The history of Montone, which begins in the 9th century, is intimately connected with the vicissitudes of the Fortebraccio family, which ruled the area. In 1200 the family decided to overcome politically and peacefully the struggles for controlling the territory disputed between Perugia, Gubbio and Città di Castello: it ceded all of its possessions to Perugia and in exchange received the title of "Perugian nobles" and other privileges.
In 1368 the most famous of the Fortebraccios was born in Montone: Andrea, later known as Braccio da Montone, who became one of the most celebrated condottieri. Following his death and after various vicissitudes, Montone became subject to the rule of the Church. It became an autonomous commune once again only after the birth of the Kingdom of Italy (1860).
ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
The building of greatest artistic interest in Montone is the Gothic Church of San Francesco (14th century) with a single nave and polygonal apse. Inside are numerous Umbrian frescoes, some attributed to the master Bartolomeo Caporali, and interesting wooden sculptures. The church is also the home of the Municipal Museum, which holds paintings, silver, and sacred vestments of great artistic value and, on the ground floor, the Ethnographic Museum, with over 600 items from Eastern Africa.
The Municipal Historical Archives, one of the most important in Umbria for its extensive collection of documents, is also in the historic center, in the former convent of Santa Caterina. Another important religious building is the Parish Church of San Gregorio, Montone's oldest church, built in about 1000 AD in the Romanesque-Byzantine style: it has an unusual round apse with frescoes from the Umbrian school.
Also worthy of a visit is the Collegiate Church, built in 1310 and restored during the 17th century; on Easter Monday the relic of the Holy Thorn is put on display. Just outside the center one finds the Rocca d'Aries, an imposing castle which has been returned to its ancient splendor by painstaking restoration work.