For its geographical position the town of Montefalco is known as the “Balcony of Umbria” rising up in the centre of the Clitunno, Topino and Tevere valleys. Montefalco has always been the land of wine, as testified by the beautiful frescoes painted by Benozzo Gozzoli in the apse of St. Francis Church, which in the 15th century portrayed the medieval village surrounded by vineyards loaded with grapes.
Originally Montefalco was probably a rural village inhabited by Umbria populations. During the Roman period patrician villas populated the hill, the memory of which is preserved in local place names: Assignano, Camiano, Colverano, Rignano, Satriano, Vecciano. Numerous inscriptions and sculptures stand as evidence in the Municipal Museum. Since 1180 there’s evidence of the Cocoroni (or coronis) Castrum which was already a free comune in the XII century.
Towards the end of 1249 the name of the town was modified from Coccorone to the current name of Montefalco which, according to local tradition, was in homage to Frederick the II for his passion for hunting with the peregrine falcon. Indeed, the emperor had resided in Montefalco in 1240 to organize the resistance of the cities which were loyal to him, against the Pope.
Between 1320 and 1325 Montefalco was the preferred seat of the papal governors of the Duchy of Spoleto. Later, between 1379 and 1424 and from 1438 to 1439 Montefalco ended up under the dominion of the Trinci from Foligno. Returned to the Church it was governed for a short time by Niccolò Maurizi from Tolentino, who reorganized its administration and subdivided the territory into four districts.
From then Montefalco faced a remarkable civil, artistic and cultural development, which in 1527 was brusquely interrupted when it was sacked by soldiers led by Orazio Baglioni and because of the subsequent pestilences. In 1848 the municipal territory was extended with the aggregation of the Castles of Fabbri, Fratta and San Luca dismembered from Trevi as result of the papal restoration of 1812, and Montefalco also in exchange of an early work of Benozzo Gozzoli, until then preserved in the San Fortunato Church, was granted by Pio IX (former archbishop of Spoleto) the desirable title of “city”.
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