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Self-guided tour

Pietralunga
Historical centre and surroundings
Self-guided tour

Environment
History
Folklore

Welcome to Pietralunga, a small village in Umbria 564 mts above sea level. It rises on a pleasant hill at the back of the Apennines that run through the Marche and Umbria regions, in the Upper Tiber Valley and more precisely in the Carpina Valley. The Carpina, a left tributary of the river Tiber, rises in the territory of Pietralunga, runs through the commune of Montone and merges with the Tiber at the height of the town of Umbertide.
The village of Pietralunga, that is member of the Authentic Hamlet Association, offers many interesting historical, naturalistic and environmental aspects. The historical centre is picturesque and enchanting; it presents an ancient medieval structure with typical narrow lanes converging on a single square.
The side of the centre degrading down the hill is surrounded by well preserved town walls. The upper side is protected by an imposing pentagonal tower, commonly called “ Rocca” (Fortress).
The village has its origins in the prehistoric period, however the foundation of the urban centre with the name of Tufyernu dates back to the period of the Umbrian population. Later it was known with the name of Forum Julii Concupiensium during the flourishing Roman period, of which some important pieces of evidence still remain. The village was destroyed during the Barbaric invasions and was rebuilt between the VIth and VIIIth centuries A.D. in the same position it has now.
The pentagonal defense tower, the Rocca, was built in the Lombard period, subsequently the tower was transformed into a fortified hamlet hosting a great number of people and developing, little by little, into a real citadel.
With the passing of time the territory became a populated and flourishing area with the name of Pratalonga.
It was a free commune from the XIth to the XIVth century, afterwards it allied with Città di Castello and then it was subdued to its rule. In the 1817 it was granted the status of a Commune.

Typical products
The truffle is the most important typical product of the village including three varieties: the most valuable white truffle harvested from September to December, the spring truffle called” bianchetto”( whitish) harvested from January to April and the black truffle picked up from June to July.
Pietralunga can legitimately be considered an excellent territory for truffles. It is proved by the large number of visitors coming every year to the Truffle and Potato Fair held in the second weekend of October.
The truffle from Pietralunga is exported all over Europe, the USA, Asia and Russia and is the base forimportant processing activities for the local population.
The “Potatoes from Pietralunga” are also well known and appreciated thanks to their incomparable and fine pulp, ideal for preparing delicious local dishes such as the “gnocchi”, execllent if flavoured with truffles.
In this territory a large number of “viscioli” are grown, they are trees producing a type of wild cherries that blended with a genuine red wine give a traditional fortified wine. A large number of families use to make it every year; the wine has an intense ruby red colour with purplish highlights and is mainly paired with desserts but can also be tasted with seasoned cheeses flavoured with herbs or game and braised meat.
Recipes from the traditional cuisine from Norcia are still used in the processing of cold pork meat or salami offering a savoury and genuine taste.

Main Events

Palio della Mannaia (The Axe festival)
Second Sunday in August
It is the most important event in Pietralunga that commemorates the miracle of the “axe” that occurred on 11th September 1334.
The people in Pietralunga are actively involved in this celebration and stand for the quarter team they belong to. The teams challenge each other to win in the cart race ( called Corsa al biroccio); in turn the they have to push a heavy cart from the entrance to the village up to the main square by running as fast as possible. The cart represents the means of transport used in the past to carry people sentenced to death. The miracle tells that once a wayfarer, Giovanni di Picardia, who departed from France bound to Lucca to see the relic of the Holy Face, was sentenced to death for a crime he had not committed. He was miraculously saved because the blade of the executioner’s axe turned to the opposite side of the cut right at the moment of execution.
The village is adorned for the festival and the lanes of the historical centre come to life with artisanal workshops, inns and taverns following the medieval way of life. Visitors can admire and also buy local handicrafts and taste traditional local dishes served with utmost care and hospitality.

The potato and truffle exhibition
Second Sunday in October
It’s an event not to be missed for the gourmets who enjoy the typical delicacies of the cuisine in Pietralunga. A wide variety of local products and delicious dishes flavoured with truffles are offered by the local restaurants, inns and by the various stands set up on occasion of the event.
Apart from truffles and potatoes, a wide range of typical culinary specialties is offered such as various kinds of cold pork meat, honey, jam, wood products and many others. In addition the festival is enriched with a series of small attractive theme events.

For information: Comune di Pietralunga

Phone +39 075 9460296
Local Tourist Information: comune@pietralunga.it

The territory of Pietralunga
The ancient hamlet of Pietralunga
The Roman road
The church of St Mary of the Graces in Castelfranco
Pieve de’ Saddi (The church of the Saddi)
The ornithological museum
The shrine of our Lady of Remedies
The woods in the Rosso and Sodolengo mountains
The woods of Pietralunga
The oasis in Candeleto
The oasis in Varrea
Towards Apecchio
Towards Pianello – Cagli
Towards Umbertide-Montone

1. The Ancient Castle (a military fortress)
La rocca longobarda

The itinerary starts from Piazza Fiorucci (Fiorucci square), opposite the Castle ruins.
Here we can admire what remains of the entrance to the ancient fortress, that was built in the Lombard period, around the VIII th century A.D. It was the bailiff seat and a military outpost, the pentagonal donjon was used for sighting and defense. It is commonly called “ Rocca” (fortress).

 

 

2. The Fiorucci Palace
stemma casata fiorucciOn the other side of the square we can admire the Fiorucci Palace. It was built on the city walls in 1612 by Giovan Giacomo Fiorucci, called “ Il Magnifico” ( The Glorious”) and by his brother Don Orazio, archpriest of the village. The Fiorucci lineage has its origins in the country side of Pietralunga (Campo Collici in the hamlet of Collantico). Inside the building it is possible to admire a splendid fireplace, over which the family coat of arms has pride of place.

 

3. The Communal Palace.
borgoIt stands opposite the Fiorucci Palace , on its portal we can admire a second coat of arms of the Fiorucci Family. It comes from the small church in Collantico and was added to the portal a hundred years ago. The palace was built, between 1498 and 1502, on a part of the central section of the Lombard fortress. It was commissioned by the Lord archpriest Giulio Vitelli, to be used as seat for the arch pretorship representation. Later on, from the XVII th century to the year 1888 it was used by the order of the Knights of Malta. At that time it became the seat of the town hall of Pietralunga. Inside the building, in the main rooms, some fireplaces are still preserved with carvings displaying the Coat of Arms of the Vitelli, the most important family who ruled Città di Castello in the Renaissance period, between the XV and XVI centuries.

4. St Mary’s Parish Church.
pietralunga2At the end of the square the majestic St. Mary’s Parish Church rises.
It was founded around the VII th and VIII th centuries. The present façade of the church is the result of a change made to the structure at the beginning of the XX th century. In order to create a new entrance on the side of the Fiorucci square the apse of the church was pulled down and the original entrance was walled up.
The interior of the church presents an irregular rectangular plant with a plain unadorned single nave interrupted by huge ridges supporting ogival vaults.
On the right wall of the nave there is an interesting fresco attributed to Raffaellino del Colle; depicting “St Sebastian’s martyrdom”; inside the chansel of the church, a copy of the polyctyc by Ottaviano Nelli is preserved. He was a famous eugubine painter of the XV th century. It is a masterpiece, that came from the Church of St Augustine, was transferred to the National Gallery of Umbria in Perugia.
-The Bell Tower
Continuing towards the left side entrance of the church we can see the massive bell tower structure, built in 1933.
-The Gonfalon Church.
Opposite the entrance to the bell tower it is possible to see the church of the gonfalon that is no longer officiated. There, in the past centuries , the General Councils of the community were also held.
-The Romanesque Portal
A few steps forward, on the right side we can admire the upper church rose window and the impressive Romanesque portal, that until the end of the XIXth century, was the main entrance of the Church, Unfortunately, in July 1944, during World War II, a grenade seriously hit this interesting work of art, with irreparable damages, that can be seen on the upper left side of the portal.
On the right side, at the height of about three metres, a gothic inscription bears witness of the ancient origin of the building:
CORRUIT HAEC PLEBS SUB CHRISTI MILLEDUCENTIS ET SEMPTEM DENIS ADIUNCTIS HIISQUE NOVENIS ET REPARATA FUIT SUB EODEM TEMPORE CHRISTI HUIUS RECTOR ERAT UGOLINUS NOMINE DICTUS
This church fell down in 1279 and was immediately repaired in the period when Ugolino was archpriest.

5. The Palace of the Captain of the people
5 . PalazzoCapitanoContinuing along Via della Pieve , past the parish garden, we reach the Palace of the Captain of the people that stands on the right. It was built in the early XV century, and was the seat of the judge Captain, of the Citadel government, of the civil and criminal court and of the gales located in the basement.
In the upper part of the Palace, recently restored and well preserved, we can admire the ancient city walls that encircled the historic centre.
-St. Mary steps
Scalette S.MariaIf we descend down the stairs of Via Santa Maria that connect the upper part of the citadel to the second level we will be in the heart of the historical centre that is Corso Matteotti (Once Via della Banca). Its origins date back to the year 1599 and until the 1950s it played a very important role as it was the hub for commercial and artisanal activities.

 

6.Wealthy and noble Palaces (in Corso Matteotti)
Palazzi SignoriliContinuing on the right we can see some palaces of noble and wealthy families that played important roles in the history of Pietralunga:
The palace of the “Felicchi” and the “Bonori” families with the coat of arms of Beato Buccio Bonori born in Pratalonga in 1323, he was an expert in law who gave judgments about various issues. He was in charge of the law administration in the local court. The priors and the Council of People asked him to solve serious judicial issues in Città di Castello. He became a very famous Bishop in the XIV th cent (4th May 1358 – 26th August 1374). He had also to solve the controversy between the Guelphs and Ghibellines.
The weapon of the Felicchi family is the coat of arms with the lions and the cross. The others show a pastoral and a mitra.
-The House of the Urbani family with the Latin inscription on the portal: ab Urbanis Urbana semper”.
– The house of the Martinelli family, a complex and elegant building located at the corner between Corso Matteotti and Via S.Agostino.

7. The Cassino Gate
Porta del CassinoA few steps forward we turn on the right and see the Cassino Gate, so called because in the past it was a guard post (called cassino) where, in turn, soldiers guarded the entrance to the fortress.
There were three gates but this is the only one still preserved.
If we go out of the gate, on the right side of the walls, it is still possible to see the defense and control loopholes; on the left the following inscription can be read: Sumptibus huius oppidi ac tributis aliorum subditorum locorum. It refers to the rebuilding of the castle walls, in 1599, with the contribution from the town and all the territories subdued.
From the front balcony, we can enjoy a wide view on the green landscape that surrounds Pietralunga.
According to specific building guidelines, all those who practiced the same artisanal activity could own a workshop in the same quarter. Therefore in ancient Pratalonga there was: the quarter of blacksmiths, butchers and bakers in Via del Forno, the quarter of carpenters, in Via S. Agostino, the quarter of dyers, leather goods artisans and shoemakers in Via S. Agostino and in Via dell’Ospedale, the quarter of weavers, merchants and bankers in Via della Banca. Many of the workshop signs can still be seen in the different streets.

8. St. Augustine Monastery
8 - SantagostinoGoing back for a few metres we will see, on the right, the imposing complex of S. Agustine Monastery dating back to the XIII th century. It played a central role in the social and religious life of Pietralunga until the XVII th century, when the function was discontinued and transferred to Cantiano a small town in the Province of Pesaro. Here the public school had its seat where regular lessons were given by Augustine friars.
-The Carmine square
We then go down the flight of stairs that border the monastery to reach, in the middle of them, the small square of the Carmine. On the adjacent houses, we can see the typical medieval doors of the “dead” (walled up and opened only to let corpses of dead people pass through), and of the “alive” (ordinary entrance door).
Piazza del CarmineIn the small square of the Carmine there was once the namesake Monastery with the “ spitale degli infermi” (the hospital of the sick) and the church. We continue going down the second part of the stairs and reach Via dell’Ospedale. If we look on the right, at the end of the stairs , we will notice the place where the second gate of Pietralunga was; it was called “ Porta Carraia” because the “carri” (carts) carrying commercial and artisanal merchandise used to enter the town by this gate.

9. The ancient hospital
9 - Casa PaolucciWalking from the end of the stairs for about 50 metres on the left , we will see the building that used to be the seat of the old hospital in Pietralunga from 1756 to 1800.
The building, partly owned by the town hall, has been restored and is now used as the seat of the Centre for Historical Documentation and Historical Archive of Pietralunga.
All along the Via dell’Ospedale it is worth seeing the terraced Medieval buildings with the turreted houses and the lanes leading to the upper levels of the historical centre.

 

10. The Gonfalonier’s Palace
DSC_2911Once we reach the end of Via dell’Ospedale we climb up the first flight of stairs in Via del Bottegone and then we turn left into Via del Forno. Here, at the point where the place widens, it is possible to see an elegant turreted building with arched full-length windows that was once the seat of the Gonfalonier and Camerlingo.

 

 

11.The Clock Tower Palace
Piazza_OrologioFrom there we take the stairs that lead to superior level. On the right side Piazza Principe Amedeo, the thriving hub of the old town opens out. The elegant and sober building soaring above the square is the Palace where the machinery and the bells of the clock were once placed in 1761.
Medieval house
You will not miss to see the well in the centre of the square and at the back of the clock tower palace a small medieval building , that is considered one of the most ancient dwellings in Pietralunga.
The last uphill walking stretch in Corso Matteotti opens to the imposing sight of the Fortress where our itinerary started. Here in Piazza 7 Maggio we can see the modern structure of “ Il Parco della Pace” (The Peace Park) and the Memorial to the Umbrian Partisan.

12. Il Parco della Pace (The Peace Park) and the Memorial to the Umbrian Partisan.
It was designed by the Florentine architect Giovanni Corradetti and it is made up of two levels: the upper level serving as garden, the lower level with specific park functions. At its centre the symmetric white structure of the memorial to the Umbrian Partisan stands out. It was placed here to commemorate the heroic contribution given by the Umbrian population in the fight for
Liberation in World War II.

fuori-le-mura

Beyond the city walls

The ancient hamlet of Pietralunga is immersed in the state-owned forest, Bocca Seriola, an interesting naturalistic area in the region of Umbria.
Here is a walking itinerary outside the town to enjoy beautiful artistic, naturalistic and archeological places.
-The Shrine of our Lady of Remedies
1 - Madonna dei RimediThe church ,where Mass is still celebrated, stands on the county road leading to the town of Umbertide, it’s a few minutes’ drive from the historical centre. The traditional Feast of Our Lady of Remedies is celebrated here on the second Sunday of September. The church was founded to be used as the extra-urban church of Pietralunga. In the IX th century it became a centre for intense devotion to Our Lady after a miraculous event. In the XVII century it was enlarged and embellished with the present architectural structure. The religious tradition tells that Saint Francis spent a night here, during his pilgrimages to La Verna from Assisi and Gubbio.

– Pieve de’ Saddi (The church of the Saddi).
2 - Pieve de' SaddiIt is the most ancient church in the diocese rising at about 15 minutes’ drive far from Pietralunga. It is a typical example of Pre- Christian basilica. The structure, firmly tied to the ground, was built on a crypta, in reduced dimensions compared with the upper level, but in complete harmony with the whole structure. The crypta, where the tomb of Saint Crescenziano was once placed, can be reached by going down a narrow flight of stairs. According to the legend St. Crescenziano, fleeing from the persecution of Diocletian (in 244-311 AD), was martyred in the Saddi area for preaching the Christian faith. Inside the church, on the left wall, a bas-relief depicting St. Crescenziano slaying the dragon is placed. The church is dominated by a tower of the IX th century that, despite lacking the original battlements, rises high and mighty over the valley. Inside the donjon, that presents an extremely elegant design, there is a sort of hallway dating to the XV th century, with small vaults supported by shelves. From there a flight of stairs starts and is dominated, at the top, by the Vitelli family chromed majolica coat of arms dating back to 1521.
A distinct touch to the whole structure is given by a Guelph window, from where it is narrated that bishops used to look out to bless the people that gathered at the Saddi during the Patron Saint Festival.

-The church of St Mary of the Graces in Castelfranco.
Chiesa CastelfrancoChronicles tell that at a short distance from the church , there was a small chapel where a fresco of Our Lady was object of intense and continuous veneration.
“ It was close to four roads that wayfarers used to run to reach Cagli from Città di Castello and to reach other places in the province of Romagna from Gubbio. Here the waters of rivers separate, some of them flow into the Mediterranean sea and some others flow into the Adriatic sea. This small chapel was damaged by the passing of time and after it was rebuilt people’s devotion grew so much as to become a favourite place for our Lady’s frequent grace and miracles”
The elegant VIth century building, rising at about 8 kmts from Pietralunga, is worth visiting also for the breathtaking views we can enjoy on the valleys towards the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian sides.
The church , where Mass is still celebrated, can be reached by car taking the county road to Cagli, Along the way to Castelfranco we can also stop to see the Church of Aggiglioni, another important religious spot in the territory of Pietralunga. Other places worth visiting along the way are: Castelguelfo, a fortified hamlet with it ancient castle, Corniole, a hamlet at the foot of Monte Nerone and Collantico, the birthplace of the Fiorucci and Martinelli families.

-Ancient Roman road
Several sections of Roman roads cross the territory of Pietralunga. The most important is the diverticulum that connected The Upper Tiber Valley to the Flaminia consular road ( not far from Cagli); along the road, partly paved with large stones, capuccina tombs and rural dwellings of high architectural interest are lined up. A section of the road, with sandstone paving, measuring 300 mts in length and 4.30 in width, between San Felice and Caselecchi places, still shows perfectly visible marks of ancient carts’ wheels.

-Naturalistic and ornithological Museum in Candeleto.
In the seat of the forestry Guard Station, located in Candeleto, it is possible to visit free the interesting Scientific Museum founded in 1998 and member of the C.A.M.S- Centre of Perugia University. It houses the unique Zoological Collection Silvio Bambini, counting about 300 species of birds and mammals; it represents almost entirely the Umbro-Marchesan Apennine faunistic heritage and is a source of reference for all those who need or want to deepen their knowledge of the faunistic heritage of the territory.

-The protected areas
The Umbria Region has identified, according to the European Project Nature 2000 , some important naturalistic sites inside the Forest of Pietralunga. They have become protected areas in order to preserve specific wildlife habitats. They are:
1. the woods in Pietralunga , 1,500 hectares in surface, preserved since 1987, including the oasis for the protection of the fauna in Varrea, parts of woods with beech trees and turkey oaks and the highly interesting habitats with Apennine wolves.
2. the woods in the Rosso and Sodolungo mountains, 2,600 hectares in surface, with the presence of phytocoenoses typical in the marnoso-arenacea reliefs (well preserved turkey oaks woods) and of the presence of rare faunistic species such as the skunk, the buzzard, the kestrel, the woodpecker.
3. the Oasis for the protection of the fauna in Candeleto, that covers a naturalistic area of 1,000 hectares in surface, inside the areas of the Carpina and Carpinella Valleys. The peak of the place, Monte Croce, is covered with large black pine forests , while the slopes are alternatively covered by oak trees, pastures, grades, that offer safe shelters and abundant food to the varied and rich wild fauna typical of this place: foxes, wild boars, deers etc.
The forest of Pietralunga presents an articulated web of naturalistic tracks. They are all marked and described in printed maps so that it is possible to choose among walks of various length and difficulty across areas, that will leave an unforgettable memory of the Umbro-Marchesan wildlife.

 

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