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Chiostro di Montefalco

Special Offer
at Villa Pambuffetti

Montefalco, Umbria

A Romantic Getaway for Two

Villa Pambuffetti's page on VisitsItaly.com
~ 3 nights accom.
~ 2 fabulous dinners
~ 1/2 day cooking lesson
in the Villa's kitchen
~ Wine tasting at a charming enoteca in Spello

876/couple

Contact: IV Travel


Chiesa San Francesco, Interior
Montefalco


Pallazo di Cuppis, Montefalco WP Thayer

The Fresco Cycle in Chiesa San Francesco, Montefalco


Montefalco Coat of Arms

Welcome to Montefalco
Mount of the Falcon
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 5630 (2004)
Official website:
Montefalco
Wikipedia: Montefalco

Maps: MapQuest

"A little piece of heaven" some have called it, Montefalco (pop. 5600) is situated high in the Colli Martani, with a 360 degree view of the surrounding countryside.  On a clear day, you may not be able to see forever, but you can see across the gorgeous Vale de Umbria to Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, Trevi, Bevagna, Foligno, Bettano,  Pissignano and a collection of other small towns and villages.  Below the town lies the flood plain of the Clitunno River.

Montefalco, the birthplace of no less than eight saints, is in the middle of Umbria's most important grape growing and wine producing country, which you will see as you wend your way up the highway, proceeding east from Bevagna.  The two most important wine varieties for which the area is known are the simple Montefalco Rossa, and Sagrantrino which offers a more complex set of flavors to the educated palate.

There is ample parking (during the off season) outside the Porta Sant'Agostino.  Enter the gate, then proceed up the Corso G. Mameli to the Chiesa Sant'Agostino, built in the Gothic style between 1279 and 1285, on your left.  If you dip into the church you will find several noteworthy frescoes from as far back as the 13th century.

Continuing to the top of the hill, you will enter the Piazza del Commune, surrounded by most of Montefalco's most important public buildings, most built in the 15th and 16th centuries,  including the Palazzo Comunale, and Chiesa Santa Maria.

If there is a "must see" in Montefalco it is the town's museum, housed in the now deconsecrated Chiesa San Francesco which you will reach by walking down from the main piazza on Via Ringhiera della Umbria.

The church was built as a preaching church by Franciscan monks over a 200 year period commencing in 1336.  The church's facade underwent significant alteration in the 16th Century.  At one time, the interior was a unified whole, but an aisle was added also in the 16th century.

Now, one of Italy's most important museums, the facility houses works by Perugino, Melanzio, Mezzastris, Romano, Tiberio d'Assisi and, of course, Gozzoli, who painted two sets of frescoes in the church including one in the chapel of St. Jerome, but more importantly an incredibly well executed cycle of the Life of St. Francis in the apse.

Continuing down the Via Ringhiera della Umbria you will walk through a gate in the old medieval wall to a prospect point where you can see off into the always stunning Umbrian country side.  Taking the road around the city, walking left (counterclockwise), stroll to the Porta di Federico II, dating to about 1244.  Here you will find a Swabian cross and the Imperial eagle commemorating the Emperor's visit.  Well "visit" doesn't quite capture the moment.  The emperor's troops sacked the city.

Re-entering the oldest medieval quarter of the town, just inside the gate, you will encounter the ruin of an 11th century church, San Bartolomeo, whose apse still shows the remnants of colorful fresco.

If you do not re-enter the town, but continue walking the road outside the walls you will eventually come to a large church, the Chiesa Santa Chiera, named for St. Clare of Montefalco, a mystic for whom the still active nunnery adjacent to the church is named.

The parade of churches continues for those with the stamina to take the walk.  Taking the Via Verdi you will first encounter Santa Illuminata, a Renaissance era church featuring above the door a Madonna della Misericordia by Melanzio, and in the interior, frescoes by him and Mezzastris.

Another kilometer down the road stands the Chiesa San Fortunato, named for the canonized bishop of Todi, where, within its cool confines,one finds frescoes by Tiberio d'Assisi and Gozzoli.

Having walked a considerable distance uphill into the city, then downhill to San Fortunato, you now have to make your way back to your car or bus as the case may be, tired but certainly gratified.  If you are not hungry for a meal, you might enjoy a gelato or espresso in one of the cafes around the Piazza Comunale.  There are a number of good restaurants in the same area for those with a larger appetite.  Your meal will go down well with a glass or two of the local vino!

Umbria Region

 

Directions

4254N 1239E; at 473 m (1552 ft) above sea-level.

7 km (4 mi) SE of Bevagna, 11 km (7 mi) SW of Foligno, and 9 km (5.5 mi) NW of Trevi.

Directory

 


Window on Chiesa San Bartolomeo, Montefalco
WP Thayer


Benozzo Gozzoli

 

Montefalco Wine Consortium

Enjoy the annual
Montefalco Wine Week

Settimana Enological

Around Easter