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Monte­falco (Perugia province)

A town of east central Umbria: 42°54N, 12°39E. Altitude: 473 m. Population in 2003: 5600.

[image ALT: An imposing three-story building, its ground floor shaded by a tall, deep portico of six round arches; the building is surmounted by a stepped pediment, featuring a clock, topped by an antefix. It is the town hall of Montefalco in Umbria (central Italy).]

The Palazzo Comunale of Monte­falco: its Town Hall.

Monte­falco is one of the classic hilltowns of central Umbria, on the eastern flank of the Colli Martani about 7 km SE of Bevagna, 11 km SW of Foligno, and 9 km NW of Trevi.

In addition to being one of the places — along with Trevi and Todi — from which you have the most wide-ranging views in the region (but beware the moniker "Umbrian balcony", a bit of boosterism found pretty much only in tourist brochures), Monte­falco has half a dozen good medieval churches, most of them retaining more of their frescoes than similar churches elsewhere in Umbria. The most important of them is the church of S. Francesco, which includes among its frescoes a cycle by Benozzo Gozzoli, and has also been turned into one of the three museums in Umbria that you should see: small, but a collection of masterworks of the Umbrian school.

Finally, the town is famous for its dry red wine (rosso di Monte­falco), arguably the best in Umbria; and for a more recent red wine, Sagrantino di Monte­falco, which has eclipsed the other and is one of the best wines in Italy; there is also a most curious passito of Sagrantino, a sweet red tannic wine like none I've ever had anywhere else.

You should not confuse Monte­falco, prominently over­looking much of E central Umbria, with Montefranco, an equally beautiful town, yet less famous, perched above the valley of the Nera in Terni province.

A proper website is obviously in the works, since I've been to Monte­falco and walked the area a few times. Here are my first steps in that direction:

[image ALT: A composite capital of the Renaissance period, with Ionic volutes on Corinthian foliage, and a grotesque face in the foliage on each side. The image serves as my icon for the book 'Spello, Bevagna, Montefalco' by Giulio Urbini.]

Giulio Urbini was an Umbrian art historian who devoted much of his life to telling the story of his part of the world; the Monte­falco section of his book Spello, Bevagna, Monte­falco provides a fairly complete overview of the town. (In Italian)

[ 4 pages, 34 photos ]

[image ALT: An engraving of a bird rummaging in a small rectangular box and pulling out a ribbon. It is an illustration of an ancient Graeco-Roman pyxis.]

Monte­falco in Umbria (AJAH 8:226‑230): in the Antiquary's Shoebox — a collection of items that attracted me from various scholar­ly journals in the fields of classics and archaeology — a letter from Monte­falco from the year 1893, detailing some of the town's artistic treasures and bewailing their condition.

[ 1 page, unillustrated ]

[image ALT: missingALT zzz.]

My churches of Monte­falco page is a quick visual sampler; for now, only the little chapels of S. Maria di Piazza and S. Lucia get the coverage they deserve. As usual, stay tuned.

[7/14/11: 11 churches and 4 edicole, 8 pages, 29 photos ]

[image ALT: A very elegant stone rose window, formed of two concentric circles of almost circular arches: the inner of eight petals, the outer of sixteen. It is the rose window on the façade of the church of S. Felice di Narco in Umbria (central Italy). It serves here as the icon for my transcription of the book by Mariano Guardabassi, Indice-Guida dei Monumenti dell' Umbria]

If you're studying or visiting Italy, it's useful to speak or at least read Italian. . . . Here is a section of Indice-guida dei monumenti dell' Umbria: the 19c Umbrian historian Mariano Guardabassi on Monte­falco; dry but illustrated with some of my own photos.

[2/26/08: 1 page, 3 photos ]

[a blank space]

You may also find it useful to read these entries of my diary, which also include another photo: Sept. 27, 1997 Oct. 15, 1997 Apr. 24, 2004.


Like most of the comuni in Italy, Monte­falco 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.

Casale • Cerrete • Fabbri (try your best not to confuse the place with another village by the same name, less than 10 km away, in the comune of Giano dell' Umbria) • Fratta • Montepennino • Pietrauta • S. Luca • Turrita

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Page updated: 27 Apr 20