With an easy trek we go to the discovery of the Geographic Center of Italy
The Italian peninsula, also known as the “boot” due to its geographic conformation, has its center. By calculation, it is located just outside Narni, in the province of Terni, in Umbria, exactly in the locality of Montello, near the Cardona Bridge, and can be reached with easy trekking in nature.
Although several locations are competing for the exact point where geographically the Center of Italy is, by convention, the following coordinates have been established, after careful studies by the Military Geographical Institute of Florence:
- Latitude 42° 30’ 11″ N
- Longitude 12° 34′ 24″ E
This is the point where equal distance converges between the four cardinal points in Italy (North-South and East-West). Everything is indicated by a spiral stone with a steel element at the top that allows those who arrive this far to be able to touch the “Geographic Center of Italy” and which can be reached after an easy walk. We are a few meters from another Roman monument: the Cardona Bridge.
Our trek begins at the end of the Strada dei Pini, in Narni. Leave the car in the parking lot, go past the Ponte Cardona sign and proceed along the dirt road that plunges into the vegetation. Our path winds through large oaks and holm oaks and along the path we are accompanied, occasionally by small statues of elves living in the woods. These are statues that appear here and there on the trees. Step by step we also notice the presence, on the ground, of some side wells. These are the water overflow vents of an ancient aqueduct of Roman origin: the Formina aqueduct. It was built over twenty centuries ago. We continue to walk on the path up to a signposted viewpoint. We stop for a few seconds and then, not far away, there is the stone block from which a steel tip protrudes. We have arrived at the geographical center of Italy.
The Cardona bridge
After taking the usual photographs to document our landing in the exact point of Italy, we can now admire the Cardona Bridge, an artifact of Roman origin made using travertine blocks. It is a single arched bridge from the Augustan age. The armilla, the vault, the piers, and part of the shoulders remain from the original structure. To admire it in all its grandeur, however, it is necessary to go down to the bed of the ditch.
The Formina Aqueduct
Along the way, we noticed several water overflow vents, those of the Acquedotto della Formina. This too is a work that dates back to the Roman period, partly built in masonry and partly carved into the rock. The route follows a path that begins in Sant’Urbano, where the tunnel called “Capo dell’Acqua” is located and arrives in Narni, covering about thirteen kilometers. The conduit had 149 side vents, 55 wells, and an average slope of five per thousand. Once in Narni, the water was collected in a tank from which the pipes for distribution departed. Along the way, there are seven springs and four bridges, two of which are still well preserved (Cardona bridge and Ponte Vecchio). The others are instead the Pennina bridge and the Nuovo bridge. To reach its destination, the water passed the hills of San Biagio, San Silvestro, and Mount Ippolito through three tunnels.
How do I get to Narni?
Narni can be reached from the A1 motorway, Orte exit, then follow the E45 towards Terni, up to the destination. Narni is located on the Rome-Ancona railway line, the reference station is Narni-Amelia. The nearest airports are those of Perugia and Rome.