The few things I know about
Tordandrea di Assisi
Tordandrea is not the centre of the Universe or even the centre of Umbria. A fork in the road to Assisi surrounded by fairly nondescript houses and flat green fields. But interesting nonetheless.
Here are the few things I know about the Tordandrea di Assisi in Umbria:
1. Size matters
Tordandrea is small. So small that cars going through on their way to Assisi or Bastia Umbra often get a speeding ticket for failure to respect the city limits. There are no roundabout bumps or traffic lights to stop them.
As anything in Italy, Tordandrea was not built yesterday. The settlement, which now counts almost 900 souls, has been known since Roman times, but it did not receive a proper name until the 14th century.
3. Not a saint but a lord
The Andrea in the name is not the Apostle Saint Andrew. The Andrea of the Assisi plain was a medieval lord who built a castle with a significant tower called “Torre d’Andrea” or Tordandrea for short. The tower is still standing as the main sight of the town.
4. Safety in confined spaces
In the first half of the 1400s it was decided to join the external walls of all houses in Tordandrea for defense purposes. There was only one gate leading in to the castle, and to enter that you had to cross a moat with a drawbridge. Time has erased all signs of moat and drawbridge, but you can still experience the medieval feeling of safety in confined spaces, when you walk through the gate in the tower and enter the old narrow streets behind.
5. A meteoroid weighing almost 2 kilo
On May 24 1886 at 7 o’clock in the morning a meteoroid ripped through the sky over Tordandrea di Assisi. Three farmers who witnessed the incident went on to find a 60 cm wide and 25 cm deep crater containing a single stone weighing 1795 gram. Scientists divided the meteorite into smaller pieces which can be studied at museums in Bologna, Milan, Parma, Torino, the Vatican Museum and the British Museum in London. We did not notice any special stones during our visit to Tordandrea, but that is probably due to ignorance.
There’s a butcher, a grocery store, a news agent, and a few other shops in Tordandrea along with three very old churches. More churches have been discovered in ancient documents, but their reality has been lost in time.
7. War memorial
For some reason the people in Tordandrea in 1997 decided to move the mandatory war memorial from the main square with the tower and the San Bernardino church to a tiny garden across the street. Instead the main square is now used as a parking lot.
8. Things to eat
If you stop in Tordandrea di Assisi long enough to get hungry in a sweet kind of way make sure to taste the Rocciata which is a kind of strudel with lots of dried fruit. Or the Baci di Assisi almond cakes. For more substantial foods look out for dishes using the particularly tasty onions cultivated in nearby Cannara.
Other posts about the area around Tordandrea di Assisi
Umbria – The Green Heart of Italy
Facts about Santa Maria degli Angeli Assisi Italy
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I seem to remember driving past this little town a few years ago, going from Cortona to Assisi. Didn’t stop, though. Should have.
It is the kind of place you drive through without registering the name.
I really appreciate that every post is accompanied by the map. Although I drove through Italy couple of times I’m not familiar with all little towns you described. And they are so beautiful! Each of them is worthy to pay a short visit. Assisi is always on my list so this looks optimistic for Tordandrea!
I like maps too. They keep my travel dreams firmly grounded.
I wanted to echo what Agata said in thanking you for always including a map. Ironically, I’ve been a map “addict” since I was a kid since Google Maps (satellite view) came on board I use it all of the time! I really liked the story about the meteorite from 125 years ago. My big attraction fo Tordandrea would be the small town atmosphere which are always my favorite. Good post, Mette! :)
I’m glad I’m not the only map addict around, though I fear it does hint at a certain age. People who have grown up with a gps don’t seem to need an atlas.
Wonderful place. Thanks for introducing Tordandrea to us.
No matter how small the city is, there’s something special about it, and Tordandrea seems like a quaint and beautiful city with some interesting history. Also really interesting that a meteoroid landed there in the 1880s. Thanks for introducing us to this bit of Italy!
I like the meteoroid idea too. Just a pity the stone was divided for research purposes.
What a neat article! I love the list feature. This little town sure proves that it is worth doing one’s homework prior to embarking on travel. To think I drove right through the town and had no idea of the treasure it held.
And if we started digging up stories about every place we came across, we wouldn’t get anywhere. So perhaps it was a good thing you drove on, Adri:)