Montefalco seen from Trevi
Montefalco is known as Ringhiera dell'Umbria (Umbria's balustrade/balcony) owing to its commanding position at the top of a hill.
The town is still surrounded by walls built in the XIIIth century to protect two monasteries located outside an earlier enclosure. Montefalco was then a possession of the Bishop of Spoleto. In 1383 it was given to the Trinci, the lords of Foligno.
(left) S. Agostino; (centre and right) XVth century frescoes
S. Agostino is a large church similar to those of Foligno and it is decorated by many XVth century frescoes.
Tutte le strade portano a Roma (all roads lead to Rome): this saying also applies to the main square of Montefalco which is located at the very top of the hill. It is a nice place to sit while tasting the local wines at one of the many enoteca (literally wine libraries). Some of the buildings show Renaissance features.
(left) Oratorio di S. Maria di Piazza: 1521 fresco by Francesco Melanzio;
(right) S. Francesco: main portal
Benozzo Gozzoli who is best known for his elegant and very coloured frescoes at Palazzo Medici in Florence (it opens in another window) spent two years (1450-52) in Montefalco, where he decorated the church and the monastery of S. Francesco. The two buildings are now a museum which also displays paintings coming from other churches of the region. S. Maria di Piazza, the small oratory in the main square, has a nicely decorated altar (you may wish to see Bill Thayer's page on this oratory - it opens in another window).
(left) S. Illuminata; (right) detail of the portal
S. Illuminata is a small Renaissance church, with a design which is unusual in Umbria, most likely because the monastic community who built it came from northern Italy.
View towards Trevi
A walk along the walls of Montefalco offers great views over the other towns of the Umbrian valley.
Musei Vaticani: painting by Benozzo Gozzoli from S. Fortunato
S. Fortunato is located a mile outside Montefalco on the road to Trevi. In 1848 a fine painting by Benozzo Gozzoli was donated to Pope Pius IX who had granted the status of Cittą to Montefalco.