27 Mar #cadinieritours in Montone
This week’s itinerary leads to Montone, a small medieval village, nestled in the green hills of the Upper Tiber Valley just 22 km from Ca’ di Nieri.
Named in 2003 as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Montone was founded in the 10th century and in 1368 was the birthplace of Andrea – Braccio – Fortebracci, one of the greatest captains of fortune of the time. In 1473, his son Charles defeated the Turks in the service of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, which rewarded him with a thorn from the crown of Christ, which he in turn brought to Montone, decreeing its feast on Easter Monday.
The legend says that the Thorn blossomed on Good Friday, giving off a very sweet perfume. The relic’s appeal was so great, the pilgrims so numerous, that in the early 1600s, for reasons of public order, a second exhibition was ordered.
Today, the Feast of the Holy Thorn is celebrated, with a series of historical re-enactments, on Easter Monday and the penultimate Sunday of August.
The sacred relic is kept by the Poor Clares of the Convent of Sant’Agnese, a tiny monastery where only 5 cloistered nuns now live. Visiting the adjacent Collegiate Church of San Gregorio, you can listen to them singing songs, hidden behind the grate of their chapel.
Continuing the visit, where one of the six castles built to defend the village once stood, there is the Church of San Francesco. Simple and essential in its architecture, inside there are remarkable fifteenth-century frescoes, commissioned by the Fortebracci family to embellish what was their private church at the time.
In the second week of July, Montone welcomes the Umbria Film Festival, an evocative international film festival whose free screenings give rise to cultural debates between guests and the public, in a unique landscape setting.
In 2010 Terry Gilliam, famous American director and a regular of the festival, received the honorary citizenship of Montone.