Often nicknamed the balcony of Umbria, Montefalco is famous for its Sagrantino wine and its position high in the hills which allows one views over to Perugia, Assisi and even Spoleto. Although Montefalco today still retains some elements of its Roman origin, the atmosphere of this charming small wine town is very medieval. Although primarily known today for its textiles and wine, this tiny town also produced six saints over the centuries which is reflected in its impressive frescoed churches.
Until 1240 Montefalco was known as Coccorone when Frederick II destroyed it and rebuilt it as a Ghibelline town and ten named it after his imperial eagle. Montefalco later became part of the domain of the Trinci family, and later was overseen by the church.
How To Arrive In Montefalco – There are two trains daily to and from Foligno and SSIT buses to Montefalco from Bastardo, Bevagna, and Perugia once a day, and from Foligno several times each day. If driving, there is a large car park just outside the main walls of town.
What To See In Montefalco – The main access into town is the impressive 14th century Porta Sant’Agostino which has a tower on top. From here one heads up Via Umberto and then Corso Mameli into the main square Piazza del Commune. Along the way to the main piazza you’ll pass the Church of Sant’Agostino which originates from the late 13th century. The exterior facade is decorated with slender columns and a lovely rose window while the interior houses a number of beautiful frescoes.
The central piazza to which the rest of the streets spoke out from is home to Palazzo Comunale, the former Church of Sa Filippo Neri which is now a theater, and the Oratorio di Santa Maria. Just north from the main piazza along Via Ringhiera Umbra is perhaps Montefalco’s most important monument, the deconsecrated 14th century Church of San Francesco. The church houses the frescoes painted by Benozzo Gozzoli. The attached monastery houses the Museo Communale and both buildings display artwork salvaged from other local churches.
From Piazza del Comune, if you take the stairs leading south you’ll come across the Church of San Bartolomeo as well as a gate with the same name. Walking westward away from the old walls you will reach the convent and Church of Santa Chiara, both deicated to Chiara di Damiano of Montefalco (1268-1308).
One shouldn’t visit Montefalco without tasting some of the towns wonderful wines, particularly its most famous Sagrantino variety. Go to the information office at Piazza del Comune 17 for maps to local wineries, and information on wine tasting. Many wineries offer free tastings, some charge a small fee, while others, particularly the smaller vintners request that reservations be made before your arrival. Tours of some wineries are offered but generally reservations are required ahead of time for those.
Fuga del Bove is an ox race that takes place every year in Montefalco. It is a bloodless recalling of a historical game written up in the ancient city chronicles. The bull of each quarter, properly trained during the year, competes against the rivals through an uneven way. This race takes place at the end of the month and is proceeded by weeks of festivities.
Festa dell’Uva, or grape festival takes place at the end of September.
Monday is market day in Montefalco at largo Santa Chiara and largo Buozzi.
Tourist Office – Piazza Comune 17,
Phone – 0742-378490
Strada del Sagrantino Website