After the Ancient Umbrii who according to many historians founded Spello, came the Romans who called the colony Julia Hispellum (circa 41 BC) and gave impetus to the town’s most important historical period. After the fall of the Roman Empire the town was destroyed by the Ostrogoths led by Totila and became part of the Longobard Duchy of Spoleto. After the turbulent years of the Early Middle Ages, it became an independent commune in the 12th century.
Towards the end of the 14th century Spello was under the rule of the Baglioni family from Perugia who held it until 1583. During this time the town lived an intense period of artistic activity and was enriched with Renaissance masterpieces by Pintoricchio, Perugino and Alunno. Spello then came under the dominion of the Papal States, except for the brief Napoleonic period, until 1860.
Spello combines its medieval aspect of winding streets and ancient stone houses with numerous Roman remains: such as the town walls used as the base for the medieval walls; the remains of a theatre, an amphitheatre, public baths; and the so-called Arco Augusto, ancient town entry gate. The historical town centre is still encircled by walls erected in 1360 taking in part of the Roman walls and three splendid gates: Porta Consolare (1st century BC), Porta Urbica and Porta Venere from the Augustan era, constructed with a triumphant arch, and on either side the 12-sided towers of Properzio. Some of the most remarkable religious buildings are the church of Santa Maria Maggiore (12th – 13th century), with great art works inside: to the left of the nave is the splendid Cappella Baglioni frescoed by Pintoricchio, as well as paintings by Perugino there is an ancient majolica flooring from Deruta (1516). Pintoricchio also executed the large panel of the Madonna e Santi (1508) in the 13th-century church of Sant’Andrea, which also contains the Crocifisso by the school of Giotto, and the body of Blessed Andrea Caccioli, companion of Saint Francis.