MTB - A journey in the environs of Città di Castello
Discover parishes, villas, and castles of Umbria
Travelling with one's own car certainly has its advantages: high-volume music, flexible timetables, and an itinerary tailored to one's own desires. Once you have visited Città di Castello, you may decide to also explore the surrounding countryside. And chance has it that this is a rich and varied area with much to offer.
We begin by telling you about the Fontecchio spa, set in a park of centuries-old trees. It is said that the wife of Pliny the Elder used to love to bathe in these waters to keep her beauty intact. Still today, those seeking some relaxation or more specific treatments, or even just a place to jog, can find a haven here.
If you wish to continue by walking among English-style gardens and Mediterranean plants, don't miss the villa and park of Montesca, commissioned by Baron Leopoldo Franchetti and his wife Alice Hallgarten.
In the locality of San Giustino, on the other hand, only 12 km from the town centre, you will find the Bufalini castle, which dates from the second half of the 15th century. Its original function was to defend the lands belonging to the Papal States and bordering with Tuscany and the Marche. Only one century later was it transformed into an aristocratic residence. A bothanical labyrinth and paintings by Gherardi add to the preciousness of this gem.
As a religious destination, we recommend a visit to the sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary located on the hill of Canoscio. The building was erected in the 19th century by architect Giuseppe Baldeschi in the same locality where, centuries earlier, there used to be a chapel. The fresco of the Madonna del Transito decorating the interior of the sanctuary was derived from that earlier structure and repainted by Annibale Gatti.
The Pieve (Parish-house) of Saddi was built in the same place where St. Crescentino was martyred: he was a young Roman soldier who lost his life defending the Christian faith. Also dedicated to him is the oratory in the small town of Morra, wherein one can find the astoundingly beautiful frescos by the painter Luca Signorelli, born in the city of Cortona. Some sketches belonging to this series are preserved in the Uffizi in Florence and in the Louvre in Paris.