About Montone

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Uno dei borghi ..

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NEARBY VILLAGES, TOWNS & CITIES

For the sake of brevity, the villages, towns and cities that we recommend and describe below are only those within one hour's drive of Montone. Others, a little further afield and definitely worth a day's outing, include Spoleto, Orvieto, Montepulciano, Pienza, Chiusi and Montalcino.

Click on the thumbnails for larger photos.

Arezzo, Tuscany: 60 minutes, 69 kilometres
Arezzo is the setting of the wonderful film, La Vità è Bella, Life is Beautiful.  Once called Arretium, when owned by the Romans, Arezzo has had its fair share of troubles, including the perennial conflict between the ubiquitous Guelphs and Ghibellines which caused much bloodshed throughout central Italy when the Emperor and Pope were at each other's throats, trying to gain control of matters temporal.  Arezzo contains some lovely Piero della Francesca paintings. It is also the birthplace of the painter and art historian, Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574).
  Assisi, Umbria: 50 minutes, 60 kms
Assisi is famous as the birthplace of a wild, bibulous and dangerous youth who, in later life, developed into an eccentric ascetic - St Francis of Assisi.  Set on the side of Monte Subasio, Assisi presents a magnificent sight when approached from Perugia. Attractions include the Basilica di San Francesco, which includes works by Giotto and relics of S.F. and friends; the spacious Piazza del Comune in the town centre; the rocca (fortress) high above the town and, from the rocca, views of the mountains beyond the Valtiberina (Valley of the Tiber).  Assisi's major event is the Festa del Calendimaggio, First of the First of May, during which the locals dress up in medieval garb and celebrate spring.  For some reason many of Assisi's shopkeepers carry a lot of kitsch sanfrecescano, but if you look around you'll find many good things including lacework among the dross.
Cagli, Le Marche: 60 minutes, 47 kms
Cagli lies in the province of Pesaro e Urbino, within the Italian region of Le Marche. The predominant architecture of its centro storico is typical 19th-century, so typical in fact that it regularly attracts university architecture students from around the world. Cagli has a very wide range of restaurants, bars, cafes, supermarkets and shops from which you can take home and cook la cucina tipica. Just outside Cagli one can find the remnants of a bridge, ponte Mallio, Pons Mallium, and the ancient consular road, built by the Romans well over 2,000 years ago.The landscape around Cagli is marvellous just for its natural beauty, with three towering mountains, two wonderfully cool rivers suitable for swimming in summer and stratified evidence of incredible geological activity, for example the nearby Furlo Gorge, over tens of millions of years.
  Città di Castello, Umbria: 20 minutes, 23 kms
A city of about 50,000. The centro storico, located inside several kilometres of surrounding walls, is flat with a number of wide, easily-navigable streets. Not a bad market in the central piazza every Saturday morning, at which are sold fresh fruit and vegetables and reasonably-priced clothing.
Cortona, Tuscany: 45 minutes, 39 kms
Birthplace of the famous painter, Luca Signorelli, Cortona is a delightful hill-side town, a bit like Montone only larger, more commercial, steeper and more expensive.  A beautiful centro storico with a steep climb from the external car-parks to the central piazza followed by another steep climb via any number of different winding streets to Santa Catarina at the top of the town. Saturday morning market.
  Deruta, Umbria: 45 minutes, 54 kms
Deruta is a must for ceramics.  The centro storico above the new part of the town houses most of the ceramica artigianale.  There, with a bit of looking, you'll find exquisite pieces, often at very reasonable prices. In the lower aprt of Deruta are the larger, mass-production, ceramics shops.  Their pieces are lower-priced but still worth checking out.
  Gualdo Tadino, Umbria: 55 minutes, 57 kms
An interesting hillside town whose origins go back a very long way - the twelfth century BC.  The place was occupied by the Romans and Barbarians at various times and was much-fought-over by Lombards and Byzantines.  The centro storico, settled in the 13th century, is well worth a visit as is the Rocca Flea above the town. Gualdo Tadino is noted for its distinctively- decorated ceramics.
Gubbio, Umbria: 35 minutes, 37 kilometres
Situated on the side of Monte Ingino, Gubbio boasts a beautiful centro storico. Attractions include the Palzzo della Signoria, which houses the famous Eugubine Tablets, the climb up Monte Ingino, the view over the Valtiberina and the 1st-century Teatro romano, conveniently located behind the free open-air car-park below the town.  From the tourist's point of view, Gubbio's main commercial attraction is the ceramics shops in the centro storico. Gubbio's major annual event is the Festa dei Ceri, Feast of the Candles, held on 15th May every year.
Monte Castello di Vibio, Umbria: 60 minutes, 90 kilometres
On the recommendation of a friend we visited this gem for the first time in December 2006.  We loved it from the start, with its beautiful private and public architecture, its eccentric layout and its community theatre which the locals claim is the smallest operating theatre in the world.  It's a large claim, but maybe it's true.  For a small fee you can become a Friend of the Theatre.
Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, Umbria: 40 minutes, 25 kilometres
Set high on a mountain (688 metres, as against Montone's 482 metres), Monte S.M. Tiberina is a beautiful small village with not a great deal to see but all of it delightful. Well worth the effort because not only is the village very pretty (with a welcoming cafe) but the drive there and back is very scenic.
  Monterchi, Tuscany: 45 minutes, 35 kms
Monterchi is famous for its one Piero della Francesca fresco, the Madonna del Parto, which is an unusual piece as it depicts the Madonna in an obviously pregnant state.  Despite the narrowness of its fame, Monterchi is a lovely old town, with a lovely streetscape and a couple of nice little bars.  It's well worth a visit, especially if combined with a visit to nearby Citerna and slightly-further-afield Anghiari.
  Niccone, Umbria: 7 minutes, 7 kms
A very small village.  Worth a visit to Nonna Gelsa where both the food and the waitress' English are very good.  Niccone was a centre of partisan activity during WWII.  Midway between Niccone and Mercatale is a stone cairn, a shrine to 23 locals killed by the Germans in reprisal for local partisan activities.
Panicale, Umbria: 70 minutes, 64 kms
Panicale is yet another beautiful medieval hilltop village, one of our favourites. Larger than Montone, it definitely repays a visit, with its marvellous piazza, its decorative streets and alleys, lovely private architecture and views towards Lago Trasimeno. Making a day of it, you could include a trip around the lake (Italy's fourth largest), taking in Passignano a small lakeside holiday reort on the northern side and maybe a diversion to Arezzo and/or Cortona.
  Perugia, Umbria: 40 minutes, 45 kilometres
Perugia is the capital of the Regione di Umbriaand is also the capital of the Provincia di Perugia.  Its centro storico is on the top of a hill.  One approaches Perugia from the south, leaving the E45 at the Perugia-Siena-Florence exit.  There follows a lovely, winding drive up to the town.  A few of Perugia's multitude of attractions include: the Palazzo dei Priori; the National Gallery; the octagonal Chiesa di Sant'Ercolano, built in honour of Bishop Ercolano, who was martyred by the Goths in AD 548; and the marvellous acrophobia- and vertigo-inducing views from the eastern edge of the town centre.
  Pietralunga, Umbria: 25 minutes, 17 kms
The drive to Pietralunga from Montone is lovely, if sometimes a little slow. Pietralunga is a very old town with origins before recorded history.  The ruined castle was built in the 8th century.  Below the castle is a series of narrow streets full of interesting private homes.  According to an engineer friend who lives in Umbertide, the stone in Pietralunga is excellent for building purposes. I don't know if this helps much but it's the sort of thing that engineers like to tell you.
  San Sepolcro, Tuscany: 35 minutes, 34 kms
San Sepolcro is the birthplace of the famous painter, Piero della Francesco (ca 1420-1492).  San Sepolcro's centro storico, like that of Città di Castello, is flat.  Other than the odd della Francesca in the local gallery, the town doesn't contain many big-name attractions.  Nevertheless, it's a very pleasant place in which to have a leisurely cappuccino or vin santo.  The Tourist Information centre is run by very friendly and helpful staff. If you're keen to bring large event-style posters, the Tourist Information centre is a great place to start.
Spello, Umbria: 45 minutes, 60 kms
Spello is a lovely town. Apart from being a place where you can buy exquisite ceramics and not-so-exquisite coglioni di nonno (coglioni is the Italian equivalent of the Spanish cojones, and nonno means grandad, do we make ourselves clear?) the walking through the town is very special, unless of course, you don't go for medieval and Roman-era architecture.
Trevi, Umbria: 57 minutes, 78 kms
Trevi is almost at the end of the line of our self-imposed 60-minutes' drive limit. It's on the A75, past Assisi and Spello. It's a very cute little town with limited public parking which is both a blessing and a curse. If you arrive reasonably early you can find a spot and enjoy exploring the village. As is the case with almost all Umbrian villages, the private architecture is always worth close inspection but in Trevi, the thing that I find an added attraction is the marvellous cobbled streets. There are a few good little cafes, always pleasant to visit after you been virtuous and given the village a satisfactory once-over.
 

Umbertide, Umbria: 10 minutes, 8 kms
A regional town of about 15,000, Umbertide was bombed heavily and unnecessarily by the Americans and British on 25 April 1944, with great loss of life. (Plus ça change...)  Umbertide has every type of shopping, including a couple of very good supermarkets.  A street market operates in Piazza Matteotti and below the Rocca d'Umbertide every Wednesday from about 8.30 to lunch-time.  The market is worth a visit, especially if you need to purchase shoes, hardware, kitchen implements, low-tech farm equipment or live chickens with a not-so-rosy future.  Attractions are the centro storico with its confusing maze of streets; the rocca wherein Montone's own Braccio Fortebraccio is said to have been imprisoned; the Chiesa Collegiata and, for liberated men, the open-air urinal near the railway level-crossing.  A few kilometres out of town is the Badia di Monte Corona, a religious institution of several centuries' standing, with several interesting architectural and sepulchral features.  For the energetic there's a lovely 16-kilometre return walk from the Badia to the Eremo a few hundred metres above.

 

Stephen Jones, Belle Vacanze: (02) 6687 1211 or Click here to send us an email