Announced by modern residential and productive expansions, Umbèrtide organizes the old castle-like nucleus within a scenario of hills on which the dense medieval fortified network stands. The importance of the site for the control of communications is confirmed by the insistence of the settlement at the intersection of the pre-Roman road between Arezzo, Città di Castello and Perugia with the road to Gubbio . The devastating bombings of 1944 disrupted the layout of the historic center, centered on the Rocca from which the wall circuit, largely disappeared, which surrounded the compact building fabric branched off; beyond the torrent, the medieval structure, now broken by the railway, continued in the lower village, aggregated around the Franciscan convent.
Among the places and squares to visit we find:
The Castle of Fratta : This is how the ancient Perugian outpost in the Tiber valley was called ("Fracta filiorum liberti"), one of the most important in the countryside, documented as such since 1189 but traditionally founded in the 10th century by one of Uberto's sons (natural son of Ugo, king of Italy}, on the hypothetical Roman pago of "Pitulum" (mentioned by Pliny). He belonged for a long time to Perugia and Braccio Fortebracci was a prisoner in his fortress (1393). In the Middle Ages, it took on its current name in 1863. There is active ceramic craftsmanship, which since the 1930s has been renowned for the so-called “black fratta”, a type of particularly shiny black paint.
Piazza Mazzini : Fulcrum of the historic center, the vast square, opens up outside the walled perimeter, dominated by the Rocca and the collegiate church of S. Maria della Reggia, which face each other from the opposite banks of the stream. The church is a majestic octagonal building, begun in 1559 on a project by Galeazze Alessi and Giulio Danti, continued by Bino Sozi and completed by Bernardino Sermigni in the mid-17th century. In the luminous interior with a central plan, covered by a dome: above the main altar, Madonna with Child and saints, fresco of Gubbio influence from the fifteenth century; above the organ tribune, Transfiguration by Niccolo Circignani, signed and dated 1578.
La Rocca : The mighty construction was built around 1374, enlarged in the 15th century and again in the second half of the following century. It retains a square tower flanked by two circular towers and a third bulwark. Restored by the municipal administration at the end of the 1980s, it is the exhibition site of the Center for Contemporary Art which organizes exhibitions and periodically exhibits the civic "Giovanni Ciangottini Collection", which features works by the same artist and others by Renato Birolli , Mino Maccari, Luciano Minguzzi, Toti Scialoja. Next to the Rocca, the Riuniti theater overlooks the Fortebracci square, rebuilt in 1808 on the previous eighteenth-century one, recently restored.
The Central Square : You reach the large Piazza Matteotti, in the center of the walled structure, along the short and narrow Via Stella (on the right the cuspidate bell tower of S. Giovanni, from the 12th century). There is the Town Hall, formerly a noble residence (seventeenth century) of the counts Ranieri di Sorbello, with late-seventeenth-century interior decorations.
Il Borgo Inferiore : From the end of Piazza Matteotti, continue left into via Cibo, which crosses the railway. Immediately you enter the elongated Piazza S. Francesco, a characteristic medieval environment, closed on the right by a curtain of old-looking houses and on the left by the alignment of three churches. First we come to the former church of S. Croce, a Baroque construction from 1610 on a 14th-century chapel of the Serviti, decorated inside with stuccoes by Giovanni Fontana (1676). Acquired by the municipal administration, it was restored and adapted to the Museum of S. Croce, which exhibits the * Deposition from the Cross by Luca Signorelli (1516) in its original location, on the richly carved high altar (1711). The altarpiece, painted by commission of the (Confraternity of Santa Croce, is the only work of the master to still find us on the site for which it was conceived. The altarpiece by Pomarancio (Madonna and Child in glory between angels and saints) is also valuable , coming from the adjacent church of S. Francesco.
Note the seventeenth-century organ, restored and functional for concerts (the former church is also used for recordings of classical works and for prestigious concert reviews). The exhibition also includes archaeological finds from Monte Acuto and the collection of Ceramiche Rometti di Umbertide, a factory founded in 1926 and operating until 1942, with pieces by Corrado Cagli. Next to it is the fourteenth-century church of S. Francesco, with a façade in ashlars adorned with a portal with a trilobal arch, surmounted by a large oculus. The interior, with a Gothic apse, is of the Franciscan type, with two naves, the smaller part of which is ogival. The annexed former convent houses the Municipal Historical Archive (with the Statutes of Fratta and the notary fund from the 14th century) and the Civic Library. To the right of the cloister of S. Francesco is the church of S. Bernardino (whose restoration is nearing completion), from 1426, renovated in 1768, with inside, the Supper of the Apostles by Muzio Fiori (1602) and a wooden statue (titular saint) of the '500.
Santa Maria della Pietà : It is on the northern outskirts of the city, near the neoclassical civil hospital, by Giovanni Santini. The church, built in 1486, preserves in the lunette above the portal a fresco (Madonna with Child and two angels) attributed to Pinturicchio or to Bartolomeo Caporali.
Civitella di Ranieri Castle : In the dense network of fortifications that formed the mighty bulwark to defend the territory of Fratta, the beautiful complex of Civitella Ranieri stands out, which is supposed to be built on the citadel built in 1078 by Raniero, brother of Duke Guglielmo di Monferrato . The castle, reconfigured in shape by Ruggero Cane Ranieri (15th century), has a square plan with cylindrical corner towers and a large keep. Inside (still owned by the Ranieri and not accessible), valuable sixteenth-century fireplaces.
Contended between Perugia and Gubbio was the castle of Serra Partucci, perhaps from the 11th century, rebuilt in the 15th century after the destruction caused by Braccio Fortebracci (under restoration). It has a crenellated tower flanked by a circular tower; in the noble chapel, rebuilt in the 1700s, there is a fresco attributed to Ottaviano Nelli.