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Saturday 16 December 2017
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PERUGIA

Stepping into Another Dimension at Mugnano


Not part of the beaten tourist trail, Mugnano and its inhabitants still live according to the age-old pace dictated by farming and the seasons. The mere thousand inhabitants of this small village still talk a language that is rich in agricultural references and metaphors, making Mugnano a place that offers a simple but traditional welcome to visitors.

The highest of the ilex-covered hills that surround the valley of Mugnano is Monte Marzolana (586 m.). Two thirds of the valley itself is occupied by the river Cestola, which flows here from its source south east of lake Trasimene.

The Old Town
The old town centre of Mugnano, or its 'borgo', with its winding streets, small squares, the old water pump and the Fratente arch, has been impeccably restored. The project to restore the village, saving it from certain ruin, started in the 1980s with a project that involved a series of mural paintings by contemporary artists on the walls of what had once been the village fortifications. Since1983 some thirty murals decorate the fortifications of the village, offering an interesting and in some cases fine section of contemporary art at the time.


The Abbey of the Knights of Malta
The origins of the early settlers at Mugnano are closely tied with the Benedictine order and with an abbey erected nearby between the 9th and 10th century. The monks began by claiming the untilled land in the area, employing the local workforce in exchange for protection.
Documents as early as 1136 indicate that the monastery was under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Perugia. Towards the middle of the 14th century the abbey and its lands were placed under the command of the Order of the Knights of St John, later the Knights of Malta, who still manage a sizeable farming business on the lands around the village. In the 14th century the Knights of Malta transformed the abbey into a residence for the order's grand master. Nothing save a few ruins of the former structure exist today.

The Castle of Mugnano
The castle was originally built between 1305 and 1380. Tax records from 1276 indicate that the construction was erected on an area previously occupied by 32 houses. It appears that the primary scope of the castle was to protect the people who tilled the land for the Benedictine friars. The village bell tower was an 18th century conversion of what had been the castle's keep. Remains of the old fortifications are still visible today.

Those in need of rest should stop at the Castello dell’Oscano hotel, Strada Forcella 37, loc. Cenerente Perugia, tel. (+39) 075.584.371/690.125/690.666.

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