The Best Bars in the Umbrian Town of Montefalco, Italy
Wander Montefalco's cobblestone streets as you check out the town's top bars | © imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
For glasses of wine grown on the surrounding vines, you can’t beat this Italian hilltop hideaway – where food and drink are placed front and centre.
An emerging foodie destination in produce-rich Umbria, the pretty hilltop town of Montefalco packs in Michelin-style fine dining, home cooking in cavernous trattorias and some of the best views of the region from its elevated position. Though monks were making wine here in the 16th century, such as the intense, tannin-rich sagrantino grape, it took until the 2010s for this area’s wines to become fashionable. Taste the fruits of these rolling hills at one of these charming local watering holes.
OstiNati Wine Bar
Making the most of the heady views from this Umbrian hillside, this chic wine bar has a bijou patio of wooden tables set under an enormous evergreen tree. Ice buckets balance on makeshift side tables formed of wine crates, and wine lovers trickle in as sunset approaches to sink their carafe or bottle in the amber glow of golden hour. Inside the stylish, whitewashed brick interior, a young team stirs up bowl-sized G&Ts and decants the bar’s own-brand Montefalco rosso wine into shiny glasses. Since this one’s all about the view, bag a seat on the terrace.
Enoteca di Benozzo
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Facing the placid, pretty Piazza del Comune, this unpretentious wine bar is a calming spot to sit out for a sunny glass of wine. Set in a time-worn, biscuit-coloured building, it has broad cream parasols and plenty of space to spread out. Cheese and charcuterie boards come with shots of honey to drizzle and chunks of cantaloupe melon for a sweet fix, but there’s a delicious simplicity to the house stone-baked fresh bread doused in nothing but olive oil.
Bar Caffe del Corso
Bar, Italian, $$$
This central cafe serves as gelateria, coffee shop, meeting place, aperitivo hangout and more for the locals of Montefalco. Drop in late afternoon to soak up the atmosphere on its happily situated side street, wrapped in historic architecture. When the aperitivi come out, so do long boards of parma ham, salami, pecorino and sundried tomatoes, devoured by laughing groups of local professionals on the foliage-trimmed patio. It’s a great pit stop between sightseeing for coffee and a gelato, too.
Bottega del Bove
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This tiny, stone-clad tasting room on the west side of the old town has a handful of squishy brown leather armchairs, and huge legs of Norcia cured ham on display. Outside is a sunny terrace with a sprinkling of metal tables. Park yourself in the loveliest corner to try wafer-thin slivers of salty ham along with a bottle of full-bodied barolo or sagrantino. When you’re fully refreshed, head inside to peruse the wheels of local cheese, jars of preserves and pickles, and bottles ready to take home.
A chic, modern little cafe with a cheerful cerulean-blue counter, this all-day hangout does zingy Italian craft beers, tasty wines and a huge range of snacks – served quickly by a young team of food enthusiasts with a smile. Locals usually pop in for a chunky sandwich at lunchtime, but bag an outdoor seat mid-afternoon and you can people-watch from the street side as you nibble toasted focaccia, balsamic-dipped cheese and mini toasts with tapenade.
Enoteca Federico II
Bar, Wine, $$$
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On the edge of the vast Piazza del Comune, all elegant pale-gold porticoes and faded green shutters, is this handsome city cafe. Draw up one of its charcoal-grey chairs under sun-lit cream parasols and dig into an early-evening menu of wines by the glass, day-glo Aperol spritzes and cheese selections served on circular slates. This is a good bet on drizzly days, when you can grab a table under the arches and shelter with a nice carafe of Montefalco rosso.
Bar, Wine, $$$
A delightful bakery-bar hybrid, Beddini fills the air with the scent of fresh cornetti (croissants) each morning, but also serves wines and beers on its small, flower-trimmed patio come evening. Affordable snacks such as fresh focaccia and slices of stone-baked pizza complement your drinks order, and the relaxed atmosphere means you can linger from espresso o’clock to lunchtime with a guidebook, free of any bother from staff.
Antonelli San Marco
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A few minutes’ drive out of town and you’re at this charming winery, home to warm hospitality and free tastings. The latter includes the region’s two big-hitter wines – Montefalco rosso and Montefalco sagrantino – but it’s worth the small fee to try a few more. After your tour, there’s a scenic wooden deck lined with picnic tables where you can order a couple more pours and perhaps a charcuterie board. It’s a more scenic and spacious alternative to a drink in Montefalco’s centre, with views of the vines all around.