The poet and geologist-naturalist Johann Wolfgang Goethe in “Italian Journey: 1786-1788” describes in detail the places he visits while proceeding towards Rome along the Via Flaminia, through the Umbria Region. Goethe chose to reach his “dream destination” by following an unusual path for that time, “a sort of underground route” with respect to the one which most of the foreign travellers followed, crossing the Tuscany along the Via Cassia.The landscape and geological units of the Apennines caught Goethe’s eye during his journey. He often drew pictures of the natural scenery of the Apennine chain that attracted his attention, which on 22nd October 1786 he defined as “a wonderful piece of the creation” or “an interesting part of the world” (two different translations of Goethe’s original work). The poet’s imagination was inspired by both the landscape of the steep mountainsides that break up the gentle morphology of the valleys, and the historical towns he visited. He carefully observed the “lava stone” used to build the urban centre of Otricoli, the southernmost village in Umbria, next to the Tiber River. He noted outcrops of volcanic rock over the Bridge on the Tiber River (corresponding to the Ponte Felice near Borghetto) and he was able to deduce the relationships between the building material used at Otricoli and these rocks.He was not able to observe the volcanic tuff outcropping near Otricoli located on the left side of the Tiber, probably because of a thick sedimentary cover and lush vegetation that also concealed the archaeological ruins of the Roman town of Ocriculum. This Roman village was founded in the 1st century B.C. and soon became a prosperous commercial centre. It was placed in a flattened area declining towards a wide meander of the Tiber River between two rocky tuff plateaux, which offered it a natural defence. The important economic role of Ocriculum was only realised at the end of the 18th century, when some papal archaeological works, supervised by the architect G. Pannini during the Pio VI papacy, uncovered some impressive Roman remains which at that time were defined as “the richest of this century”.

A glance at the geomorphological heritage of Otricoli (Umbria, Central Italy) through Goethe’s eyes / Bertacchini, Milena. - In: GEOHERITAGE. - ISSN 1867-2477. - STAMPA. - -:(2009), pp. ---. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Colloque international de Géomorphologie tenutosi a Paris nel 9-12 june 2009.

A glance at the geomorphological heritage of Otricoli (Umbria, Central Italy) through Goethe’s eyes

BERTACCHINI, Milena
2009

Abstract

The poet and geologist-naturalist Johann Wolfgang Goethe in “Italian Journey: 1786-1788” describes in detail the places he visits while proceeding towards Rome along the Via Flaminia, through the Umbria Region. Goethe chose to reach his “dream destination” by following an unusual path for that time, “a sort of underground route” with respect to the one which most of the foreign travellers followed, crossing the Tuscany along the Via Cassia.The landscape and geological units of the Apennines caught Goethe’s eye during his journey. He often drew pictures of the natural scenery of the Apennine chain that attracted his attention, which on 22nd October 1786 he defined as “a wonderful piece of the creation” or “an interesting part of the world” (two different translations of Goethe’s original work). The poet’s imagination was inspired by both the landscape of the steep mountainsides that break up the gentle morphology of the valleys, and the historical towns he visited. He carefully observed the “lava stone” used to build the urban centre of Otricoli, the southernmost village in Umbria, next to the Tiber River. He noted outcrops of volcanic rock over the Bridge on the Tiber River (corresponding to the Ponte Felice near Borghetto) and he was able to deduce the relationships between the building material used at Otricoli and these rocks.He was not able to observe the volcanic tuff outcropping near Otricoli located on the left side of the Tiber, probably because of a thick sedimentary cover and lush vegetation that also concealed the archaeological ruins of the Roman town of Ocriculum. This Roman village was founded in the 1st century B.C. and soon became a prosperous commercial centre. It was placed in a flattened area declining towards a wide meander of the Tiber River between two rocky tuff plateaux, which offered it a natural defence. The important economic role of Ocriculum was only realised at the end of the 18th century, when some papal archaeological works, supervised by the architect G. Pannini during the Pio VI papacy, uncovered some impressive Roman remains which at that time were defined as “the richest of this century”.
Colloque international de Géomorphologie
Paris
9-12 june 2009
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Bertacchini, Milena
A glance at the geomorphological heritage of Otricoli (Umbria, Central Italy) through Goethe’s eyes / Bertacchini, Milena. - In: GEOHERITAGE. - ISSN 1867-2477. - STAMPA. - -:(2009), pp. ---. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Colloque international de Géomorphologie tenutosi a Paris nel 9-12 june 2009.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11380/625017
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