Our Setting in Italy
Located in Umbria, the green heart of Italy, the International Center for the Arts at Monte Castello offers intensive residencies for artists, writers and musicians within the sheltering walls of a medieval village.
Monte Castello provides a unique kind of solitude—creating a relaxed and contemplative atmosphere free of distractions. Clarity of thought is fostered in this environment, in which one is surrounded by hills and distant mountains and rewarded by panoramas at every overlook. The imagination is stirred by echoes of the civilizations that have passed through this little village on a mountaintop. There is something deeply genuine about this place and its inhabitants.
Monte Castello di Vibio is a safe and friendly place with a mild climate and spectacular views. Our facilities are housed in a complex of historic buildings within the walls of this well-preserved Umbrian hill town. It is thought that the village was built over four eras—Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance, and one can see and feel the presence of these past civilizations in wandering its ancient stone streets. Overlooking the lush Tiber River valley, the village looks much as it did 500 years ago— a fortress wall surrounds the town and a tranquil little park sits at one edge. The surrounding landscape is quilted with vineyards, olive groves and sunflower fields, and stitched with rows of cypresses and umbrella pines.
Situated halfway between Rome and Florence, we feel that the greatest asset of our program is the village of Monte Castello itself. Located 34 miles from the exact geographic center of Italy. Its central location provides ready access to major centers such as Florence or Rome and a whole range of smaller cities whose names are no less legendary. These are places with rich histories: Assisi, where St. Francis lived and where Giotto’s work foreshadowed the Renaissance, fashionable Tuscan Arezzo with its masterworks by painter Piero della Francesca, nearby cities of Perugia and Spoleto, each with world-famous music festivals, the jewel-like striped cathedrals and masterful sculptures of Orvieto and its Tuscan counterpart Sienna and neighboring Todi, once determined to be the “most livable town in the world”.
Serene and unassuming, yet connected to nearby towns with shopping facilities, sports centers and local transportation connections, Monte Castello offers the best of many worlds. In the summer, we now offer a shuttle service to Todi every Wednesday afternoon and each Sunday to and from the train station in nearby Fratta Todina, offering direct connections to Terni, Rome, Perugia.