We have great fun asking kids, “Did I ever tell you about the day we went to Narnia?” Wide-eyed astonishment is quickly followed by, “You can’t fool me that easily!” But it’s true! We lunched in the little Umbrian town of Narni, whose cobblestoned streets and ancient arched gateways seem to just call out, “Come explore me!”
Narni dates clear back to 600 BC, when it was known as Nequinum. Until that is, the Romans conquered it and renamed it Narnia! Which for some reason became shortened to Narni through the years.
But the beautiful town was not a well-known place in Roman days. Its one great fame was the Ponte d’Augusto, one of the largest Roman bridges ever built. Spanning the River Nera, it crossed the old Roman road, Via Flaminia. And one arch of that ancient bridge, 30 meters high, still remains standing today.
But through the imaginary works of C.S. Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia, the town came to fame in modern times.
Lewis named his fictional Narnia after the Umbrian town, now called Narni. Saying that he found the name while perusing an atlas, when still a child. But now come along, and see this special place, which is like entering the doorway to another world…
The Land of Narnia!
A New Kingdom
Stroll the streets, see the sights…
And stop by for tea with Mr. Tumnus…
Then clear the streets! Make room for the king!
And we’re off to Cair Paravel…
For the Royal Coronations!
Our visit is over, but we’ll back… because once king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia!
And because there is always a door back into Narnia!
But may we never, I pray, find Castle Cair Paravel in ruins!
And when you return, be sure to visit Subterranean Narni!
Narni is a beautiful city and full of mystery, as seen in its ancient and mysterious underground city! The discovery of which drew international attention in the 1970’s.
Underground Narni is a fascinating journey back in time. A labyrinth of tunnels, aqueducts, cisterns and vaults, it starts under the Monastery of Saint Domenico. These, along with a courtroom, torture chambers, and cells from the Inquisition remain intact. Along with the graffiti on the prison walls which still speak of the suffering endured there. We don’t really enjoy visiting torture chambers. But visiting such places truly does bring history alive!
And you can visit Subterranean Narni, too, without even leaving your house!
Just click here for a virtual peek! And you’ll find yourself transported back to Medieval days! (Once on the Subterranean Narni webpage, scroll to bottom to select “English”.) Or go the Chronicles of Narnia webpage to learn more about Aslan’s Narnia!
But of course the best way to see Narnia is to come and visit it for yourself! It really is like another world!
We hope to go back to Narni someday. But even if we don’t make it, we do know that we’ll one day make it to the real Narnia. Aslan’s Land of Narnia, you know. For “once a king or queen…”
How about you? Have you ever been to Italy’s Narni or to Aslan’s Narnia? Would you like to go?
Resource: Narni Old Town.
[All Images are our own.]