The San Cassiano Abbey in Narni and the Nera River’s journey
The San Cassiano Abbey in Narni (Umbria) is a beautiful 10th-century building near the ravine of the Nera River, not far from the famous Bridge of Augustus, at the foot of Mount Santa Croce.
In the 19th century, following the Umbrian river’s flow, one writer stumbled upon the Benedictine monastery:
“West there is a terrible, deep gorge that is closed off for a long segment by rugged mountains on both sides, covered in forests, and made darker, gloomier and scarier by the little sunlight that filters through.”
“In this solitary, alpine place that melancholy, contemplative souls like so much, the Benedictine monks founded a church and a monastery dedicated to Saint Cassian, surrounded by crenellated walls.”
“The building is on the first floor of Mount Santa Croce, where it is closest to the bridge […]. In this location, and topped off by the church’s old bell tower – which sublimely soars towards the skies, above the roofs and trees around it – it makes the scene even more varied, sublime, and pleasant; what further increases the beauty and splendor of the view is the river, which breaks between the pillars and ruins of the bridge and on the rocks in its bed, bouncing back almost in disdain, foaming and groaning, before it dilates, circulates, gurgle, bubbles, and finally escapes with great racket and speed, pushed away by the surviving waves…” (translated from G. Eroli, “Miscellanea storica narnese”, Narni 1862).
Here are the crenellated walls and the “old” and “sublime” bell tower in San Cassiano.