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Although there is evidence of Neolithic remains in the area, the first historical document we know of is dated 600 b.c. where Nequinum is mentioned. In 299 we know the town as Narnia, a Roman colony. The name comes from the nearby Nar river, which is called the Nera today. Narni rose in importance with the construction of the Via Flaminia from Rome to Rimini. In the 12th and 14th century Narni became part of the Papal State and developed an important school of painting and goldsmiths.
Over 50 years ago C. S. Lewis invented a place called Narnia. This page presents a bit of speculation: It has been said that Lewis discovered the name (Narnia) in an atlas as a child, though he may also have come across mention of the city in his university studies.
By chance, the modern-day town of Narni (as it is now known) honors a local saint known as "Blessed Lucy of Narnia." Today the town's Cathedral of Narnia adjoins a shrine to this St. Lucy.