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Whether it be The Chronicles of Narnia, the magic of Harry Potter or Tolkien's Middle Earth, there are many influences from the world of fantasy on Todi and its surroundings.


The lion, the witch and... Umbria. I know that this is not really the title, let me explain.


C.S. Lewis, author of the saga of the Chronicles of Narnia, studied at length the geography of central Italy, in particular that linked to the Tiber and Nera valleys. It is precisely in this area that the town of Narni is located, or if you prefer the Latin Narnia, which won the writer over thanks to its pronunciation alone.


There are many similarities between the invented world and the real one: from the 14th-century Albornoziana fortress that dominates the valley below, similar to the castle in the story, to the Augustus Bridge. In addition, the Town Hall, not far from the remains of a sacrificial altar on the Via Flaminia, houses the statue of a tame lion.


In short, there are many indications that Umbria is the true setting for the amazing adventures of the Pevensie brothers.


If Lewis had never been directly to our region, the same cannot be said of his friend J.R.R. Tolkien who, while staying here, even wrote the last draft of the third volume of The Lord of the Rings.
It will not be difficult to feel a bit of the peaceful atmosphere of Hobbitville, the most famous Hobbit county in Middle Earth, even in our peaceful Todi countryside. After all, Todi and this part of Umbria are borderlands, the middle lands of Italy, squeezed between the Apennines and the rolling hills. Even the inhabitants of these places are not so different from Bilbo and Frodo Baggins: for the most part, they are peaceful, jovial and attached to their territory, which they love and nurture with care. What's more, if you want to spend a night in an authentic Hobbit house, in Gualdo Tadino you will have the possibility of having this magical experience.


But the similarities don't end there.
Many have noticed a similarity between Pontecuti, on the road to the hill of Todi, and the city of Osgiliath, for centuries the capital of Gondor: both are situated on a river and crossed by a long bridge. Also, in the hamlet of Casemasce is the Forra della Contea, a narrow canyon characterised by narrow gorges and wild nature. Although in a different way, this environment is reminiscent of those crossed by the Fellowship of the Ring.


If you are still not satisfied, there is even an interesting local folklore character: his name is Gnefro and he loves wetlands, preferring those near the Marmore Falls. He is small, scaly and prone to mischief. A kind of autochthonous Gollum.


The Tiber Valley is also a land of dragons and legendary battles against them, and shares with the continent of the Seven Kingdoms the similarity between the witch Matteuccia and Melisandre, the Red Woman from Game of Thrones.
Like Daenerys Targaryen, we too have our three favourite dragons, perhaps less well-known, but no less frightening or ferocious. The dragon of Infernaccio, said to be the devil himself in disguise, or the dragon of San Silvestro tamed by Pope Sylvester, not to forget the Regulus, the smallest and deadliest of them all, capable of killing with a single glance.


The Regulus bears a striking resemblance to the Basilisk locked up in the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts Castle.


In fact, even Harry Potter, the world's most famous wizard, has left his traces in and around Todi: from the witches' story, to the underground city, passing through the narrow streets that recall the busy magical workshops of Diagon Alley.


Perhaps the fantasy world is more real than you might think, but if you're still not convinced, we suggest you come and discover it for yourself.