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Monte­leone d'Orvieto (Terni province)

A town of W central Umbria: 42°54.5N, 12°03.1E. Altitude: 494 m. Population in 2003: 1600.

[image ALT: A brick archway, asymmetrical from side to side, and tapering in depth as well, leading to a small archway onto the countryside. Next to the archway, a bricked up square window. It is a view of a street in Monteleon d'Orvieto, Umbria (central Italy).]

An archway off one of the main streets, yet thru it, Umbrian farmland.

Monte­leone d'Orvieto is a small town stretched out along a ridge above the Ripignolo river, a creek that flows into the Tiber, on the old highway SS 71 from Orvieto (27 km S) to Castiglione del Lago (33 km N by the road, although that includes a dogleg W to the outskirts of Chiusi in Tuscany); a small crossroad leads thru some of the wildest areas of southern Umbria to Monte­gabbione, S. Venanzo, and Marsciano (4 km, 31 km, and 41 km E respectively).

Because the ridge is narrow, Monte­leone essentially follows a single long main street, the closed feeling of which, and the compact brick architecture, contrast sharply with the extensive views and fresh air just a block away where, pretty much on any side, the town meets the edge of the hill. The town is not very old by Umbrian standards: like nearby Monte­gabbione, it was built in the 12c as a bastion to defend the northern approaches of Orvieto — and thus has a certain unity of style which contributes to making it a place of great charm.

Remains of the walls and its towers can be seen, as well as the collegiate church of SS. Pietro e Paolo with several good paintings of the Umbrian school, including a Pietà of the school of Perugino. The 17c church of the Crocifisso has a rather striking late baroque altar of wooden marquetry.

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

[image ALT: A damaged wall painting of a Madonna and Child. It is a detail of the door of the church of S. Michele in Monteleone d'Orvieto, Umbria (central Italy).]

My sole visit to Monte­leone so far was in the rain and on a bit of a schedule. My orientation page to the churches of Monte­leone, is just a placeholder then: a sort of checklist for my next trip.

[ 1/7/24: 4 churches, 2 pages, 5 photos ]

At some point, I may put up a few more photographs of the town; or even, if I go back for another visit, a much expanded site. In the meanwhile, you may find it useful to read the Apr. 19, 2004 entry of my diary, which includes 2 more photographs; and for fuller information, the sites in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page.


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 any links will be offsite.

Colle • S. Lorenzo • S. Maria

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Page updated: 7 Jan 24