Monteleone d’Orvietto~ A Little Village with a Lot of Pride

IMG_1229One of the attributes of the many medieval hamlets of Umbria and Tuscany that I especially love are the old traditions that have been passionately maintained over the centuries. On a visit to Monteleone d’Orvieto, nestled on a hilltop in the heartland of the Umbrian countryside, I was extremely impressed by historically clad villagers who welcomed us at the main gate. They embody a fierce pride in their heritage, one that you cannot help but deeply respect.

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Located only 34 minutes from Orvieto, Monteleone d’Orvieto is one of the tidiest little villages I have yet had the pleasure of walking. Founded in 1052 by the commune of Orvieto as a castle to guard the northern boundaries, there is still evidence of the ancient fortified walls and gateways that surrounded the village.
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These young ladies were more than happy to pose for a photo. Those who live here are very sweet and a pleasure to converse with. These young girls knew some English, so it was a bit easier than attempting to communicate with the older residents.
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We walked many a winding street just like this one. Evidence of the local village pride was everywhere as all was freshly swept and clean.
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Late afternoon is the time to stroll about and visit with the villagers. Although this man spoke no English, he was easy to communicate with using some of my very limited Italian and of course hand gestures.
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Potted plants around wooden doorways with neatly maintained thresholds are common in Monteleone d’Orvieto.
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Little Fiats like this one are the only way to go if you intend to drive through the winding narrow streets. Even so, there are moments when you may have only a couple of inches on each side of the car to pass on through. Many that I have seen include an opening at the top to expand upward since outward is very limited.

Behind is part of the panoramic view of the Umbrian, Tuscan and Lazio countryside which encompasses the great expanse beyond the village walls.
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On Piazza Pietro Bilancini stands La Torre dell’Orologio, the clock tower. It was designed and built in 1800 with bricks manufactured in local furnaces. A bas-relief designed with brick, representing the emblem of Monteleone, is just below the clock face.
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The ladies of Monteleone d’Orvieto are charming. Neatly dressed, these three enjoy a late afternoon break from cooking and housecleaning. They present themselves just as they keep their tidy little village…well maintained.
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This is the south gate of the village that is part of the original castle. Although the north gate is the main entrance, some traffic comes through this one as well. Above the gate you can see a small shrine of the virgin Mary.
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I spent only an afternoon in Monteleone d’Orvieto, but it has remained with me as a very special experience. This village, although small and not touristy, is a delight to visit. My heart was touched by the dignity, honor and self-regard that these villagers hold and exemplify for their home and tradition.



Categories: History

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37 replies

  1. Susan, Your pictures and words paint a lovely picture of the afternoon you spent in this charming little village. I can see why you were captivated by it. Although nothing beats experiencing a place firsthand, your post was the next best thing! I love the street scenes…I can imagine folks from medieval times walking down those streets. Ciao, Lori

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  2. You’ve got me sighing! πŸ™‚ It’s many years since I set foot in Italy and I still question the wisdom of that.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lovely post. The small little villages like this are wonderful to get a real feel of Italy where pride of place is still so important.

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  4. Lovely! I love the pics, especially the one of the ladies on their afternoon break. I have this down on my list of places to visit now. πŸ™‚

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  5. Oh Susan, what an absolutely delightful village you present in your beautiful photos and narrative. The warm stoned buildings and the narrow cobbled streets evoke wonderful memories of my visit to Sorrento some years ago, and also not too disimilar to some of the rural French villages I’ve walked through. Thank you for a lovely post making me think of summer holiday to come… πŸ˜‰

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  6. What an absolutely gorgeous place.

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  7. There is a communal sense to how historical their land is, and you captured it very well with all the beautiful portraits of the locals.

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  8. What a wonderful post! And what absolutely terrific photos. I would love to visit. It must have been so much fun, and how wonderful that the people take such pride in their town. Thank you for the introduction to this gem.

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  9. Great write, Susan! George and I love Orvieto – now we have their castle town to love! Thanks to you, it’s on our list!

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  10. You really capture the essence of my country!

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  11. Susan! I love your people pictures…..Those three women are fab!

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  12. Do you think the folk in costume are there every day, or only special occasions? Fascinating πŸ™‚

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  13. Susan, what a treasure of a village. The stonework captured my attention and then everything else about it is so charming too. Love those narrow streets and the traditional dress of the villagers at the entrance.
    Christmas & New Year’s Blessings ~ Wendy

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  14. What a wonderful find! I haven’t heard of this place before.. thanks Susan πŸ™‚

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  15. I haven’t heard of this village. It looks wonderful and I will certainly look out for it next time I am in Italy.

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  16. I understand how you feel. I especially love these special little villages off the beaten track. Delightful

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  17. Gorgeous location Susan. Love those medieval outfits.

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