ponte d’augusto & narni sotteranea

On our eighth day, we woke up and ate an 8 a.m. breakfast in the hostel. The daily breakfast assortment was made up of espresso or juice, pastries, and fresh fruit. My favorite was the chocolate croissant; I looked forward to it every morning.

After breakfast, we walked towards the bus where we would drive to Ponte d’Augusto, an ancient arch bridge in Narni. Half of it is collapsed which, I learned, happened as a result of natural disasters. We didn’t spend much time here, but I took a couple of photos. We were really close, however, so I couldn’t get any great ones. Here’s a faraway shot I found online for you to get a better sense of its size.

After visiting the bridge, we headed to Covestro… a plastic factory.

Yup, on this trip I toured both a steel and a plastic factory. I certainly never thought I’d witness either in my lifetime, but here we are. I enjoyed Covestro a lot more than the steel factory, mainly because I wasn’t jet-lagged and sweaty the whole time. We sat in a fancy conference room (with A.C.!) for the first hour or so, learning about the factory and watching informational videos. Then, we got on fancy goggles, shoes, and hard-hats and began the tour.

These are mini pieces of plastic that were hung up in frames down the hallway I passed on my way to the bathroom. They look like sprinkles! (Oh, and the bathroom was really nice, in case you were wondering or if you ever, for whatever reason, visit Covestro.)

After eating lunch in the employee’s cafeteria and getting a loaded goodie bag from them, we headed back to the town. We got off the bus and decided to have some gelato at the gelateria in the main piazza.

I thought it was so funny that they wrote “???” instead of “mistero” (mystery). 
Maia and I shared an affogato (espresso poured over gelato), and it was insanely delicious. Once I got home, I tried to make one with coffee and ice cream, but, unsurprisingly,  it didn’t even come close to this 😦 
A gelato, because I couldn’t survive solely on the affogato — lol. This is pistacchio and melone. I love the color combo. 

After gelato, we went to another concert. This was a student piano player we watched in one of the churches. The one thing I will forever remember about this concert was the bat that flew around throughout the entirety of it. We saw lots of bats, especially on the hostel’s balcony, but this one was inside the church and it flew around a lot. I was pretty nervous watching it swoop constantly, and I kept thinking of this scene from The Office.

Watching the student performer… I wish I knew his name so I could link you to his music! 

We had dinner at 7:30 and then began walking to our final destination of the day: Narni Sotterranea. This had to have been the coolest tour ever, and I’ll explain more in the captions below. Before coming here, I had no idea it existed, and it just makes me wonder how many other hidden gems there are all around the world.

Before our tour began, we watched the sunset and this unbelievable view. 
I have no words! I remember everything about this moment: the light breeze, the sound of my friends laughing, and the smell of crisp summer air. It was perfect. 
Posing with my lovely friends before taking the tour. 

In the 1970s, a group of young men discovered this underground, twelfth-century church filled with frescoes on the wall. After uncovering the church, they found additional rooms that were all connected. Narni Sotteranea is the museum that it was turned into, and it is such a well-done and fascinating tour.

This is the church that the men first discovered. Behind this, there was a large TV screen that we watched a video on. The video was made up of visuals highlighting how they believe the church had been altered over the centuries. That was the moment my eyes opened and I became super invested in the tour.
Here’s another shot of the church and the frescoes. 
They built glass over the original floor and added lights so you can see underneath. 

I didn’t take any photos, but we went into a torture chamber that was just next door where they would, well… torture people who were convicted of witchcraft, heresy, bigamy, etc.

The next few photos are from my favorite part of the tour. After the torture room, we were led into a small cell. A man named Lombardini was imprisoned here, and during the time he spent there, he drew symbols and characters on all the walls. This article states that he was imprisoned because of his interest in “Masonic rituals” and he was “convicted as [a] heretic.” I recommend checking out that article I linked to if you’re curious to read more about it since I can’t explain every detail myself.

Up-close of the incredible drawings. 
Do you see the yellow-colored drawings? To make those, Lombardini used a mix of wall dust and urine. So crazy, right?!
The “SOLE” drawing is my favorite. 

After seeing the cell, we walked upstairs and were surprised to be inside the San Domenico church which is where the tour ended. We were just there the day before for the gala concert, so it was crazy to know that there was so much history right underneath us we didn’t even know existed until that moment. Here’s a sixth-century mosaic they found in the church. There’s glass over it, so you can see right into it as you walk by:

Here’s the link to Narni Sotterranea’s website. If you ever find yourself in there — or even in Umbria — I highly suggest visiting this place and taking a tour. I genuinely had no idea this existed until we walked into the underground church, so it was a thrilling experience for me. Surprisingly, there isn’t as much info online as I would think. But regardless, it was one of the coolest things ever, and it is well worth your time.

The next day was pretty uneventful, and I don’t have too many photos to share anyway. To sum it up, we went to three different concerts and ate gelato. By the final concert, we were all exhausted and concert-ed out. We all sat in the back row of a huge church, making little puppets from the pamphlets we got and giggling at the worst times. So while we were all so tired and bored, we made the best of it. I have so many great memories from that night.

But anyway…
tomorrow we go to ROME!

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