Cities & Touring - Montefalco & Bevagna
Montefalco, nicknamed the Railing of Umbria, is located on top of a green hill (472 m); from there, one enjoys a spectacular sight hugging the whole Valle Umbra, the wide dale connecting Spoleto to Perugia. Well-known for the production of the internationally-prized wines Rosso di Montefalco, Sagrantino and Sagrantino passito and for the tasty and smooth olive oil, Montefalco is a small town full of art, cradle of the Umbrian Painting School.
The access to the historical center is from Porta S.Agostino (or dello Stradone), the biggest among the four gates opened in the well-preserved walls enclosing the town. The Church of S. Agostino, formerly a Convent, erected between year 1279 and 1285 AD, features a singular oblique facade with an embedded gothic portal and houses valuable paintings on the inside.
The heart of the town is Piazza del Comune, a large space where the routes originating from the four gates converge, flanked by several buildings belonging of the noble families and dominated by the Town Hall. After reaching Piazza del Comune, the most elevated spot of Montefalco, the main road originating from Porta S. Agostino slides down again, leading to the remarkable church of S. Francesco, a recommended stop. The church, erected between year 1335 and 1338 AD, houses the Civic Museum together with splendid frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli and paintings of many Umbrian artists, as Perugino.
The Convent and the Church of S. Fortunato, situated at a little distance from the town, houses other remarkable paintings by Benozzo Gozzoli, dating back to the 15th century.
The ancient town of Bevagna, has pre-Roman origins and is placed at the western margin of the flat where Foligno dwells, contiguous to the feet of the hill where Montefalco rises. The current look is surely the result of the medieval development: in fact, although the Roman had set up the ancient Menania in such way that the Flaminia road formed the Decumanus Maximus (E-W oriented) of the town, today the heart of the city is located more south.
A visit to the beautiful Piazza Silvestri is a must, as this square envelops several impressive buildings: the gothic Palazzo dei Consoli, featuring a singular asymmetry in respect to the cross-shaped roads leading to the square, the Gothic-Romanesque churches of San Silvestro (1195 AD) and San Michele Arcangelo. The Fountain which completes the setting of this exceptional square is a remake of the 19th century. The doors leading, from the city walls, to the inner town are very well preserved, also thanks to some maintenance works in the 18th century.
Here and there are scattered testimonies of the remoter origins of Bevagna: the rests of a temple dating back to the 2nd century BC on whose remains the medieval church of Madonna della Neve was erected, the Roman Theatre (2nd century BC), wrapped by the foundations of a circular building along the ancient Flaminia road, and the beautiful mosaics perhaps enclosed in a thermal building.
Among the most important events arranged in town, worth a particular mention is Mercato delle Gaite, a unique representation of daily life in the Middle Ages that draws inspiration from the ancient division of Bevagna in four districts. Along the roads and in every charming spots of the city, the entire population sets every kind of handicraft workshops, a variety of traditional markets of the 12th century; at night people gather in the old tabernae where one can enjoy good wine and exquisite dishes made accordingly to the old Umbrian cuisine.
Games, shows, concerts, exhibitions and meetings take place during this festivity, all linked to the medieval life.