Originally a medieval town, Montone was already fortified in 1121 and was under the direct control of Perugia which is 40 kilometres distant. The presence of the Fortebraccio family was documented from the 13th century. Andrea Fortebraccio (known as Braccio) was a famous 'condottiero' possibly the most famous of his time. During the first 10 years of the XVth century he created a strong central state in the peninsula, audaciously attempting to create a state that was independent from the power of Papal states. In 1414 Montone was elevated to a contea (county) by the 'anti-pope' Giovanni XXIII and Braccio received an investiture for himself and his descendants. 10 years later the investiture was repeated and bestowed upon Braccios's son Carlo, this time by the 'legitimate' pope, Martino V. Carlo, flowing his father's footsteps, fought for the Venetian republic and for his services received a thorn from Christ's crown. The precious relic was sent to Montone and the Festa della Santa Spina was initiated, an event that is still celebrated every Easter Monday. The legend says that as the returning soldiers began to approach Montone with the thorn, the bells in the town began to ring by themselves. The veneration of the thorn was extremely fervid, so much so that in 1638, due to the enormous interest by pilgrims, a second viewing was organised on the penultimate Sunday of every August. Today a week of celebrations accompany the events and the three zones of the town compete against each other in various ways in order to recreate the medieval atmosphere.
In addition to traditional events such as the Donazione della Santa Spina and the Feste del Bosco in the Autumn, there is the now well established Umbria Film Festival where one might brush shoulders with the likes of Terry Gilliam, Mike Figgis, Ralph Fiennes, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Stephen Frears.
Describing the panorama from this pretty townhouse as spectacular is in no way an exaggeration. With a view, through the artist's eye, of the Umbrian hills in the distance as well as the roof tops of Montone spread out at its feet, this adorable property is small but perfectly formed.
A characteristic stone paved street leads up to the front door and then drops down by a series of steps, so one side the property is pretty much at street level whilst the other is high above the ground. The front door opens up into the open plan kitchen, dining and living area with both the barrel vaulted ceiling and the floor constructed in traditional terracotta bricks. French doors lead onto a lengthy, metre wide balcony which runs along the elevated side of the building.
Steep wooden stairs lead up to the first floor corridor with access to the bathroom, a medium sized box room for storage and the central heating boiler, and the most striking room in the property: the bedroom. With floor to ceiling glass doors which slide along two walls, the view from this room is truly spectacular. In fact you are almost in the view. A second balcony, directly above the one on the floor below, leads to the luxuriously tiled bathroom with walk-in shower and contemporary fittings. For the less adventurous the bathroom can be accessed from inside the apartment. The corridor, box room and bedroom have wooden floors and the bathroom floor is tiled.
Restored in accordance with antiseismic regulations and with mains gas central heating, air con on both floors,an electricity supply and mains water and drainage, this gem of a house is ready to move into. Montone is beautiful. Located on a hill-top it was originally a medieval town, it was already fortified in 1121 and is has now been voted as one of the Borghi Piu Belli d'Italia. In addition to the numerous, traditional annual events such as the Donazione della Santa Spina and the Feste del Bosco in the Autumn, there is the now well established Umbria Film Festival where one might brush shoulders with the likes of Terry Gilliam, Mike Figgis, Ralph Fiennes, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Stephen Frears.