Visit Date: May 4, 2019, approximately 3:00 p.m.
This was the last most beautiful village in Italy on this trip. Montefalco, located in the heart of Umbria, is famous for its wine. The wines made from the Sagrantino grape, a variety unique to the region, are very full-bodied and have a bright taste and color.
Famous for its wine and the most beautiful villages in Italy
Three days before this date, I had stayed in a hotel with a good restaurant in Montone, a village in Umbria not far from Montefalco, and sommelier at the restaurant in the hotel recommended the Sagrantino de Montefalco to us. It was really impressed us with its deep and powerful taste, which I had never experienced before.
This was the wine we had at that time.
And a few days later, when we were looking for the next beautiful village, we found out that Montefalco was classified as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Moreover, it was only 15 minutes away from the World Heritage Site “The Little Temple of Clitunno (Italian Longobards: Footprints of Power)” where I visited just before coming here.
As we approached Montefalco, we could see the vast vineyards and olive groves around us and they made us excited. Then we arrived at this beautiful village on a small hill, partly surrounded by a wall. There was a huge public parking lot about 10 meters away from the village wall. It was a space that seemed to be able to park 30 large tourist buses, although no tourist bus was parked when we arrived. Anyway, I thought that here were one of the most famous wine region in the region so that many tourists came here.
After parking our car, we moved from the parking lot to the side with the castle gate through the underpass. When we went through the gate, we could see gentle uphill continuing to the center of the village.
As going straight, we arrived at the central square of the village. Along the way, there was a series of enotecas, cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops on both sides of the road. This made me feel again that there are many tourists.
Arriving at the square, we had a light lunch as we had only eaten breakfast that day. We were staying at a luxurious auberge this evening, so we kept it light. We had a grass of a local wine, Sagrantino.
The central square was wider than I expected and surrounded by old and European-looking buildings including the City Hall.
In the village, there is the church of San Francesco, which was built in the 15th century (Assisi is very close to here, by the way). The church is a museum (Museo Civico di San Francesco) and we were able to see religious paintings owned by the church for a fee. We were also able to see the inside of the church, which was very beautiful, although photography was not allowed.
In addition, wine tasting was included in the admission fee to this museum. However, we didn’t buy any wine here because we had decided to go to a cave on the outskirts of the village as described later.
The opposite side of the parking lot seemed to be the main gate. From here we could see the vast vineyards and olive groves of Umbria.
A visit to the carve of the wine we received in Montaigne
After a quick tour of the village, we went to a cave on the outskirts of the village to buy some souvenir wine. When I looked up on Google Maps, I found that the famous Montefalco wine carvings are scattered around the outskirts of the village. Among them, there was the cave of this wine that we had experienced in the village of Montone, so we decided to visit it. As far as I could find on the internet, the caves were open on this day.
The cave was only a few minutes from the village.
We found it without any problem, but the entrance was closed. However, as some one inside noticed our presence, they opened the automatic door so that we were able to go inside. After parking the car in front of the house, several winemakers approached us and asked us in English whether we were businessmen or wine lovers. We answered “We are wine lovers.
According to them, they were planning to close here for a while in order to recover the buildings. But They opened it just as we came to visit. We were very lucky.
They asked us several simple questions, such as where we came from. We told them we were from Tokyo, Japan.
And then I told him that I had a bottle of your wine at a restaurant in a small village in Umbria few days ago and that it was very impressed. They thanked us very happily and asked us where the restaurant was. Although we couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant right away, we could told him that it was in a small village called Montone. As soon as he recognized the village, he seemed to remember the name of the restaurant right away.
Apparently, because of the limited production, they are very selective about who they offer their quality wines to. I guess this is probably common as every winemaker does.
A man of the cave asked us whether I wanted to see how it was made. Off course we said “yes”. Then, he took me to the brewing facility in the basement. We took the stairs to the basement. At the entrance, there is a PC here. They seemed to be managing everything here.
The door opening and closing, lighting, etc. seemed to be operated by a tablet, and it was much more modern than I had imagined. The person who guided us was quite young and spoke very good English, and I believed he was highly educated.
We were able to hear again from him at this production site that due to the volume of production, they keep and produce the good quality and good vintage separately.
After the guide, we had a brief tasting. These are probably for first-time visitors, but they were very good. And we decided to buy bottles of Sagrantino wine. We were welcomed with smiles all the way until we left the cave, which was very nice.
I’m not sure if this wine is available in Japan, I’d love to buy it if I found it. However I wonder we can find Sagrantino in Japan very often for now.
The most beautiful village in Italy at the end of this trip was really wonderful, both for the village scenery and the wine.