Somewhere upon gentle hills and in the middle of the Umbrian Valley, that goes from the ancient Roman and then medieval town Spoleto to the well-known San Francis' hermitage of Assisi, stands what is often named the "Balcony of Umbria". It's Montefalco, and you can easily guess why it has been so called. It's because of its exceptional vantage point above the Umbrian plain, from which you can have a breathtaking 360-degree view of the surrounding panorama, just like Herman Hesse, Gabriele D'Annunzio and many other artists and poets did in time. In fact, Montefalco was built atop a hill so that the location itself would be the very first element of defense. Walking past the ancient walls is like stepping through a time warp and ending up in the Middle Age times. At the top of it all, the circular square of the town was also the centre of the local life.

One of the most interesting Montefalco's attractions is the Museo Civico di San Francesco, located in a former church. Erected for the Franciscans between 1335 and 1338, it was mostly adorned by local artists as Perugino, Giovanni di Corraduccio and Tiberio d'Assisi, though the main apse and the triumphal arch were frescoed by the then mysterious Tuscan artist Benozzo Gozzoli, more than a century later, in 1452. His vivacious colors are spectacular and represent twelve scenes from the life of St. Francis, so with figures of saints and historical personages adorning the walls, the arches and the vault, whilst St. Francis himself appears in the ovals along with his twelve disciples. Just like his tomb in the old church of Assisi, these scenes could move anyone. The church also keeps a small but proficiently conserved picture gallery, completely restored since the early Nineties. The wonderful collection features paintings by Umbrian artists. Not that far, the small gothic church of Sant'Agostino is another must-see. It was built around the same period (13th century) and it shows a certain dark taste architecture that is not so usual in central and Southern Italy.

Then of course, in the last decades Montefalco has become popular for his wines, most especially Sagrantino…