Thanks to its enchanting geographic position, at the top of a charming hill (473 metres) rising up in the centre of the Clitunno, Topino and Tevere valleys, the city is known as the "Balcony of Umbria".
It is equally celebrated for the frescoes in its churches, which make it an essential reference for understanding Umbrian painting. Moreover, its sanctuaries are, for religious tourism, an important part, almost all still to be discovered, of Umbrian spirituality. Montefalco has been an inhabited centre since remotest antiquity. Probably a rural district, the memory of its past is preserved in a rare epigraph of the 'marone' (an ancient Umbrian magistrate). During the Roman period the hill was populated by patrician villas, the memory of which is preserved in local place names: Assegnano, Camiano, Colverano, Rignano, Satriano, Vecciano. Numerous inscriptions and sculptures (Municipal Museum, Cloister of San Fortunato) stand as evidence, despite much scattering, of the most ancient, least known, period.
Christianity in Montefalco
Christianity was introduced, one assumes, by Saint Fortunato, the area's evangelizer, who lived in the fourth century. The Spoleto bishop Spes consecrated a basilica over his sepulchre, commissioned by the magister militum Severo (early fifth century). This church became the parish church of a vast territory, well-documented from the eleventh century on.
The Middle Ages
The name Montefalco
The Municipal Statute was recorded, with a retroactive value of at least fifty years, for the first time in 1282. It was then revised on many occasions, until the final version in 1425.
Before the Renaissance
Montefalco the City
In 1848, after the expansion of the municipal territory with the aggregation of the castles of Fabbri, Fratta and San Luca, split from Trevi, after pontifical reinstatement (1812) Montefalco was bestowed by Pio IX (former archbishop of Spoleto) the coveted title of 'city'.
Illustrious Montefalco Natives
The city is traditionally recognised as the birthplace of eight saints, including the celebrated Augustinian mystic Santa Chiara della Croce (1268 - 1308). It was also the birthplace of the poet Nicola da Montefalco (fifteenth century) author of a book of love poetry, il Filenico (an autograph copy is kept in the Classense Library in Ravenna); the painter Francesco Melanzio (1460-1519), follower of Perugino and Pintoricchio; the cardinal Giovanni Domenico de Cuppis, decan of the Sacro Collegio, many times predicted pope in the conclaves he participated in, the priest Don Brizio Casciola (1896-1954), friend of illustrious figures (Sabatier, Fogazzaro, Pascoli, etc.). Montefalco also hosted within its walls Pope Julius II in 1507, and was chosen as the adopted city of the celebrated musician and singer Domenico Mustafà (1829 - 1912), former perpetual conductor of the Sistine Chapel..