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An eagle drops stones on hunter’s head

aquila reale

Who knows if he will tell his grandchildren of his deeds one day. And, above all, who knows how they will react on hearing their grandfather tell the story of how, when trying out his rifle, he “shot down” a Golden Eagle. A golden eagle? And when will his grandchildren ever get the chance to see a golden eagle fly and swoop in the skies? It was the beginning of September when one of the rarest examples of golden eagle was killed on Mount Coscerno, in the Nera valley. Continua a leggere An eagle drops stones on hunter’s head


Central Italy, camping outside for fear of an earthquake

Senza-nomeThank heaven at least it was summer! Camping out wasn’t really so bad. During the second half of July 1960 the people of Terni had to leave their homes and stay in tents or some kind of makeshift huts, the luckier ones staying in caravans. What forced them out of heir homes was their fear of earthquakes!
It was the night of the 18th July. Notwithstanding the holiday period, the town was still crowded seeing as people were waiting for the “steel works” to close down. The Rome olympics were due to start in just a few days.
A hot clammy night, as summer nights very often are in Terni, in Central Italy..
The earthquake was felt by everyone: it was just after 3 a.m. The people of Terni, throughout the centuries, had often had to deal with the earth moving, they were, after all, used to feeling the ground move under their feet!  About half an hour later the “second shock” . Coming at around 3.37, it lasted for a full four seconds! At this point panic set in. Away from the houses! Out into the open air! The Passeggiata public gardens, the squares, the fields on the outskirts of town.. Who with just a sheet or bedspread thrown on in a hurry. Most people with untied shoes on their feet. Some in pyjamas; most in vest and pants. No time to be picky! Fear is fear! Round about 5 a.m. came the third shock. Finally, another three during the morning, while the first damage was noted.
Not much: the official bulletin mentioned the collapse of a few chimneys and a travertine cross that stood in front of St. Peter’s Church, in Corso Vecchio; some damage was done to the Banca d’Italia buildings and the Municipal building but, it was underlined they still carried the damage they suffered during the bombings of fifteen years before. There was also a person injured: a sixty-year-old pensioner jumped from his kitchen window in via Eugenio Chiesa; he probably thought it would be of no consequences seeing as he was on the first floor but, on the contrary, he broke both his legs!
A week later a total of fifty shocks had been counted, all of them strong enough to be felt by the population.
Despite the worries, and the fears from all sectors of “authorities”, the town stayed quite calm: public services carried on as usual, while a slight change was registered, -who knows why- in the sale of refrigerators! On the other hand, there were still those who, despite everything, went to the cinema! Very few however, on average about thirty tickets a night were sold.
Then, suddenly, the earth returned to normal. On the 30th July, the danger was officially “almost” over. On 1st August newspapers announced that there had been no more new shocks for 48 hours. But then the 1st of August had arrived so everyone was off to the sea!

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Terni steelworks invents a war-machine

The Eritrean war

On 17 September 1887,from the military port of Naples, a war-machine showing the immense innovative and productive capacities of the Terni steelworks, was shipped to Massaua,where Italy was waging war in its attempt to conquer Eritrea. The reporter, who was writing about the event, was enthusiastic: Continua a leggere Terni steelworks invents a war-machine

Armstrong taken urgently to Spoleto Hospital

Armstrong“It was just a heavy cold” he said, with his raucous voice and broad 62 teeth smile, to the journalists who were waiting for him at the airport in New York. “I’ll see you next week” he added, “at the Lewisohn Stadium, at the concert I’m giving to celebrate my 59th birthday”. Continua a leggere Armstrong taken urgently to Spoleto Hospital

1219, St. Valentine’s church


St. Valentine

St. Valentine's Church in 1960
St. Valentine’s Basilica in 1960

October 5th 1219
The Basilica of St. Valentine returned into the possession of the Diocese of Terni which had been newly established the year before. Until then the parish of St. Valentine had belonged to Narni together with the nearby castle of Perticara. Pope Onofrio lll gave in to the demands of the new Bishop of Terni, Raniero, who wanted to reclaim the Basilica and all its pertinences.
From Rieti, where he was staying at the time, the Pope sentenced that ” what has long been held in the hands of the Bishops of Narni and Spoleto” that is to say ” the parish of St. Valentine with its chapels” should be returned to the church in Terni. It was the Pope himself who ratified the agreement signed in Terni on 5th October 1219.  In this Onofrio lll ordered the Prior of the Basilica to hand over to Bishop Raniero the keys of the church and all the relative property deeds, its chapels and castles. Further to its religious and symbolical significance, the act brought consistent economical advantages to the Diocese of Terni while damaging that of Narni.

Umbria sud


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Antonia and Sara, the only inhabitants of Usigni


Antonia, 60 years old, and her daughter Sara (28) are the only inhabitants of Usigni, a tiny village on the Valnerina mountains. In 1971, 34 people were resident there, in 2001 only 21 were left.
They run a cattle farm. That is their livelihood. Usigni is an ancient village. “Cardinal Poli was born here, he who had Saint Rita of Cascia declared a saint – explains Sara proudly – he was important during the time of Pope UrbanVlll. Here we also have a church by Bernini, the architect who designed St.Peter’s Church in Rome”. It is the church dedicated to San Salvatore. By Cardinal Poli’s special request.
Almost uninhabited in winter, when the Valnerina mountains are covered in snow, Usigni comes back to life in summer: the local people, who emigrated in search of work, return for the holidays, the old houses have all been renovated, especially those damaged by the earthquake at the end of the last century, and remodernised while not forsaking the beauty deriving from their history.


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Pope John Paul ll frees a girl from the devil

The mystery

Papa Wojtyla

The girl, just turned twenty, lived in a small village not far from Terni. She was beautiful, full of life. One day, out of the blue, she became unrecognizable.  Subject to increasingly violent raptus, she flew into a raging fury. Her neighbours, living closeby in the village could hear her screaming blasphemy so horrendous as to make even the hair of an army of troopers stand on end! She went on for hours and hours. And, after the cursing she began to growl like a wild beast. An unbelievable transformation! The poor parish priest went around the vicarage shaking his head. “It’s the devil- he said to the parishers-  she’s possessed by the devil who always incarnates in those most beautiful”. He had to be driven out, but how? The Bishop of Spoleto, to whose Diocese the village belonged, decided to take her to Pope Wojtyla.
This incident which took place at the beginning of the 80s of the last century, is told in in the book “Mes six Papes”, the diary of the French Cardinal Jacques Martin, who was an intimate collaborator of six popes among whom was Pope John Paul ll: even the Pope was disturbed: ” It’s the first time I have seen anything like it. A real biblical scene”! he said. Almost a year later, Cardinal Martin goes on to say, the young woman asks the Pope for an audience. She had married and was completely free fom the diabolical possession after the meeting with the Pope.


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The Pope’s coming, everyone to the station


La stazione di Terni affollata per il passaggio di Papa Giovanni XXIII
Terni, 1962 – The enthusiastic crowds in the train station for the Pope John XXIII

“The Pope’s coming”, and everyone in Terni ran to the train station. More than half a century has passed since that morning on the 4th of October 1962 when John XXIII looked out through the window. The train stopped just for a second, just the time needed to bless the enthusiastic crowds. The Pope was on a pilgrimage to Loreto and afterwards to Assisi. It was the first trip for a Pope since the Kingdom of Italy was founded and the Papal States had been abolished. Since then Popes had never set foot outside the Vatican.
Therefore John XXIII’s decision had caused quite a stir: a train journey on a train made specially available by the president of the Republic. “I’m going to Loreto and Assisi – he said- to place the Council under the protection of the Madonna and St. Francis”.
It was a historical moment. One of the first great media events, with hundreds of reporters following it.The Pope travelled almost entirely standing up, next to the window, so he could bless the crowds that were waiting for him at every station, at every level crossing.The train went through Orte, to Terni where it stopped for a very short time, then Foligno, Jesi and Ancona. In the afternoon, after the visit to the Madonna of Loreto, off again to Assisi where the Pope arrived after nightfall.
He returned to the Vatican after midnight, light-hearted despite his tiredness.John XXIII was 81 years old and had already been affected with the disease which would cause his death a year later.


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Marco Claudio, a “Ternano” Emperor of Rome

The Roman Empire

On the 25th of September 275 AD a Ternano became Emperor of Rome. This was Marco Claudio Tacito who was that day acclaimed successor to Aureliano, who had been assassinated. He was 75 years old. Marco Claudio, who after having held important public offices ( he had even been Consul) had by then retired to his house in Interamna ( The name given to Terni then). After the death of Aureliano he was recalled and crowned ” in goodness, in clemency, in justice,in equity, in prudence, in liberality, and in the other Prince’s virtues he exceeded many of his best predecessors”, states Francesco Angeloni in his Historia of Terni.

marco claudio
Marco Claudio Emperor

Despite his age he won the wars against the Persians, begun by Aureliano. It was to be his final satisfaction. He died in 276 about a year after his coronation as Emperor, perhaps due to fevers caught while facing the return journey from Persia or maybe he was killed by his soldiers



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Mussolini visits the military establishments of Terni

Mussolini among the workers

visita alle industrie belliche ternane
Mussolini among the workers of Terni

1940, Oct. 30 – Benito Mussolini went to Terni to visit the military establishment. Italy had entered the war a few months before. “A meticulous visit to the pavilions of establishments and the giant machines that forge the tools of military power of the Italian nation”, and “to reaffirm the interest for the powerful fascist industry technical equipment and at the same time for the extensive welfare and social structure that accompanies and supports the life of forty thousand workers”. Who, all 40,000 – according to journalistic accounts – welcomed the “Duce” with “fiery excitement” since he arrived at the train station with a “Littorina”, at 10 a.m.
At the steelworks entrance gate the President of “Terni”, Arturo Bocciardo, was waiting for him to accompany him on the visit. Mussolini witnessed a trial of strength: a steel plate was hit with a cannonball “but it is not damaged at all”. Then the “Duce” visited the Italian army Fabbrica D’Armi, the Galleto hydroelectric power plant and the Marmore falls, the highest waterfall in Europe.

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