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The town of Magione is situated on Lake Trasimeno to the west of Perugia and towards the west of the Umbria region, in central Italy.
In ancient times Magione didn't have a a city wall but relied instead on a defense system based around the 'Torre dei Lombardi' (Lombardy Tower), located to the north of Magione.
Magione is based around two streets which, starting from the church of San Giovanni Battista, rise towards the “Torre dei Lombardi”, not far from the castle and which once controlled the major roads - the tower was located on the important road that linked Perugia with the Lake Trasimeno and Tuscany.
Magione fortress - history and today
The hospital and the "Domus" in Magione acquired a significant strategic importance, but also had religious meaning as they became a stopping place for pilgrims. In the 14th century the Templar Order, feared by both the Emperor and the Pope, was disbanded and Magione became the property of the Knights of Malta, under whose ownership this building, dating from the mid-12th century, was transformed into an abbey.
After a few years the abbey was fortified and became a fortress. The building is situated within the town and features round towers and a courtyard - although the current structure is the result of an extension of the existing building when it was rebuilt in the form of a castle by Fieravante Fieravanti (1390-1447) from Bologna.
The original fortress had only two sides, together forming an "L" shape, and included only a chapel dedicated to St. John, the patron saint of the town, and a bell tower. In 1471 the castle was strengthened when a wall with two other towers was built. At this time the castle was also fitted with battlements and a colonnaded courtyard was built by Cardinal Marco Barbo, surrounded on three sides by arcades with arches placed on three levels.
The castle chapel, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, has a barrel vault and contains two 16th century frescoes attributed to the school of Pinturicchio (1452-1513), one depicting a "Nativity with the Adoration of the Shepherds" and the other a scene with the "Virgin Mary, Jesus, St. John the Baptist and St. James.”
Other Magione monuments
Among the religious buildings in Magione, the Our Lady of Grace Church is of medieval origin and inside you can still see a 14th century fresco attributed to Andrea di Giovanni of Orvieto called the "Madonna Enthroned".
The Church of St. John the Baptist was also built by the Knights of Malta, in 1571. The interior has a Latin cross plan with a nave, and contains a cycle of frescoes by Gerardo Dottori (1884-1977), a great Futurist painter and prominent member of the so-called "aeropittura" (Aeropainting) movement.
Enthusiasts of futurist art can see more notable works by Dottori in the Town Hall, also dating from the nineteenth century.
Area around Magione
The area around Magione is characterized by the scattered settlements and numerous fortresses, with a routepassing through the area that is ideal for nature lovers.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Umbria guide.