The history of Cessapalombo merges with that of its hamlets, founded by Benedictine monks and then subjected to the commune of Camerino. The Chronicon Casauriense (Casauria Chronicles) of St. Clement's Abbey in Casauria mentions Montalto di Cessapolombo for the first time while, in 967, a document written by Otto I of Saxony tells the abbot Adamo of the same abbey that he possessed 22 Benedictine courts in the area of Camerino
Cardinal Sinibaldo dei Fieschi (that will become Pope Innocent IV), in order to secure Camerino's military support against Frederick II, annexed Cessapalombo to Camerino's authority in 1240.
The emperor, however, could count on the help of two very loyal lords who had always been allies of the Swabians, Fildesmido da Mogliano and his grandson Rinaldo di Brunforte, who left evidence of their power in Cessapalombo with two sturdy fortresses. 
The castle known today as Roccaccia di Col di Pietra is a fascinating ruin of the fort that was probably built by Fildesmido da Mogliano and then given to his grandson Rinaldo di Brunforte in 1244. 
It was sold to Filippo da Morico in 1266 and then bought by the commune of Camerino which made it into one of the many strongholds guarding the land.
Montalto Castle is larger and more complex and during its continuous growth three perimeter walls were built. It was owned by Rinaldo di Brunforte until the final fall of the Swabians and then it passed into the hands of the da Varano from Camerino. 

The bond between Cessapalombo and St. Romuald is unbreakable. In order to live that hermit life, the core of the Rule of St. Benedict, he built the abbey of Santa Maria in Insula, now called St. Salvatore, on the ruins of a Roman villa in Cessapalombo's hamlet called Monastero. According to some writings by St. Peter Damian we know that the church was built around 1009 and its structure was very different from the current one because of repeated reconstructions that have only left the small crypt untouched. The Benedictines stayed here until 1050 and then moved to St. Peter's Church, now St. Francis', in San Ginesio. They went back to their abbey in 1216 and then left it again in 1281.

IMPORTANT - The town's historical centre, monuments and museums are partially accessible. For further information, please write to Marche Region's Tourism freephone number (numeroverde.turismo@regione.marche.it) or contact Cessapalombo's town hall at +39-0733.907132, e-mail: comune@cessapalombo.sinp.net 

A journey through Cessapalombo’s history and art
St. Romuald founded the Abbey of San Salvatore and expanded it with his brothers by adding a floor above the old crypt. The original structure had round towers on either side of the facade, as prescribed by the Ravenna precepts of the time, which were also applied in San Claudio al Chienti in Corridonia. A system that combined the religious function with the protection of the fortress. Over the centuries, it has been radically altered, so much so that only the small crypt is still left untouched, while the entrance porch to the upper church has been decorated with a fresco of St. George slaying the dragon. There are also two frescoes attributed to Andrea de Magistris inside: La Vergine e la Maddalena (The Virgo and the Magdalene) and Santa Lucia con Santa Caterina (St. Lucia with St. Catherine). 
Palazzo Simonelli, in the hamlet of Tribbio, is eighteenth century in style and houses the hostel with the special Museo delle Carbonaie (Charcoal Piles Museum) and the Museo della Nostra Terra (Our Land Museum) dedicated to the ancient work of charcoal burners, typical of the Sibillini economy, where coal was one of the main financial and energy resources. The charcoal pile trail starts from Palazzo Simonelli where you can find the "spiazzi", that are small clearings where charcoal was produced in the hemispherical pyres. Another trail through nature is the one that leads to the Grotte dei Frati (Friars' caves) where a group of Benedictines lived in the year 1000 and built a simple two-storey convent. The scenic Montalto Castle is located in the village of the same name and has three perimeter walls which also enclose St. Benedict's Church, which houses a 1526 fresco by De Magistris.

The IME - The Marches Food and Wine Institute recommends:

Saffron production brings together several farmers in Cessapalombo and other towns. Saffron is a spice obtained from Crocus Sativus' stigmas. It is grown in the Sibillini Mountains and contains an extraordinary amount of vitamins, minerals and trace elements that are precious for our health. The flowers are picked patiently at dawn, before the sun is high and the flowers open. Thousands of flowers are then immediately opened by skilful and gentle hands, careful to avoid damaging the stigmas. The pistils, pure saffron in filaments, are taken without breaking them and toasted on a sieve above the embers of almond or oak wood. There are several delicious recipes that employ this little miracle flower.

San Ginesio Doc
A soft red wine with hints of sour cherry and slight spicy notes of black pepper. Produced in a very scenic area, marked by outstanding historical landmarks, San Ginesio Doc glorifies two native local grape varieties: Sangiovese and Vernaccia Nera. San Ginesio has kept a centuries-old relationship with Siena and the choice to make Sangiovese wine essentially stems from this "blood relationship" with Tuscany, just as Vernaccia Nera has always belonged to the farming culture of these enchanting places.  

Single-variety Extra Virgin Olive Oil Coroncina
A fine example of biodiversity. This typical local variety produces an emerald green oil with intense fruitiness. On the palate, the slight initial sweetness gives way to an intense and lingering bitterness and spiciness. The aftertaste is a pleasant sensation of artichoke that is distinctive of this variety. It pairs well with bruschettas, tasty pulse soups, polenta and fresh pecorino cheese.


Comune di Cessapalombo

Monti Sibillini

I Monti Sibillini sul Web

Unione dei Monti Azzurri

Marche Tourism: Cessapalombo