Italy, Umbria, Perugia district, Spoleto, Rocca Albornoz and Ponte delle Torri

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Presided over by a formidable medieval fortress and backed by the broad-shouldered Apennines, their summits iced with snow in winter, hillside Spoleto is visually stunning. Ancient arches and a virtually intact amphitheatre tell of its past as a strategic Roman colony, while a series of Romanesque churches testifies to a golden age in the early Middle Ages. In 570 the Lombards made it capital of their duchy and over the next three centuries it flourished, becoming for a brief period one of the most important towns in Italy.

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