Province of Perugia - Tourist Information I.A.T. Tel 0742-354459 0742-354165 - Town Hall Phone 0742-6161 0742-616127.
Population: 5,820 (Montefalchesi); surface sq km: 69.34, height Sim 472; distance from Perugia 48 Km; Tel. Dial/Area Code 0742; Zip/Postal Code 06036; Train Station (FS Foligno) to 12 km; Moterway/Highway: Autostrada del Sole (Rome) coming from Rome exit Orte, Perugia-Foligno, coming from Florence exit Val di Chiana, then Perugia-Foligno.
Hamlets: Casale, Cerrete, Cortignano, Fabbri, Fratta, Madonna della Stella, Monte Pennino, Pietrauta, San Luca, Turri, Turrita.
"The railing of 'Umbria" (La Ringhiera dell' Umbria) is what Montefalco is referred to due to its unique position overlooking the Topino and Clitunno Rivers and was already a thriving rural center in the Roman Age. Numerous relics epigraphic and sculptural (the Municipal Museum, a cloister of San Fortunato, etc.) still testify to its origins. Evangelized in the fourth century by San Fortunato, Coccorone (so called in the Middle Ages) in the twelfth century, it was already a Municipality, although also under imperial domination. In the autumn of 1185, the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa reined there for a long time, welcoming back into the imperial grace the city of Spoleto which he ordered its destruction thirty years before. At the end of 1249, and the beginning of 1250 Coccorone got its current name Montefalco, probably because of one of the hawks of the Emperor Frederick II who had stayed there in February 1240. Involved in the heated wars between the neighboring Municipalities, in 1209 passed to the directive of the emperor Otto IV. When later passed under the Church by Pope John XXII, Montefalco was chosen as the seat of the Pontifical Regent of the Duchy of Spoleto, and during those years, from 1306 to 1354, the fortress was built, adding new city walls, as well as numerous Civil and religious buildings, constructed and painted by talented artists. Subject to the rule of the Family Trinci of Foligno in 1383, after this disastrous epilogue, it was entrusted by the Pope to Niccolò Maurizi, returning, finally and permanently in 1446 under the control of the Church. Exausted by the plague and ransacked in 1527 by Orazio Baglioni’s soilders, Montefalco obtained the title of City in 1848 and in 1860, with the annexation of the Kingdom of Italy, obtained the title of Town Hall.
Montefalco gave birth to: Saint Clare of Montefalco (1268-1308), the painter Francesco Melanzio (1465-1524), the poet Nicholas of Montefalco (XV cent.), The wood sculptor Andrea da Montefalco (second half of the fifteenth century) and theologian Don Brizio Casciola (1871-1975).
WHAT TO SEE
The medieval fabric of Montefalco even today is almost all enclosed by double walls within the castle walls, dating from the thirteenth-fourteenth century., Topped by towers and from where the ancient gates open. Its most majestic gate Porta Sant'Agostino, dominated by a large tower with Ghibelline battlements, preserved, under the arch of the gate, a fresco of the "Madonna in Majesty" from the fourteenth century. Other gates are the Porta Federico II, in 1244, built in memory of the Emperor’s stay in Montefalco, and the Porta Camiano, from the thirteenth century. The walls of the castle preserve the oldest specimen of the stem of Montefalco, in brick, with traces of something written unfortunately unreadable. The heart of the medieval city, which has its center in the characteristic Piazza del Comune (Town Square), houses valuable works of art and bears witness to the changes the city made over time. The Church of St. Francesco and The Civic Museum: the church, built between 1335 and 1338 by the Friars Minori, held by them until 1863, when it passed on to the town of Montefalco, becoming in 1895 the Civic Museum. Renovated in 1990, it has enabled the creation of a museum into three exhibition spaces: the former church, with numerous frescos ranging from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, with works by Benozzo Gozzoli (1452), Perugino (1503), the master of the Crucifix of Montefalco, Jacopo Di Vinciolo (1461) and other talented artists; the Art Gallery, with works by Melanzio, Melozzo from Forlì, Antoniozzo Romano, etc. and wooden sculptures of the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries., and the Crypt, which is home to the archaeological and other sculptures and fragments of various ages. The church of Sant'Agostino, built between 1279 and 1285. The facade, in the Gothic style, is embellished with a lovely ogival portal and the interior, with two aisles, contains valuable works: a wooden statue of the fifteenth century, a wooden crucifix from the Renaissance (altar), frescos of the second half of the fifteenth century by Jacopo di Vinciolo and works by Bernardino Mezzastris, Giovanni Di Corraduccio, Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Giovan Battista Caporali. In the church are also preserved in crystal urns, the bodies of Holy Illuminata and Chiaretta (disciples of Saint Clare of Montefalco) and that of an unknown pilgrim, who arrived in Montefalco, where he died suddenly in the fourteenth century, and still exceptionally preserved. The church of Santa Chiara, of the fifteenth century, in Baroque style, after the renovation of the 1600’s, houses the remains of St. Clare of Montefalco, an Umbrian eminent figure of the Umbrian Mysticism of the thirteenth-fourteenth century; a painting of 1611, "Santa Chiara in ecstasy, "by Francesco Longhi; a stucco altar of 1622, by the Milanese sculptor Camillo Rusconi; and paintings by Francesco Refini of Spoleto. In the chapel of St. Cross are valuable frescos of the Umbrian School from 1333 (an apse of the old church of the fourteenth century). Adjacent to the church is the Augustinian Monastery which houses interesting works including a "Crucifix" painted on wood, attributed to Puccio Capanna and a box from 1430 in which the body of St. Clare was preserved. The church of Santa Illuminata, built in the sixteenth century on the remains of an earlier building, has a facade in Lombard Renaissance style and inside the numerous frescos are housed by Francesco Melanzio (1506 and 1515), Bernardino Mezzastris (1507) and a painter of the school of Perugino. Other churches that are worth a visit in Montefalco are: the Church of Santa Maria di Piazza, from the thirteenth century, with frescos by Melanzio from 1517, a wooden pew from the sixteenth century and a High Medieval column for holy water. The church of St. Bartholomew, from the thirteenth century, (one of the oldest parishes), renovated and enlarged in the seventeenth century, houses a fresco of the fourteenth century, (handed over in the eighteenth century), a painting of 1663 from the Flemish painter Jacopo Ybot, and a beautiful wooden statue from the seventeenth century, and a portrayal of the "Risen Christ". The church of Santa Maria Maddalena, in 1269, approximately rebuilt in 1726, is decorated with frescos by Melanzio, Christopher Di Jacopo (XV) and two statues from the eighteenth century. In the main square stands the Town Hall, built in the twelfth century, probably used previously as a house. It was renovated in 1270 and later rebuilt. From the original building (on the left side) is a gothic mullioned window, while the front portical was constructed in the fifteenth century. Inside the building you can visit the ancient Sala Major Council Hall, now used as a reading room in the Library (with volumes from the fifteenth and sixteenth century) and the Minor Council Hall, decorated in Neoclassical style. We then enter in the Tower (XII sec.), which offers a panoramic view of the entire valley. Also in the Town Square there are ancient buildings: Palazzo Santi-Gentili from the sixteenth century, with a beautiful Renaissance entrance stairway and the living room with a wood coffered ceiling and The Palazzo De Cuppis-Abbots-Camilli, expanded between 1480 and 1489 .
WHAT TO SEE NEARBY
Leaving the gate Porta Camiano, near the city walls there is the birth house of the painter Francesco Melanzio. Inside the house, in the atrium, a nineteenth-century fresco depicting the '"Immaculate Conception" is preserved. While on the outside wall we find one of the oldest “Maestà” paintings of the fifteenth century . Adjacent to the city walls, is the Spring of Poggiolo and continuing down the path we encounter a kiosk with a Crucifixion of the eighteenth century. Immediately after a “Maestà” fresco from the nineteenth century, but probably originating from an earlier date. To the right of the “Maestà” we come to the St. Francis Spring, which, according to legend, was untapped by St. Francis in 1215 to cater to the small monastery which he had founded near San Rocco. Continuing, we find the church of St. Elizabeth which houses a beautiful fresco by Melanzio. Returning to Montefalco, just outside the town, is situated the Monastery of San Fortunato. Built in the sixteenth century on the remains of a Roman basilica from the fourth century, of which some traces are found in the cloister and the church. In the quadriportico Roman columns are recognizable for reuse, and the portal is decorated with frescos by Benozzo Gozzoli, who also designed the "S. Fortunato" and the "Virgin and Child" inside the temple. In the cloister there is the painting "Via Crucis" from 1723, while in the Chapel Delle Rose, which you can be accessed from here, is a painting frescoed in 1512, by Tiberio of Assisi. Also near Montefalco it is worth visiting the church of S. Maria di Turrita, from the twelfth-thirteenth century, with frescos dating back to the fifteenth century; works by Melanzio and some other anonymous painters; and the Sanctuary of the Madonna Della Stella, built in 1862 in memory of a miracle from the image of the "Madonna and Child", from 1525 on the main altar; and the fortified medieval village of Fabbri established in the fourteenth century.
A thriving agricultural center of the Umbrian Valley, Montefalco, as well as its artistic and natural beauty, is renowned for its excellent quality of wine produced here (Sagrantino Rosso, a red wine, and Passito which bear the European Label DOCG which is the highest- ranking category of Italian wine denominations). Montefalco is also known for its production of olive oil and cereal crops. The craftsmanship of Montefalco, very active until the sixties, with the advent of industrial technology has significantly decreased, but even today the manufacturing of textiles is still alive and running. Textiles of cotton and hemp with Greek decorative patterns, are renewed by its colors and shapes and attest to an ancient tradition, as well as the decoration of ceramics, furniture restoration and the processing of iron. A heavy flow of tourists come to this ancient village and this pouring of visitors increases more and more every year in order to discover the history, values and traditions, and sustained by excellent accommodation facilities.