The roar of the Great Aslan, the lion, has finally reached the Umbrian Narnia. The old town of Naharna (i.e. “Land of rivers”, according to an Indo-European root) overlooks the valley from its rocky spur, where the river Nahar (today known as Nera) flows.
The Roman name of the town definitely drew Clives Staples Lewis’ attention: the British writer, Jack for his closest friends, was the author of seven fantasy books, written between 1950 and the sixties, a long saga that he named The chronicles of Narnia. C.S. Lewis was a real expert of classical and Roman world, since he was still a student, when he used to follow the Roman consular roads on an old map taken from the Murrey’s Small Classical Atlas. He gave this map to his friend (and later one of his biographers) Walter Hooper, telling him that he got the name of his magical land, from that book: the Narnia places were actually well underlined on that map.
Lewis probably knew about this town long before the discovery of this Atlas: when he was a student he might have found this name quoted in several Latin works he used to read and translate, like the Historiae by Titus Livius, or the Annales by Tacito and the Historia by Plinius the Elder. On some letters written by Plinius the Younger to his mother in law Pompea Celerina, he describes his wonderful villa and the baths by Narnia.
The imaginary world depicted in The Chronicles of Narnia, created by the pen of this author from Oxford, has always lived here, since the beginning, in the heart of Umbria.
The imaginary town of Narnia, with its rivers, has always been described as lying on the top of a hill, overlooking a valley where the river flows. On the analogy of this and many other characteristics with the actual Narni, we are almost inclined to say: “It does exist!”, as Lucy says in the blockbuster movie of 2005, made out of the first book of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
This Narnia will still exist in the future movie world, because the new chapters of this Saga (produced by Disney co.) have been shot in February 2007, ready to be in the theatres in 2008: The Chronicles of Narnia. The Prince Caspian.