The ancient village of Pietralunga lies immersed in the green countryside about 40 kilometres from the E45 highway. While several roads lead to the village, the most picturesque and unspoiled is the one from Città di Castello. Pietralunga sits on a hilltop in the eastern-most part of Upper Tiber Valley almost on the border with the region of Marche.
It still resembles a medieval village surrounded by fortified walls and was built around the ruins of a Lombard fortress dating back to the 8th century CE. It is one of the most ancient settlements in all of Umbria and testifying to this is a prehistoric flute made from a human tibia in the Archaeological Museum in Perugia. There are also many ruins of roman villas in the area.
Not to be missed:
- The Rural Church of St. Mary (8th to 10th century CE) containing a fresco of the “Martyrdom of St. Sebastian” by Raffaellino del Colle and a copy of a “Polyptych” by Ottaviano Nelli.
- The Sanctuary of the Madonna of Remedies, built in the late 16th century over a romanesque rural church, where according to legend, St. Francis spent a night on his return from Mount Alvernia after receiving the stigmata.
- The Town Hall, which was built by the archpriest of Pietralunga, Monsignor Giulio Vitelli, between 1498 and 1502 over the tower of a Lombard fortress. The building was owned by the Knights of Malta between the 17th and 19th century until the year 1888, when it became the Town Hall.
The “Silvio Bambini” Ornithological Museum in Pietralunga is located in a natural oasis in the hamlet of Candeleto. It displays more than 300 specimens of mammals, raptors, water birds, perching birds and other interesting species. This collection offers people a great opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the local fauna and the biodiversity of a region with extensive natural interest.
Saturdays and Sundays: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Full price € 3.00;
Seniors over 65 and children under seven € 1.50
Address: Vocabolo Candeleto; Tel: 075-9460771
RURAL CHURCH OF SADDI
This rural church is located 12 km from Pietralunga in the hamlet of Pieve de’ Saddi and is one of the oldest in the Diocese of Città di Castello. This monumental and austere church, which appears out of nowhere at the end of a lonely road, is one of the most evocative and mysterious places in the whole valley.
The complex is made up of three elements: the 15th-century church based on a basilica plan with three naves; the renaissance parsonage built in the early 16th century by Bishop Giulio Vitelli; and the medieval lookout tower.
The mysticism and the intensity of the place comes from the fact that two of the most important local saints went there to die; St. Crescentino in 303 CE and St. Florido in 600 CE. This leads us to believe that Saddi was of great spiritual and social importance in the past.
MADONNA OF THE REMEDIES
The Sanctuary of the Madonna of Remedies is located one kilometre away from the historic centre of Pietralunga.
This ancient church was built in the 7th century CE and was then called Pieve di Fuori (outer rural church). It is the only church in Italy consecrated to the “Madonna of Remedies”.
It was given its current name in the early 1500s, when the Virgin Mary appeared to both a group of young girls and several nuns of the Benedictine Convent of St. Mary of the Bridge. After this miraculous event, towards the end of the 1500s, the small rural church was enlarged and decorated and become a place of intense Marian devotion in Valtiberina.
The church’s history is also linked to the cult of St. Francis. It is believed that he rested there one night during his long pilgrimage from Assisi to La Verna.