Montegabbione; one of the little charming medieval hilltop towns close to the Umbrian and Tuscan border. Mixture of new and old with a lovely view across the fields and forests. Usually omitted from the most obvious tourist itineraries.
The town's primary importance was as a defensive bastion at the northern edge of Orvieto's territories. Its high altitude and its position allowed to control the road leading from Città della Pieve toward Todi.
Although Montegabbione has two old churches — Chiesa di Maria SS. Assunta in Cielo and the 17c Madonna delle Grazie — the main interest of visiting Montegabbione is La Scarzuola. This Franciscan Convent funded by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1218 (he sowed a rose and laurel there and made them turn into a water) and bought by Tomaso Buzzi - very eccentric Italian architect in 1956. For the next 20 years Tomaso planned and erected his own Ideal City just next to the convent. His Ideal City includes 7 theatres very cleverly designed with very different ideas, overloaded with symbols secrets and memories. It creates very interesting relationship between the sacred (the convent) and the profane (the treaters). On the death of Buzzi in 1981 the work has been continued to be carried out thanks to his sketches by Marco and Brian. You can only visit Scarzuola booking the tour and it takes about 2 to 3 hours to visit the whole complex. If you happen to be guided by Brian, I assure you will have 3 hours of joy listening to the stories, memories, references and quotations. You will never forget Scarzuola one you have been there. It is something not to be missed!
Another place not to miss is Eva Bar on the top of Montegabbione. Run by 84 year old Eva is like stepping back in time. It is not an ordinary bar where you just go for a coffee. You run to Eva if you need anything – batteries, pasta, seeds for your garden or a light bulb. She has it all!
Montegabbione is a great place for walking. You can walk to Monte Arale and admire amazing views towards other medieval towns - Monteleone, Citta della Pieve and Parano. If you like you walk even longer you can carry on to Greppolischieto – little medieval hamlet restored in the late 80s by Anna Fendi well known Italian fashion designer. Is a charming place and the view is fantastic. You can see Lake Trasimeno from there. If you happen to be there in late August and early September you can fill yourself with delicious blackberries. Other lovely walk is to Castel di Fiori. Is a good walk on the sunny days as you go mainly through the forest. Every year in August Castel di Fiori organise a week of Festa with food, dancing and star watching. From there you can carry on your walk to Castellieri – enclosure turned to fortification since the Bronze Age and re-used in the middle ages where some Roman tombs have also been found.
Every year Montegabbione people organise fiesta with delicious local food, music and dancing. It goes for days and finishes with a great fireworks display.
If you look for quiet and lovely place to spend your holiday but in the same time be able to quickly get into the stunning cities of Perugia, Orvieto, Cortona, Assisi, Siena, Roma or Florence - Montegabbione is an ideal place. Only 8 km from the motorway A1 but with the absence of its visual and sound pollution.
Written by Burrello Franco - Owner of Property 15395 in Montegabbione, Italy