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What to see in Montone

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Discover what to see in Montone 

Surrounded by the state-owned forest of Pietralunga (foresta demaniale),  acknowledged by the Umbrian Region as an S.I.C. (European Community Site of Interest) (Sito di Interesse Comunitario),  with numerous and varied fauna and flora protected in the two Oasi di Varrea and of Candeleto, the old town of Montone still retains its medieval appearance – the urban layout is surrounded by thick defense walls beautified by several municipal towers. When you reach the old city center, you will recognize all the typical aspects of a mountain town sitting atop a hill and presiding over the fertile valleys below. The winding streets alternating with stairs to reach the highest points, tight little squares framed by churches of different periods and what is left of the Rocca di Braccio, the old fortified tower, will be an impressive backdrop to this borgo, ‘frozen’ in its ancient forms.

Not far from the main square you can visit the ex-church and convent of St Frances (ex Chiesa e convent di S. Francesco), which today houses the Municipal Museum and Art Gallery (Museo e Pinacoteca Comunale). Inside are paintings from the 15th century by artists the likes of Bartolomeo Caporali and Antonio Bencvivelli. In the same building there is an unusual modern section dedicated to East Africa, the Museo Etnografico “Il Tamburo Parlante” (the ‘Talking Drum’ Ethnic Museum), with extraordinary examples of art that becomes an instrument of cultural integration. Moving to the south part of the village, you will see another church – the chiesa di Maria Assunta – also known as the Chiesa di S. Gregorio o Collegiale, because in the 1600s it replaced St Gregory’s Church beyond the city walls and became the Bishop’s Seat. Every year on Easter Monday and the second to last Sunday in August, the worshiped religious relic the Sacred Thorn (Sacra Spina) is brought into this church; it is otherwise preserved in the adjacent convent of the Clarisse nuns (the Poor Clares). Continuing your stroll through town towards the city walls, you will find the Rocca di Montone or di Braccio, which is simply the fortified tower, the last remaining part of the majestic residence of the Fortebracci family that survived the devastation ordered by Pope Sixtus IV in 1478. The structure, built as a military fortress and residence, was replaced by the convent of St Catherine d’Alessandria and is now where the city library (Biblioteca Comunale) and the town history archives (Archivio Storico) are kept. The town’s glorious past blends in nicely with modern times thanks to the knowledgeable activities of the local administration.

If you think what we have told you so far is enough, think of it as just a starter –or antipasto – of what this small charming town has to offer.

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