The origins of the Castle of Montignano date back to 962 when Otto I of Saxony was crowned in Milan as Emperor of Germany and King of  Italy by Pope John XII and he immediately tried to gain the loyalty [...]
Villa San Faustino
The castle of Villa San Faustino was part of the Terre Arnolfe in the tenth and eleventh centuries (mentioned in documents of the abbey of Farfa 1115 and 1118). The castle, connected to the important parish chu [...]
Castle built between 1300 and 1400, it still preserves its medieval structure. Of particular interest is the medieval main door near the small church of San Bernardino. Above the church of San Bernardino is sit [...]
The castle of Mezzanelli has followed the fortunes of the various rulers who handled its political life. Once part of Terre Arnolfe, the castle was cited in documents from 1115 and 1118 (Earls Ridolfo, Saraceno [...]
Castel Rinaldi
Medieval village built in 1160 by a certain "Rinaldo Duke of Calabria", Castel Rinaldi was part of the fief of the Arnolfi. Constantly part of Guelph, Castel Rinaldi was often the center of infighting that mark [...]
The fortified village of Viepri is wrapped in high hills, which ensured defense for centuries and still seem to hide it. Built after 1380 on the ruins of the demolished castle of Monte Schignano, its rule was t [...]
Martani Mountains
The Martani Mountains extend evenly from south to north for about 35 km between the provinces of Perugia and Terni. They border to the east on the Umbrian Valley and Valserra, to the west on th [...]
The village is today very different from what must have appeared in the Middle Ages. Today only some ruins of the fortified village remain, hidden by vegetation. Literature attest it as one of the most [...]

Chiesa dell'Ascensione


Old country church documented since the 13th century with the name Santa Maria de Podio. Afterwards it was known as Santa Maria de Castro and, after its restoration in the 17th century, as “chiesa dell’ Ascensione”. The name dedicated to the Madonna remains however its main name.


Chiesa di San Sebastiano


The church of San Sebastiano, near Colpetrazzo, dates back to the 13thcentury. It has a nave and a semicircular apse. On the right inside wall is an interesting fresco dated 1449, which portrays San Sebastian between Annunciata and the Madonna with Child - on the right side - and theAnnunciation Angel and St Fortunato -on the left side - 

Unfortunately the church has been severely damaged by the earthquake in May 1997, moreover it is now in a state of complete neglect. The roof has in part fallen down and has been propped. It was not possible, anyway, to save the affresco from being damaged by the rain (differences can be easily identified by comparing the image with the photograph 1, which has been taken before the earthquake). Fragments of the frescos which decorated the left wall lie on the floor 

Chiesa di Sant' Ippolito

Church documented since the 13th century. Built in an elegant Romanesque style, it has a semicircular apse and is unusual in shape. Its stonework consists of white and pink ashlars . In the aisleless inside is, in the apse, a fresco from the 17th century representing Christ crucified among St Peter and St Paul.

Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pace

The church Santa Maria della Pace was edified in the 16th century round one of the many "mestare" which lined, and still line near the crossings, the most important way of the territory of Massa: the Roman Way that, at the time, followed the lay-out of the ancient consular Flaminia Way and connected Massa with Rome and Foligno.

The sacred image in the shrine around which the church was built, represents the Madonna feeding the Child between St John and St James. It was painted by the Umbrian painter Bartolomeo da Miranda within the first half of the 15th century.

The works began on 8th March 1521 and went on, with changing circumstances, until 1589. That year the church, whose essential architectonical structures had already been built, was donated by the town council of Massa to the fathers of the Third Regular Order of St Francis.

The Franciscans made at once some changes on the church, that, at that time, stood isoIated on the side of the Roman way. It had an octagonal plan up to the second cornice, on which was a gabled roof. Between 1595 and 1598 a cupola was built in the place of the roof; later, in 1623, it was covered with a base. Meanwhile the construction of the new monastery, which begun in 1604 and lasted until 1647, made it necessary to the friars to move the main altar to another place. One of the eight walls of the building was torn down in order to build the main chapel and the choir, completed in 1630. The following year the 15th century-painting was moved from its original place, at present the altar of Sant’ Antonio da Padova, to the main chapel.

The side altars were set into place, too, and decorated with paintings commissioned to the painter PalminioAlvi. Worth noting is, among them, that representing St Francis handing the belt over to the Third Order.

The embellishment of the church culminated as the cupola was frescoed by Giovanni Antonio Polinori, between 1647 and 1649, with Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments.

Curiosity: The frontals covering the lateral altars were made with canary seed as it was popular in 1700. It is a particularly interesting and rare type of artifacts in Umbria. It was called "the marble of the poor", and used to simulate marble. It was used mostly for the construction of altar panels, because the result was of great scenic effect. The creative ideas in these works are many, as evidenced by the case of Massa Martana.  The variety and combination of colors (arabesques, flowers, and birds of all kinds) contributed to the triumph of Christianism. Similar altar frontals can be found in the Church of San Francesco in Giano dell'Umbria.


Chiesa di Sant’illuminata

The church of Santa Illuminata, surrounded by a wonderful atmosphere, according to tradition is erected over the tomb of the saint. The building dates back to the 1000s and from the same era is the adjoining monastery. It was run by the Camaldolese monks, in the service of the church of St. Apollinare in Classe in Ravenna, further evidence of the Byzantine corridor which maintained in difficult times contact with Rome (as reflected in a document dated 1138 Annales Camaldulenses). The monastery played an important role from a political point of view, and it is mentioned in several sources, among which a document in 1185 and a privilege of Pope Gregory IX in 1229. Unfortunately, the monastery was closed shortly after and the church passed to the Chapter of the Cathedral of Todi. In 1260 the prior was the illustrious Benedetto Caetani, the future Pope Bonifacio VIII. Today the silence still surrounds the church and the adjoining monastery, the facade, sober and elegant, has a fine portal and three round-arched recesses, but broad, flanked by two blind arches, over a mullioned window opens with a central column and a capital with a crutch, according to the recurring Umbrian typology that is also found in San Felice di Giano, San Faustino, SS. Fidenzio and Terenzio. On the pediment is a medieval plate of the 9th century, decorated with a cross with floral and faunal patterns and a human figure.

At the rear of the church is still visible a part of the superior apse with two slits for lighting. A bell tower is erected on top of the wall, not in symmetry with the center. The interior, unfortunately severely damaged and then restored, consists of a nave, which originally had the raised presbytery with crypt below and was covered by a barrel vault with soffits. The vault collapsed, but there are clearly visible traces on the back wall.

The presbytery was once raised as one of the nearby church of SS. Fidenzio and Terenzio. The crypt shows traces of its ancient splendor. The interior walls were plastered, but you can see traces of frescoes, though much ruined, almost illegible. Of great interest a picture of the 18th-century painter Giovanni Andrea Lezzerini depicting an episode from the life of St. Illuminata.


Curiosity: According to legend, Illuminata from Ravenna seems lived in the sixth century. She walked the Via Amerina to escape from the pagan parents and his persecutors. She arrived in Umbria performed miracles in Massa Martana. She was buried near the village and hers tomb is under the church of Santa Illuminata. According to reports of local historians, about 100 steps from the church to the east were the Roman therme of Papiniano, and in the same direction was the "Fontanella di S.Illuminata" miraculous for fevers tertian

Madonna dell'acqua

Small church built near a stream, probably to decorate a majesty, with a 16th-century fresco depicting the Madonna and Child, on the left side of the front door.

Restored in 1853 by Abbot Giuseppe Lauri, it has an altar decorated with painted architecture that frames the image of the Madonna and Child with the same iconography of the outside fresco.


San Pietro in Monte

It was built by the Benedictines in 1000 and suppressed at the end of the fourteenth century. The Abbey had jurisdiction over a large territory and at the dependencies of its Abbot were also the churches of St. Ippolito of Castelvecchio and San Ilario of Todi. Its rich and valuable archive has been moved after the suppression to the Archives of the Cathedral of Spoleto. Like most Christian buildings, San Pietro was built on the remains of a Roman structure, presumably a temple dedicated to Mars, particularly revered in this area, so as to give the name of Martani to the mountains, the territory and the Vicus Martis.

This hypothesis is also supported by the discovery of some exhibits including a stone with a Roman inscription (used to support the church altar table, stored in the private chapel adjoining the building abbey).

Curiosity: Greeks and Romans outlined in a different way the figure of the god of war:

For the Greeks, Ares was a god of irrational and bloody with no special consideration;

For the Romans, who called it Marte, was second only to the king of Olympus.

In reality, his cult was already widespread among the Pre Roman civilizations, who regarded him as the god of nature and fertility, but also of thunder and rain.

According to mythology, Juno turned to Flora (goddess of flowers), looking for revenge on her husband Jupiter (alone had conceived Minerva)

The goddess of flowers and spring showed her a special flower that, on contact, allowed her to generate Marte, then raised by Priapus at art of war.

When Rome decided to extend their boundaries, promoting the series of military campaigns that gradually transformed it into an empire of vast dimensions, Marte was only associated with the war. Marte is considered the father of the Roman people: from its union with Rea Silvia born Romulo and Remo, the founders of the city. The first month of the archaic calendar (march) took by him name and to Marte were dedicated the main parties.

From the iconographic point of view, the god of war was always represented as a vigorous man, manly-looking, sometimes with a beard, with helmet and shield, spear and sword, rarely with full armor.

San Pietro sopra le acque

Cardinal Marcello Lante wanted the church of San Pietro sopra le acque to be restored in 1608. It is, however, very old, actually the first news about it dates back to 1275. Remarkable are the wooden choir in the apse, the Baroch architectures of the inside and the plain façade. The porch is adorned with frescos from the 17th century Of geat value is a painting from the early 15thcentury which represents the Madonna with Child and St Peter . In the inside are several works by Andrea Polinori: the Vocazione of Pietro and Andrea (photographs: 5, 6); St Francis and St Anthony from PaduaSt Francis receiving the stigmata.

San Valentino

Ancient rural church documented since the thirteenth century. One nave and facade of triangular shape; formerly also gave its name to a villa which in 1290 hosted 7 families. It's currently in ruins but still noticeable in the presbytery is the entrance to a subterranean environment, maybe a crypt, buried at the end of the 16th century by order of the bishop of Todi Angelo Cesi.



Old, aisleless church, supplied with documentary evidence since the 13th century, reorganized during the following centuries.
Every year, on the second Sunday in September, an old religious feast is celebrated there. On this occasion a large number of devotees come from all around to the sanctuary for its titular saint’s thaumaturgical virtues.



Monte Martano Trekking
The route is accessible on foot or by bike and is located along the ridge of the Monti Martani. Starting Point is the leisure area of Acqua Canale indicated as a interess in the route map. Continue to
Historical and artistic buildings not included in the itineraries
Chiesa di Sant’illuminata
Historic and Naturalistic itinerary on the occidental flanks of the Martani Mountains
8,4 km – by car, 5,3km trekking. This itinerary is a  trekking along the western slope of the mountain Monte Castro,  a relief above Massa Martana. From the town of Massa Martana [...]


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