Cerreto's strategic position made it the cause of bitter disputes between Spoleto and Norcia in the Middle Ages. Most of the village's history occurred within the orbit of the Duchy of Spoleto, and later the Papal States, until the birth of the Kingdom of Italy.
ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
The historic center has preserved stretches of its medieval walls and the Civic Tower, and also has a number of fine religious buildings, such as the former monastery of San Giacomo. Founded between 1100 and 1200, today the monastery is beautifully renovated, and has frescoes from the Umbrian school dating from the 14th to the 16th centuries. The ex-monastery is currently the home of the Municipal Historical Archives and of the Cedrav (Center for Anthropological Documentation and Research in the Valnerina and in the Umbrian Apennines), which has extensive multimedia documentation on popular traditions and an interesting collection of household objects and work tools from the past.
Also worthy of attention are: the Renaissance Church of Santa Maria De Libera, with precious frescoes from the Umbria/Marche school; the Church of Santa Maria Annunziata, of medieval origin, which has a baptismal font shaped like an octagonal temple (1546) and a Madonna del Rosario by Felice Damiani (1583); and the Church of the Castello (12th century), with a fresco from the school of Perugino.
Situated along the state road running below the hamlet is the attractive village of Borgo Cerreto, where remains of the defense walls and towers can still be seen. Also at Borgo Cerreto is the Church of San Lorenzo, built in the Gothic style in the 13th century, which has a Crucifixion (early 14th century), a Madonna Enthroned and Saints dating from 1507, and the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence (mid-15th century) on the high altar. Nearby, in Ponte, is the notable Church of Santa Maria Assunta, a Romanesque parish church with a rectangular façade with a handsome rose window and a double row of arches. One essential sight that is also in the vicinity, near the village of Ruscio, is the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Stella, a 17th-century Augustinian hermitage, with a church and the cells of the hermits in the rock.