Bevagna, a small town located at the foot of the hill where Montefalco stands, is surrounded by a fertile plain rich in water and crops already extolled by Latin poets. The ancient town, called by the Romans MevaniaIt is surrounded by medieval walls interrupted by a series of gates and openings that allow access to the centre, where the characteristic alleys that open onto the splendid square stand out for their remarkable beauty.
A particularly significant event for Bevagna was in 220 BC the construction of the Flaminia which favoured its prosperity and economic and commercial growth. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city was fought over by Spoleto, Foligno (Trinci), the German Empire (Counts Coccorone), the Papal States and Perugia (Baglioni).
The village in medieval times was divided, for administrative purposes, into four 'yelps"named after the ancient churches: Sant'Angelo, San Pietro, San Giorgio and Santa Maria. From this division today draws the Gaite eventwhich every year in June reconstructs, also with competitions, the daily life of the inhabitants of Bevagna in the period between 1250 and 1350.
The walls that still surround the city today were built in the period between 1249 and 1377 largely over the Roman ones of which some remains can be seen near Porta Foligno (or Flaminia).
This is the central square of Bevagna, irregularly shaped with cobblestones, which encloses the city's main monuments.
On one side is the Romanesque Church of St Michael Archangel (12th cent.), built by Maestro Binello together with Maestro Rodolfo, modified in the Baroque period and restored between 1953-54 to its original medieval style. On the opposite side, the Church of San Silvestro (12th cent.), also designed by Binello, was supposed to be the counterpart to San Michele, but the façade remained unfinished and the bell tower was never built. The Church of San Domenico e Beato Giacomo (1291) also opens onto the square with its cloister and inside it contains the urn of Blessed Giacomo Bianconi.
The Palazzo dei Consoli built in 1270 as a seat for the magistracy, with its loggia and wide external staircase leading to the first floor, currently houses the Francesco Torti Theatre, built in 1866.
In front of the palace is the beautiful fountain, which, although built in 1889, echoes the style of the 15th century.
All that remains of ancient Mevania is the Amphitheatre, dating from the 2nd century A.D., located along the Flaminia Road, of which significant remains of two semicircular, parallel ambulatories are visible; on the remains of the Temple, dating from the same period, the Church of the Madonna della Neve was built in the Middle Ages.
Also noteworthy are the remains of the public bath complex consisting of four rooms where the frigidarium houses the floor mosaic depicting, in black and white tesserae, scenes with sea animals (tritons hunting squids and giant octopuses and lobsters).
Every year, in the third ten days of the month, the Mercato delle Gaite event is held, which reproduces, from careful studies and historical research, medieval life from the workshops (bakers, glassmakers, weavers...) to the market and the typical cuisine. The four Gaite compete, on the scheduled days, in a series of contests, the most famous of which is the Market Staging, which is faithfully based on the 'Liber Statutorum Antique Mevanie' (city statute).
GAITA SAN GIORGIO - Stretching between Piazza Silvestri and Porta San Vincenzo (Corso Matteotti). Very large, but sparsely populated, it is best known for its mint and lute makers. The gaita is also renowned for the cantors who perform music from the 13th and 14th centuries.
GAITA SAN PIETRO - It is located between Piazza Silvestri and Piazza San Filippo (Corso Amendola and Via Marconi); it is the least extensive in the city and the trades it offers are apothecary (Piazza Spetia), waxworker and 'scriptores'.
GAITA SAN GIOVANNI - Between Piazza Silvestri and Porta Vincenzo is the most densely populated and monumental Gaita; it features 13th-century papermaking as its trade.
GAITA SANTA MARIA - From Piazza Silvestri to Via della Rocca, the Gaita Santa Maria is one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods and every year offers hemp processing, which in the Middle Ages represented a very important source of income for the city. On the basis of a 14th-century document from Lucca, the inhabitants have managed to reconstruct a medieval circular human-powered twisting machine, the only working example in the world.