Well perhaps calling the E45/SS3BIS the “Road to Hell”, after Chris Rea’s famous song, is a little strong. After all it only goes between Cesena and Orte so not exactly the demonic destinations implied by the song.
However, anyone who has travelled to Perugia or Bologna airports will tell you it’s a rough, narrow motorway with frequent diversions and contraflows. Not really an endearing run.
Once you take your eyes off the traffic bearing down on you or the unpredictable vagaries of motorway driving, you will see some gorgeous scenery. The hills that flank the E45 are dappled with olive groves and woodland copses. There are plenty of vineyards, abandoned farms and ancient churches that crown the hills and lots of half-hidden surprises amongst the trees.
This painting uses Benozzo Gozzoli for inspiration, although he never worked directly in the Upper Tiber Valley, his work can be found further south in Montefalco. While Gozzoli’s most famous work , “The procession of the Magi” is housed in the Medici Palazzo, Florence.
I liked the idea of putting some of his work into the painting. The trees and clouds he painted for the Medici family in the procession are so iconic that it would be a shame to leave them out of the journey.
Painting the motorway
This portion of the E45 (others are planned) is just after the Pierantonio junction. If you’re heading south, on the right is one of Italy’s many Castello di Savoia, with the hills to the left featuring a church, some farms, hill top ruins and vigilant watch towers.
So the next time you find yourself driving down the motorway, risk a quick glance to the horizon. You’ll sometimes surprise yourself with the unexpected views.