narrow valley and threw himself down the river. Everybody thought he had died but Corazza reappered the following day, alive and kicking, in the Piazza del Comune.
At the of time Francis (XIII century) the Commune of Assisi had divided the country into 90 “balie”. In 1332 the Commune decided to take a census of rural population and in the archives of Assisi there is the document which proves the most ancient census of population in Middle Ages.
Villamena belonged to the Balia of “Cerqua Palmata” which, together with Satriano, was among the most densely-populated of the Commune with 88 “fires” that is 500 people. The resources of mountain people were, above all, represented by lumbering obtained by the oakwoods.
Villamena probably arises as a sighting garrison under the service of the castle of Piano della Pieve. From the excavations, it comes out that the oldest settlement was made of two towers and, in the middle, a will to draw water.
The building was enlarged for agriculture reasons but the two previous bodies were always kept separate (joined in 1950) each one for a peasant’s family.In 1800 the lower building was enlarge on the southern side to realize a house where the owners lived when they went hunting.
When, coming from Villamena, you reach the asphalt road turn left towards Gualdo Tadino and, shortly after, enter the second road on the right. After a bridge the country road turns right under another bridge; soon after on the left the carriage way starts towards Fosso and Ponte Marchetto which runs along the streams to the right of the walker.
You’ll get, in a short time, to the ravine of Ponte Marchetto: a canyon which is full of suggestion drawn by the stream on the limestone and a small waterfalls.
In the area (m.424) there are two bridges: “Ponte Marchetto” and “Ponte Cavaliero” on the old medieval route called “strada francescana” connecting Assisi to Nocera passing through the Castle of Satriano and the Rocca of Postignano.
In 1226 Francis of Assisi, returning from Cortona because he wanted to go back to his beloved Assisi, being near his end, certainly crossed “Ponte Cavaliero” and “Ponte Marchetto” accompanied by the knights of Satriano . “…The people of Assisi, who sent a solemn embassy to take him, not to leave the glory of possessing the body of the man of God to others…..” (Celano, Vita II)
The knights of Assisi escorted the Saint for fear he died and his body could be stolen by the inhabitants of Perugia so that the squad surely passed through the ravine of the Marchetto.
Francis, after being for a short time the guest of the Bishop of Assisi, where from he had been exiled and where he had comeback only two or three times, was carried to the Porziuncola where he died in the night of 3rd october 1226.
Fosso Sanguinone is one of the numerous ways in which the rain-waters and the sources from Mount Subasio flow down.
The Romans had already dammed the Sanguinone realizing an aquedot, whose remains are still visible, it started from “Costa di Trex” entered Assisi at Porta Perlici and fed the amphitheatre where the “naumachiae” could take place: water and boat games so popular among the Romans.
When friar Elia was going to build the Basilica of St.Francis, he restored the aquedot of Sanguinone and, with a very risky excavation on the rock underpassing the “Rocca Maggiore”, extended it as far as the hill of Paradise where the works were proceding and where it is still visible from the lower cloister.
You can come back the same way.