The village of Acquapalombo
Acquapalombo is a tiny village in the Terni area, perched on the crest of a hill in the Valle del Serra, an area of intense green crossed by the Serra stream and a natural hinge between Terni and Spoleto. A legend tells that a dove while flying saw a source of water in a stretch of the path that led from Rocca San Zenone to Spoleto and quenched his thirst. The place was called Acquapalombo, a name that also assumed the settlement that formed near it. That source has been used since the Middle Ages, a period to which the origin of Acquapalombo dates back, which coincides with the construction of the watchtower overlooking the town. Located over 500 meters high, the tower was one of the two cornerstones of the Valserra defense system, the other was represented by the Rocca di Battiferro on the opposite side. The name of this castle is documented for the first time in 1332 through the register of taxes that the centers of Terre Arnolfe paid to the Apostolic Chamber, including the "focatico" - in that year 61 hearths were registered in Acquapalombo. In the following centuries, the castle was mainly under the jurisdiction of Spoleto and the object of the expansionist aims of Terni. Probably at the end of the 16th century, Acquapalombo together with Appecano and Lavarino were annexed to the Municipality of Terni as the Terni General Council relieved these castles from the taxes.
During the 16th century, the Sala family, who moved there from Spoleto, gave a new aspect to the village. The two most important buildings commissioned by the Spoleto family were the noble palace and the church of San Francesco, which was built, together with the annexed hermitage, near the Serra stream and therefore outside the town. In this period, the Romanesque church of San Lorenzo was also modified and enlarged and subsequently frescoed. This phase of development, which led to a considerable increase in the population, with consequent expansion of the town, ended when the Sala left the place at the end of the 1600s, selling their properties to the Brancaleoni family. This passage marks the beginning of a lasting decline, symbolized by the gradual deterioration that the noble palace underwent with the new lords, which over time was completely destroyed. However, the polychrome arch that framed the portal of the noble building remains on the square of the church of San Lorenzo.
Acquapalombo is part, together with the other villages of Valserra, of a context of extraordinary environmental and landscape value, whose beauty can be discovered and appreciated by walking or mountain biking along the paths that wind through the whole area, in total contact with the nature.