TERNI was the unlikely birthplace of one of the world’s most famous saints, St Valentine, bishop of the town until his martyrdom in 273 and now entombed in his personal basilica at San Valentino, a village 2km to the southwest. A less romantic city, however, would be hard to imagine. Terni’s important arms and steel industries made it a target for Allied bombing in 1944, and eighty percent of the town was reduced to rubble. Rebuilding replaced what was lost with a grey gridiron; it also put the arms industry back on its feet – the gun used to assassinate President Kennedy was made here. That said, a swathe of industrial wasteland on the outskirts is undergoing recovery, and an abandoned factory just east of the river at Viale Luigi Campofregoso 98 has been transformed into the CAOS complex (), a centre for contemporary art, which is also home to an archeological museum, a bookshop, theatre and bar.

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