Down the alleys of San Pellegrino
A visit to Viterbo’s San Pellegrino district is like a trip back in time: you might feel just like the characters in “Nothing Left to Do but Cry”, catapulted from the end of the 20th to the end of the 15th century. Walking along the narrow alleys between San Pellegrino’s houses, you might think the Middle Ages never ended.
Once known as Borgolungo, San Pellegrino developed in the second half of the 11th century and become the charming destination we know today in the 1200s. Its architectural physiognomy, both sacred and civil, was deeply inspired by Cistercian style, “imported” in the area by monks coming from Pontigny, a town in Bourgogne that is home to one of the first four abbeys of the order of Cîteaux.
The private homes here are really unique. They are generally two-story buildings, with a shop on the ground floor and living quarters above, and sometimes have an inner courtyard known as “richiastro” in the local vernacular; but the architectural element that really sets them apart is the profferlo, the typical outside single-ramp staircase that rises along the building façade and grants access to the house.
Let’s dive into the entangled alleys of San Pellegrino, and get lost in a world that is long gone, and yet is still so present here.