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What to do in Montone

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Discover what to do in Montone 

Once you have explored the beautiful town center and visited the museum, art gallery and archives, the only thing left to do is go and admire the breathtaking views of the valley below. Just six kilometers away from the town, following an unkept path that real trekkers may appreciate, stands the ancient Pieve di S. Gregorio (St Gregory Church) from the 11th century. From here you can admire the massive city walls and the Rocca di Aries (Ram Tower), a military outpost that tradition holds was the first settlement of the Fortebracci family who built the tiny town of Montone.

You can hike, cycle or ride horses through uncontaminated nature in the Cerro and Roverella woods; or you can fish in the Carpina and Lana streams. If that is not enough, this jewel in Umbria still has something to awe you. Eight kilometers from Montone is a tiny almost forgotten hamlet called Coloti, where there is an observatory (Osservatorio Astronomico), one of the finest in Italy.  The observatory has twelve rooms, eight of which are open to the public. You will be towered over by a huge dome seven meters in diameter that contains a telescope. Say, if you tire of seeing earthly wonders, you now have the opportunity to admire the heavens.

Don’t let its small size, its hidden position among the vegetation, and its old appearance fool you; between May and June Montone becomes the center of important events that attract tourists from all over Italy.

Every two years in the month of May, the Rassegna dei Mastri Fabbri Forgiatori (a master ironsmith and metalworker festival) puts on show the particular craftsmanship of these artisans, a precious resource of the area. There are wrought-iron works and forged articles that are examples of the prestigious quality of the work. Art in all its forms can be seen at another festival, the Rassegna Bandistica, an event from June to September that hosts the best bands from Umbria and around Italy. Tra Cielo e Terra (between Heaven and Earth) is dedicated to shows of music, dance and theater (June-July), and finally there is the Montone Umbria Film Festival dedicated to the cinema.

The more devotional should not miss the fete dedicated to the Donazione della Spina (the Holy thorn) on Easter Monday and the week following that of the 15th of August. The town streets fill up with medieval singers and dancers in period costume, a lavish banquet is organized in the Rocca di Braccio, and there is a lovely parade of medieval ladies and knights and soldiers in period attire to close out the fun.

After arts, crafts and devotion, naturally there are gastronomic events. The Festa del Bosco (Woods fest) in October offers fruits from the Umbrian countryside – from truffles to typical local dishes. Sample it all at the stands and stalls in the city market-exhibit.

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