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Montone - A Small Town in Umbria

Margie from MA

Montone, in and of itself, fills me with more peace and pleasure than any other place I have known.

Location

As for its location and base for touring, I find Montone to be remarkably well-located for day trips to great towns and other wonders. It is tucked away 5 min from the E45 - the major N/S motorway in Umbria. One fine thing is, you can't see Montone from the highway - so there are no passers-by saying "ooo - what's that? - let's go there!" The E45 becomes the convenient fast route to many places, but there are wondrous white roads thru the countryside to lovely locations, as well.

Some sample driving times in MINUTES from Montone to nearby towns:

  • Gubbio - 30
  • Assisi - 35
  • Perugia (to the top) - 30
  • Cortona - 35
  • Citta di Castello - 15
  • Sansepulcro - 20
  • Anghiari - 30

These are all fabulous places within about a half hour's drive or less that you'll want to visit again and again. (And, by the way, these are all places I chose to visit while staying in vacation rentals in various locations in Tuscany in past years.) One hour or less will put you DEEP in the heart of Tuscany or The Marche, or Arezzo or Todi, just to give you an idea of different points on the widening circle.

And then the great thing is - you get to come home to Montone! In the piazza, lively little Montone has a post office, 2 caffes, a bank w/ATM, a newspaper/magazine/local crafts, etc. shop, and a linen shop. There is Guido's butcher shop. He also has pasta, wine, the local bread, and much more. Guido makes (really, really good) porchetta on Tuesdays. There is also a farmacia. There is a new vegetable shop that's just opened about 2 doors up the street from my house. How convenient is that for hauling bottles of acqua minerale home? Getting fruit for breakfast? Going back for more vegetables while cooking at the same time? I'm thrilled about this new development!

Restaurants

Across the "street" from me, down a little walkway, there is a Sardinian taverna. One of their specialties is porchedu - roast suckling pig (usually ordered in advance) - and they have a full menu, good antipasti, Sardinian pasta, etc., and outdoor dining on the medieval wall with views out over the valley.

A few steps off the piazza is the Locanda del Capitano, a tiny hotel and upscale restaurant with elegant indoor dining and a lovely outdoor dining terrace - owned and operated by a charming and out-going Italian, English-speaking couple. Gian Carlo has fabulous wines and can hook you up with great Umbrian wineries as well as organize truffle hunts and cooking classes, etc.

Right outside the lower gate into the town there is a pizzeria/trattoria with good basic pasta, mixed grill, and nighttime pizza. (and another butcher, vegetable shop, flower shop, alimentari, the baker, and a gas station.)

There's a pizza by-the-slice place in town, too.

Claudio, the owner of the Herba Luna Caffe in the piazza, has been renovating his 2nd floor which years ago housed one of the best restaurants in Umbria. I haven't gotten the final word on what this new restaurant will feature.

Both caffes offer food - the piazza is now filled with tables and chairs, and you don't pay a surcharge for the privilege of sitting there. In fact, you can just sit there and write postcards and not buy a thing!

Festivals

Coming up this summer (2002) are two festivals.

  • July 9th to 14th is a film festival presided over by Terry Gilliam. The screen is set up in the piazza ... kind of a medieval "walk-in"! There is a web site with last year's film festival schedule which included a few premieres! This is a great thing. See the links section at the bottom.
  • August 12th to 18th is the Donazione Della Santa Spina - Montone's medieval competition and pageantry between its 3 regions.

At the end of October is the Festa del Bosco.

Just last weekend (usually the last one in May) was the Festa Della Forgiatura hosted by our local gifted blacksmith. This one is perhaps my favorite.

Other Activities

I could go on about horseback riding, great walks, swimming, and golf, and on and on. ... or the weekly town choir rehearsals held right across the street from my house - their glorious harmonies wafting thru the evening air - heavenly.

Links

penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/: Bill Thayer's page for Montone

www.umbriavirtualtour.it: Umbria Virtual Tour.  I don't know if the following site has been listed here. It lists lots of visual arts, cultural, and musical festivals and events in Umbria, month by month, in Italian.

www.sistemamuseo.it: Sistema Museo. A system of museums in Umbria. You can click on each town to see something about its museum (in Italian). Here you'll find a bit about Montone's Museo Comunale. I know that you can buy a ticket that will admit you to all of the museums within a certain short length of time, but I don't know what it is in euro. Seems to me it isn't twice what the admission to one museum costs.

www.tamburoparlante.com: Ethnographic Museum. For more information about, and a virtual tour of, the Ethnografic museum in Montone which you can also visit with the same ticket in the same complex in the Ex Convento di S. Francesco.

www.montone.net: Montone Film Festival. You can access last year's Montone film festival schedule (to give you an idea of what it's all about).

www.montone.info: Montone Information. Site that has information about Montone and festivals - you can get to the film festival this way, too. It has some fun photos if you click on all the stuff.

Vacation Rentals

Link to Casa Sora Chiara: Margie's beautiful house in Montone (3bed/3.5bath).

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