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Just 45 minutes south of the Umbrian art city of Perugia, lies the charming hilltop village of Montefalco. As you can see from the cover photo, this town is known as the “City of Wine and Olive Oil” for its prized red wine, Sagrantino DOCG. It has just the right amount of things to see without feeling overwhelming and makes a perfect day trip from anywhere in the Perugia province (or beyond). It isn’t any wonder that it is officially part of the prestigious club of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”.
Between Spoleto and Perugia in the Clitunno Valley
Montefalco sits at about 475 meters above sea level and is enclosed in its original double set of thirteenth-century medieval walls and gates. It enjoys fabulous views of the Clitunno Valley’s countryside and on clear days, the magnificent towns of Spello, Foligno, Perugia, and Assisi are also in sight. It isn’t any wonder that it was a strategic city for the Romans connecting Spoleto and Perugia. It continued to flourish from the eleventh century through the High Renaissance and was liberated by the famous Sforza family in the fifteenth century.
What To See Inside the City Walls
Inside the first ring of walls, you can visit the thirteenth-century Church of Sant’Agostino which contains frescoes by Lorenzetti and Caporali.
Once inside the historic center, you’ll see that it is a lovely mixture of churches and buildings that date from the twelfth century and beyond. Of course, Umbria is the land of Saint Francis and you cannot miss the Church Museum of Saint Francis built in 1335. The former church includes the extremely famous frescoes of Benozzo Gozzoli (mid-1400s) as well as the later work of Perugino, The Nativity. The complex also includes an art gallery and an archaeological section.
Montefalco’s main square is the circular-shaped Piazza del Comune where you’ll find the town hall with its bell tower as well as many other fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth-century buildings and palaces.
The Church and Convent of Santa Chiara della Croce (also known as Santa Chiara di Montefalco) was commissioned by the saint herself and is where she was buried in 1308. There are more precious frescoes here from the Umbrian school dating to the fourteenth century.
There is also an Augustinian Monastery dedicated to the saint of cloistered nuns which can be visited upon request.
Take a leisurely lunch break and taste one of the region’s most prized wines, Sagrantino, paired with a first course of risotto Montefalchese, gnocchi, or pappardelle, followed by a second course of Chianina beef with truffles.
If you enjoy wine then you’ll want to explore the Strada del Sagrantino, the area’s wine road that connects five villages (Montefalco, Bevagna, Giano dell’Umbria, Gualdo Cattaneo, and Castel Ritaldi) and winds you through the breathtaking countryside. Tours are available!
So take our advice and make a point to visit lovely Montefalco. You will be so glad you did!
Continue reading about more destinations in the Perugia province, including some mentioned in this article.