The harbor of Stifone, near Narni, and the chronicles by C.S. Lewis

antico porto di stifone - narni 02

Looking at the harbor of Stifone, a part of the municipality of Narni, in the province of Terni, our imagination is tempted to go back to the words of Clive Staples Lewis:

[S]uddenly the sledge stuck so fast that it wouldn’t go on at all. When that happened there was a moment’s silence. And in that silence Edmund could at last listen to the other noise properly. A strange, sweet, rustling, chattering noise — and yet not so strange, for he’d heard it before — if only he could remember where! Then all at once he did remember. It was the noise of running water. All round them though out of sight, there were streams, chattering, murmuring, bubbling, splashing and even (in the distance) roaring.

But of course this didn’t prevent Edmund from seeing. Only five minutes later he noticed a dozen crocuses growing round the foot of an old tree — gold and purple and white. Then came a sound even more delicious than the sound of the water. Close beside the path they were following a bird suddenly chirped from the branch of a tree. It was answered by the chuckle of another bird a little further off. And then, as if that had been a signal, there was chattering and chirruping in every direction, and then a moment of full song, and within five minutes the whole wood was ringing with birds’ music, and wherever Edmund’s eyes turned he saw birds alighting on branches, or sailing overhead or chasing one another or having their little quarrels or tidying up their feathers with their beaks. (C.S. Lewis, “The Chronicles of Narnia”, vol. 2: “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, Geoffrey Bles, London 1950).

Edmund is one of the main characters in C. S. Lewis’s seven-book saga we quoted, “The Chronicles of Narnia”. Although he never visited Narni in person, the British author was inspired by the Umbria village. He had probably studied works by Livy and Pliny the Elder who mention it, and even by Strabo and Tacitus, who wrote about the river Nera – the ancient harbor of Stifone on its left bank.

Next to the harbor, there was a complex where Romans used to build boats.

Today, we are showcasing what is left of it – hoping someday an adequate archaeological study of the area will be carried out, leading to worthy initiatives that will bring the location back to its best.

Stifone harbor, Narni (Terni)

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May 17, 2019