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Monte­leone di Spoleto (Perugia province)

A town of eastern Umbria: 42°39.4N, 12°57.5E. Altitude: 978 m. Population in 2003: 700.

[image ALT: An old town, not very large, dribbling down the side of a hill at an angle of about 25 degrees. It is a view of Monteleone di Spoleto, in Umbria (central Italy).]

Monte­leone as seen from several miles away in the valley below it.

Monte­leone di Spoleto is one of the remoter towns in Umbria, on the mountain road from Norcia and Cascia (33 km and 12 km NNE respectively) to Leonessa and Rieti in the Lazio (10 km S and 51 km SSW).

You should not confuse Monte­leone di Spoleto, in E Umbria, with Monte­leone d'Orvieto in the western part of the region.

Pretty much in the same place as the Roman town of Brufa, Monte­leone is famous for one of the world's great archaeological finds: a 6c B.C. Etruscan chariot that quickly followed the path of money and by the early 20c had already wound up in the Metropolitan Museum in New York; that path seems to have been at the edge of legality, and the town has finally started a campaign to get her chariot back. Of Brufa itself, however, there remain no visible traces: destroyed and rebuilt by the Spoletans in the 12c, Monte­leone offers at present an essentially medieval appearance.

The main monument in town is the church of S. Francesco, with an exceptional Gothic door, probably the best in Umbria; and an attractive cloister now serving as a lapidary museum. Unusually, under the cloister you can see a second church, complete with a 14c fresco.

Other monuments include the 15c Palazzo Bernabò and vestiges of the town's medieval walls, chief among them the clock tower.

I visited Monte­leone di Spoleto in May 2004, loved the place, and hope to go back some day for a longer stay: so a fuller site is on its way. As a first instalment on that formal site,

[image ALT: A small unadorned cylindrical stone tower, ground floor and a story above it, with a prominent arched door and two small rectangular windows, and a gently pitched tiled roof. The building is partly ruined and occupies the right foreground of the photo. Far below it, a narrow road leading to a village of a few dozen scattered houses. In the midground, a large hill, and in the distant background, a range of tall mountains, some of them snow-capped. It is a view of Ruscio as seen from the church of S. Caterina in Monteleone di Spoleto in Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 12/6/07: 7 churches, 3 pages, 18 photos ]

The Churches of Monte­leone are an interesting group, and one of them, as I mentioned above, is one of the great churches of Umbria. Subsites are on their way.

While I'm spinning out the other pages, you can get a fairly detailed if informal look at the town from the May 10 and May 12, 2004 entries of my diary; and for further information, see the websites linked in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page — the Archeoambiente site in particular is wonder­ful: deep and full of information, with a handsome YouTube video of Monte­leone for which you need no Italian.


Like most of the comuni in Italy, Monte­leone includes in its territory some smaller towns and hamlets, usually 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. I haven't been to any of them yet, so the basic information will be offsite.

Butino • Rescia • Ruscio • Trivio

[image ALT: A small town high up on a hill to your left, and starting to dribble down the side of it, towards another somewhat larger town in a lush valley about 200 meters below. It is a view of the hill town of Monteleone di Spoleto, in Umbria (central Italy), and the lowland hamlet of Ruscio.]

Monte­leone on its hill, and the frazione of Ruscio in the valley. You are looking N.

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Page updated: 17 Jul 16