Montefalco may seem to be just another small town in the hills of Umbria, but those who’ve walked its narrow streets and gazed at the scenery stretching all directions from the Piazza del Comune know that Montefalco is truly “The Balcony of Umbria.”
La Ringhiera d’Umbria
In ancient times, Montefalco was called Coccorone. Like most ancient cities it was established on a hill top for defensive purposes. Today the central piazza of the ancient city sits directly on top of the hill offering you uninhibited views in literally all directions of the breathtaking Umbria landscape.
Museo Civico di San Francesco
Even small towns in Italy can claim outstanding museums and Montefalco is no exception. St. Francis Municipal Museum is housed in a former church and is considered one of the primary attractions of the town – outside of the view, of course. The museum contains various exhibitions throughout the year, but the church itself certainly holds the attention of many visitors.
The church was erected in 1335 and completed in 1338. Notably, the original artwork contained in the building was done by famous artists native to the area. Unfortunately for historical reasons and rather fortunately for artistic ones, the original masterpieces and other parts of the church such as the main apse and triumphal arch were frescoed by Benozzo Gozzoli in 1452.
The frescoes are still a very large part of the cathedral and the colors of the paintings are stunningly bright almost six centuries later. The frescoes contain twelve scenes from the life of St. Francis, pictures of various saints and other people of note, and the twelve disciples of Francis.
In addition to the exhibitions, the ancient church also contains a well maintained picture gallery which has been entirely restored since 1990. The show contains work by local artists and a quick trip to the crypt below the church will offer you even more history in the form of ancient objects such as statues from the first century AD.
Whether you walk to see what the beautiful town has to offer or simply take a seat in the Piazza del Comune, you can experience all of Montefalco with ease in a single day. When you’re ready to reflect on the day, kick back with a glass of the local wine, Sagrantino. Sagrantino is a full bodied red wine that is produced only around Montefalco. Many wine connoisseurs visit the region specifically to taste the wine and to bring home a bottle to remember this charming city.