Montefalco takes its name from the passion for falcon hunting of Frederic II who spent an entire year here in 1249. This is the land of sagrantino, an ancient varietal in its land of birth. From the Latin sacer, a sacred wine for the celebrations of Christian tradition that marked the rhythm of rural life, it was originally consumed in the passita style. Around the middle of the last century it began being made into wine and bottled in the dry style.
Visit the Saint Francis church, now a museum preserving glorious frescoes, as well as the Saint Augustine church and the City Hall. On a walk through the town, among the walls of pink stone and along the paths that descend from the Piazza del Comune, you will be surrounded by the ancient presence of gardens and domesticated vines; inside the Santa Chiara convent one can find sagrantino vines that are several centuries old.
Great souvenirs can be found in artisan textile shops and in wine stores. A taste of local traditional flavours such as strangozzi pasta with goose jus, roasted goose, and ‘ntorta pie, a sweet puff pastry with apples, candied nuts and fruit, all to be tried in combination with the local wines.
Sagrantino PDO and Rosso di Montefalco
Whereas the main component of Rosso di Montefalco is the sangiovese grape, when sipping the Sagrantino PDO wine one experiences a dark wine of wonderful structure with a bold tannin presence, which in its sweet version perfectly balances its harsher tones. Its high level of polyphenols means that the wine can age for a long period.
Carry on up to the slopes of Mount Martani, a renowned winemaking region since ancient Roman times, where trebbiano, grechetto and sangiovese grapes are now cultivated, and at the top of which Castel Ritaldi is located. The village oversees a mainly agricultural land of woods, vineyards and olive trees. Among the most important sites are the Romanesque parish church of San Gregorio, the Madonna della Bruna Renaissance sanctuary and the medieval Santa Maria church. Here as well one can enjoy the Trebbiano Spoletino, produced almost exclusively roughly between Spoleto, Foligno and Montefalco, a fresh and fruity but relatively high alcohol wine of distinct acidity.
Descend towards the village of Giano dell'Umbria, surrounded by medieval walls that maintain traces of Roman heritage, and renowned for its oil: the Umbria Martani Hills PDO oil. Before enjoying the panorama over the whole vast plain of Monte Martano, visit the abbey of San Felice and the church of Saint Francis.