A pretty country town in the hills of Umbria, Castel Ritaldi is in the green heart of the region. The compact town has stone streets and buildings that harken to a different time and remind us of Umbria's agricultural roots. Surrounded by countryside that is patchworked with woods, fields of grains, sunflowers, vines and olive groves, it is almost idyllic on its low hill. The town retains its charm and is located between Spoleto and Montefalco. Castel Ritaldi is known for its culinary products, especially woodland mushrooms and truffles, but more importantly, it lies on the Sagrantino Road, the lush wine of Umbria.
The castle of San Giovanni nearby makes an impression with its walled complex spiked with four different towers and its tiny village tucked inside. It is a glimpse of the defensive system and living arrangements of a fortification from the Middle Ages. The church of Santa Maria has a fresco by Tiberio d'Assisi while the Renaissance church of the Madonna della Bruna is a charming building on the Tatarena stream. The Pieve di San Gregorio was built in 1141 and its Romanesque facade has intricate bas relief carvings, absolutely unique from other Umbrian churches.
Castel Ritaldi throws a party every summer called the Palio del Fantasma (the competition of the ghost), a lively Renaissance costumed festival that celebrates the town's visit by Lucrezia Borgia, who was so taken with the organized military-like exercises that were being conducted that she wanted to participate, even choosing the knights and horses that would practice their maneuvers. Today's festa involves games of skill and chance that pit the town's neighborhoods against each other to win a prize.
There is also a festival to herald the area's olive oil in November and various wine festivals to taste the vintages throughout the year.
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Explore nearby towns
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