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Located in northeastern Umbria, Valfabbrica is a small town of medieval origin built on the banks and along the valley of the Chiascio River.
The Assisi-Gubbio Franciscan Peace Path, is a favorite for pilgrimages and nature excursions: in 1207 St. Francis traveled this route after his famous renouncement of possessions, clothes and money in the piazza in Assisi.
The origins of the castle of Valfabbrica are closely connected with the vicissitudes of Santa Maria in “Vado Fabricae,” a Benedictine abbey documented from 820 AD, founded by the Benedictines along the banks of the Chiascio river near the ford on the route linking Assisi with Gubbio. The old abbey was so powerful that it was able to compete with the biggest neighboring feudal lords. During the Middle Ages the nearby towns of Perugia, Assisi and Gubbio fought over control of the area. In the 16th century it finally entered the dominion of the Papal States, under the rule of which it remained, except for the brief Napoleonic period, until the founding of the Kingdom of Italy (1860). In the historic center, the old Medieval Castle has preserved its 13th-century walls and a mighty Tower. Inside the Castle one comes to the Church of San Sebastiano, formerly an oratory, the interior of which was renovated in the 16th century. Outside the Castle are the small Church of the Madonna di Foce, built in 1634-36, with a façade decorated with a large terracotta rose window, and the modern Church of Santa Maria Assunta, with stained glass windows and canvases from the 16th and 17th centuries.
The municipal territory also includes the well-known Castle of Casacastalda, a small village founded by the ancient Umbrians. Its three gates (Porta Perugina, Porta Eugubine and Porta del Giglio) provide access to the village with its tiny streets, old stone buildings and narrow passages.
The Church of the Madonna Assunta is worthy of note; inside it has a Triptych by Matteo da Gualdo from 1478, an 18th-century organ and an apse decorated by the painter Alessandro Bianchini. Also interesting is the delightful Sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Olmo, richly decorated with frescoes from the Umbrian school (dated 1486-1488) and by Matteo da Gualdo.
Sights in the fortified village of Giomici include the Castle and the Church of San Michele Arcangelo.
The Assisi-Gubbio Franciscan Peace Path is steeped in spirituality and is of great interest for lovers of nature. The route, which winds its way for 40 km through the woods of Assisi and Valfabbrica, past Giomici castle and Biscina mountain along the Chiascio valley, was conceived and built considering the classic elements of nature – water, wood and stone – and is meant to be traveled on foot, horseback or bicycle only.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Milan-Bologna-Florence: A1 motorway, Valdichiana exit. 75 bis expressway toward Perugia, after Ponte San Giovanni take SS75 and then SS147, follow signs for Valfabbrica.
From Rome: A1 motorway, Orte exit. 3 bis expressway toward Perugia, after Ponte San Giovanni take SS75 and then SS147, follow signs for Valfabbrica.