Situated in northern Umbria on the border with Tuscany, Citerna is a delightful medieval hamlet set on a hilltop between the Cerfone River Valley and the plain crossed lengthwise by the Sovara Stream. It looks down onto the Tiber Valley. According to various authors the name Citerna could come from cisterns distributed within the town walls that long ago were used to store water.
Citerna's origins are Ancient Umbrian and Etruscan. After conquest by the Romans (coins and clay objects from this period were found between San Fista and Pistrino), the town experienced all those medieval vicissitudes that saw the alternation of various dominations: first the Barbarians and then the various local families.
In 1221, Citerna swore loyalty to Città di Castello in exchange for protection against the surrounding communes, and reflected the historical events of that town until Citerna became part of the Papal States (1463). In the early 1500s Citerna was given as a vicariate to the Vitelli family of Città di Castello, who held it until the end of the century. It then became the first Umbrian town to become part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.
ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
From the terrace of the Rocca, a fortress of Longobard origin, one can see Mount Verna and Mount Fumaiolo which is the source of the Tiber River: following the course of the river ones comes to the hamlet of San Sepolcro and other towns of the Upper Tiber River.
From the north-west facing tower, beyond the round Cassero keep, can be seen the Cerfone River Valley that leads to Arezzo. In the historical centre worthy of a visit, is the church of San Michele Arcangelo, that contains the excellent Crocifissione painted on a panel by Pomarancio; the 15th century Palazzo Vitelli with its rich furnishings; and the church of San Francesco (1316), with a tempera on board Deposizione by Pomarancio and Cristo in Gloria by Raffaellino del Colle.
On exiting the church we find the small Palazzetto Prosperi, with the 16th century Sala del Camino known as the "the lovers room". Beyond this is a small archway that leads to the charming medieval walk that follows the perimeter of the town walls.
To be seen in the vicinity is the ex-monastero del SS. Crocifisso (16th century) in Cerecchio; and the church of Santa Maria and Santo Stefano in Pistrino. Near to Citerna is the hamlet of Fighille that was an important ceramics production centre in the Middle Ages.
The roads that wind up the hill to Citerna offer fantastic views of the Umbrian and Tuscan Upper Tiber Valley and are a worthy introduction to this medieval hamlet.