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Matigge (Perugia province)

A village of central Umbria, a frazione of Trevi: 42°54.2N, 12°44.5E. Altitude: 294 m. Population in 2003: 1100.

[image ALT: A large oak tree and a massive square tower with ruined battlements and some smaller trees growing on the top of it; in the background, a glimpse of a range of tall hills. It is a view of the medieval watchtower of Matigge, Umbria (central Italy).]

The watchtower of Matigge, the town's signature monument.

Matigge is a small town, somewhat strung out over the lower slopes of Mt. Puranno about 3 km N of Trevi. With a population of about 1000, it's larger than a few full-fledged Umbrian comuni, but it is part of the comune of Trevi.

The town consists of the old single-street hamlet at about 300 m altitude, with maybe forty or fifty inhabitants, and a more diffuse new area towards the Via Flaminia, now a modern highway, in the plain at about 220 m. The road and the expansion of Foligno, 7 km to the N, have invigorated this lower town, a busy, populated place with a fair amount of light industry: metalworking, industrial ceramics, construction materials, home furnishings; but also the battlemented medieval tower you see on this page, and one of Trevi's two olive oil coöperatives.

Having walked thru it myself once, I'm not about to lead you thru the industrial zone of Fosso Rio, so I'll give you a pair of Romanesque churches instead, and, unavoidably, the Tower:

[image ALT: A small Romanesque church with a shell-shaped apse and a little open belfry of the type called 'campanile a vela'. The church is sited on the sharp slope of a hill overlooking a vast plain. It is the church of S. Donato of Matigge, Umbria (central Italy).]

Stumbling across the church of S. Donato was how I made my first acquaintance with Matigge in 1997: it's a beautiful little chapel with a splendid view over the valley from the midst of its olive trees — and there's all that Roman stone, wherever it came from.

[ 2 pages, 5 photos ]

[image ALT: A small two-story stone church, behind part of an olive grove and flanked by cypresses on either side. It is the church of S. Niccolò of Matigge, Umbria (central Italy).]

Seven years later, a friend took me to see S. Niccolò. Here we have frescoes, several of them quite beautiful: but the church continues to fight water infiltration, without any funds to speak of; if you ever dreamt of paying St. Nick back for past Christmases, here maybe is your chance.

[ 4 pages, 12 photos ]

[image ALT: The upper part of an elegant arched stone doorway of the Renaissance period. The door is that of the Palazzo Valenti alla Piaggia in Trevi; it serves as the icon for my transcription of a book by Tommaso Valenti, 'Curiosità storiche trevane'.]

The Tower cannot be visited: not because of any possessiveness or bureaucratic strictures, but because the entrance has been buried under the nearby Via Flaminia for centuries. That doesn't stop us from knowing something about it though, and Tommaso Valenti lays it out in a brief (unillustrated) essay, La Torre di Matigge. I've translated it into English.

Don't be fooled by the door you see here: my icon for Dr. Valenti's book of essays on Trevi is the door to his house. . . .

[ 5 printed pages, presented in 1 webpage ]

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Page updated: 16 Apr 16