Montone is a beautiful little town located in the High Tiber Valley, an enchanted place in the Umbria region. In fact the charming landscape and pure air characterize this medieval settlement which has a rich history and precious works of art that have resisted the passing of time. Montone was born as a typical medieval settlement set in between two hills and has been surrounded by massive walls ever since. This last detail, coupled with the beauty of the bell towers and of the churches allowed the town to become one of the “100 most beautiful Italian villages”. The picturesque image of the town is completed by narrow and winding streets and staircases that give access to beautiful architectural details, squares and little orchards. The tourists can remain in town and visit the local museums (the Saint Francis Museum Complex – the Church of Saint Francis dates back to 1300) or the Municipal Art Gallery and the “The Talking Drum” Ethnographical Museum, as well as the traditional workshops and restaurants. The latter allow you to taste typical local products such as various types of cold cuts, cheese and truffles etc.
This is also the perfect place for a relaxing holiday, discovering the amazing surrounding countryside where you can walk or ride a bike, as well as enjoy horseback riding or fishing.
Montone is also quite close to other Umbrian beauties such as Gubbio, Umbertide and Città di Castello.
There are few people who know where this village is, even in Italy. In fact this is what makes it so special! This well-conserved medieval town preserves historical “records” in its very architecture: the Fortress of Braccio, for instance, had been destroyed by Pope Sixtus IV in 1478, but has recently been restored. This monument alone testifies the town’s importance during the Middle Ages.
Montone existed at least from the 10th century – written records date from back then. In 1121 the fortified village was under Perugia’s influence. Still it was allowed to have its own magistrates and manage the public administration on its own. Furthermore the town tried to create a state free of Pontifical influence in Central Italy.
Another highlight of the story of the settlement is the presence of the Fortebracci family in the 15th century. Montone reached its maximum splendor thanks to Braccio da Montone who had been a great captain, known for his extraordinary political and strategic skills. This allowed him to make the town a countship on the 28th of August 1414. Braccio was thus an important historical figure, being in contact with important people of the time who enriched the village with their works of art or architecture (two of the most famous ones are the painter Antonio Alberti and the architect Fioravante Fioravanti).
Braccio’s son Carlo became an important historical personality as well. In fact in 1473 he fought for the Republic of Venice against the Turks. After the fight he received one of the thorns from Jesus’ crown that he sent back to his hometown. Legend has it that when the thorn was brought to Montone the churches’ bells started ringing on their own. This is the reason why even today there is a feast centered around this relic that is celebrated on Easter Monday. There is also another feast in August dedicated to the Sacred Thorn. The various neighborhoods “fight” for the Palio and to choose their own Castellana (to honor Margherita Malatesta, the wife of Count Carlo).