Citerna has been ranked amongst the 100 “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” and is a must-see if you are spending time in the Upper Tiber Valley. The drive along the winding road that leads up to the village on the hilltop offers a breathtaking panorama dotted with delightful farmhouses (especially those painted with red and white stripes). They have been carefully restored over the last few years due to a renewed interest in this area between the regions of Umbria and Tuscany.
Citerna is the northernmost town in Umbria and the Tuscan border is nearby (just 500 metres away is the town of Monterchi in Tuscany, home to Piero della Francesca’s famous “Madonna in Labour” fresco). The dialect of Monterchi is similar to that of Arezzo rather than that of Città di Castello.
Known in the roman era by the name of Civitas Sobariae, then Castrum Citernae, the village boasts Etruscan and Roman origins. Over the years, Citerna shared the same fate as with other nearby villages in the area from the Barbarian invasions to the Papal State. It was severely damaged by the retreating German army during the Second World War and its fortress was razed to the ground.<h/3>
Walk along Corso Garibaldi, the village’s main street, until you reach the Church of St. Francis and the Town Hall beside it, the latter is housed in an old Franciscan convent. Go under the small arch and you will be on a medieval walkway that follows the village’s perimeter wall. As you continue in Corso Garibaldi, you will come to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel with its simple and linear façade on the left. It was constructed by the Fraternal Order of S.S. Sacramento between 1680 and 1682. Enter the church and you will find a marvellous “Madonna and Child” (now under restoration) painted by the school of Luca della Robbia in the second chapel on the left. The other chapels are decorated with 17th-century works of art including a “Crucifixion” on a panel accompanied by a wooden altar created by Pomarancio in 1570. In the eastern part of the village, a small but elegant square hosts the Bontempelli Theatre, which was built by the Vitelli Family during the Renaissance.