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The town of Narni occupies the crest of a hill approximately seven miles south-west of Terni, and fifty miles north of Rome. As was often the case during Turner’s travels, his mode of travelling did not give him much opportunity to stop and explore the centre of the town. The carriage simply followed a predetermined course in an anti-clockwise direction from east to south-west around the walled perimeter. Consequently Turner’s sketches of Narni only relate to views or subjects visible from the road such as the edges of the town and the Bridge of Augustus in the gorge below.
The sketch on the right-hand side of this page depicts the western side of Narni, from a point near the Porta Pietra. The buttresses of the town walls are just visible on the far right-hand side, and the tower which is the tallest point of the skyline is the Torre Campanaria, the campanile of the cathedral. Amidst the hills in the background is the monastery of San Cassiano. In the foreground on the left is part of a marble monument which stands on the side of the road to Rome, the present-day Via Vittorio Emanuele. Along the top of the page Turner has transcribed the Latin inscription from the monument, which commemorates the building of the mountain road from Narni by Pope Pius VI in 1791. The full text is as follows:
ANNO MDCCLXXXXI | HONORI. D. N. PII. VI. PONT. MAX. RESTITVTORIS. FELICIVM. SAECVLORVM | ORDO. ET. POPVLVS. NARNIENSIVM | EX. AVCTORITATE. PHILIPPI. CARANDINI. CARD. PRAEF. SAC. CONSILI. SVMPT. MINVEND | INSTANTIAQVE. FABRICI. SCEBERAS. TESTAFERRATAE PRAEF. I. D. | ITER. IN. CLIVO. NOVVM. A. PROVIDENTISSIMO PRINCIPE. DEMONSTRATVM | VIA VETFRI. RELICTA. QVAE. COMMEANTES. PRAERVPTO. DORSO. ASPERA. DETERREBAT | PER. EXCISAS. RVPES. SVSPEN. SASQVE. ARCVBVS. MOLES. APERIENDVM. CVRAVIT.
On the left-hand side of the page is part of the view of Narni from the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 59 verso (D14769). The sketch depicts the valley to the east of the town with the River Nera snaking into the distance. Today the picturesque beauty of the view has been completely transformed by the industrialisation of the area around the new town of Narni Scalo.
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