The Italian Almanac

Narnia's location

Italian News - January 6

Narni, some 50 miles north of Rome, was until recently just one of many pretty mediaeval hill-towns dotted around Umbria. But the recent release of The Chronicles of Narnia, the Disney film based on a 1950 children's book by CS Lewis, has given the town and its picturesque cobbled streets fresh appeal. Despite having little in common with Narnia, a land inhabited by dwarfs, talking animals and a witch, Narni is making the most of a possible link with the magical land described in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

The mayor's office is busy working out 'Narnia' guided tours, a Narnia carnival is planned for the spring and shop windows in the town are full of displays inspired by the new film. Even the town's school children are fully clued up, having read and studied the book in class. "We're hoping our link with CS Lewis's world can be the start of something new and positive for Narni," said Giuseppe Fortunati, a local author who has written a book exploring the connections between the real and imaginary places.

"The film has got a lot of people interested in the town and fans are starting to visit, in order to see the place that Narnia is based on," he added. Narni's administrators appear convinced that their town, which dates back to at least 299 BC and which now has a population of 20,000, was the inspiration for Lewis's creation. Rumour has it that Lewis, a widely read Oxford professor, named his fictitious kingdom after the ancient Roman town he read about while studying Latin authors. Some reports even say an atlas, in which Narni had been circled, was found in his rooms after his death.