Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail: Bill Thayer 
[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

Massa Martana (Perugia province)

A town of central Umbria: 42°47N, 12°31E. Altitude: 356 m. Population in 2003: 3600.

[image ALT: A squat, heavy hexagonal stone tower at the edge of a parking lot. It is a view of the defensive tower at Massa Martana, Umbria (central Italy).]

The tower near the main gate.

Massa Martana is a small town on the SS 316, a road that more or less follows the west branch of the Roman Via Flaminia thru some particularly verdant landscape on the west flank of the Colli Martani, a low ridge of hills forming the backbone of central Umbria. It is 10 km N of Acquasparta, 18 km N of San Gemini and 32 km N of Narni; 14 km S of Bastardo and 27 km S of Bevagna: all those towns are on the Flaminia as well. For today's traveler, it's also useful to know that Massa is about 14 km E of Todi, which will be your most convenient base point in the area.

The town's old core, which is tiny — about six U. S. city blocks — is one of the classic walled towns of central Italy: in its main gate several ancient inscriptions, including a Roman one of some interest. The modern town has spread northwards along the road.

The territory of the comune includes three of Umbria's best Romanesque churches, each built in part of Roman stone: the Abbey of S. Fidenzio about 3 km northwest of Massa; S. Maria in Pantano, 3 km south; and S. Faustino, 5.5 km south. The modern shrine at Colvalenza (6 km southwest) draws busloads of pilgrims.

A proper website will eventually appear here, since I've been to Massa Martana three times (and elsewhere in the comune on several other occasions) and like the place. For now, you might find it useful to read my diary entries for Sep. 17, Oct. 16 and 26, 1994; after the earthquake, Oct. 10 and 31, 1997 and Apr. 23, 2004; and amateurs of musty 17c frescoes inexpertly scanned can take a look at this cycle depicting the life of St. Francis at the Convento della Pace about a mile out of town.

[image ALT: An ornate composite stone capital of the Renaissance period. It is a detail of the cloister of S. Francesco in Massa_Martana, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 3/6/11: 10 churches, 8 pages, 46 photos ]

More systematically, an initial sampler of those churches: a few loose photographs, but also a fairly complete site on the very old church of S. Maria in Pantano, and another on the 12c abbey of S. Maria in Viepri; watch this spot for future developments as well.


Like most of the comuni in Italy, Massa Martana includes in its territory some smaller towns and hamlets, of a few hundred inhabitants if that, with a certain administrative identity of their own: as elsewhere in Italy, these are referred to as the frazioni of the comune (singular: frazione, literally a "fraction"): a complete list of them follows. This site has information on them: in some cases pretty marginal, but sometimes not, even including one or more photographs. Links are usually to my diary; they may also contain further links — as usual on my site, don't forget to check the navigation bar at the bottom of this page.

Castel Rinaldi • Castelvecchio • Colpetrazzo • Mezzanelli • Montignano • Viepri • Villa S. Faustino

Not even frazioni, both very small places, but they too have their own pages on my site: Raggio Zampani.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Site updated: 1 Nov 17