Umbria, the American who brought Montecastello back to life

Montecastello di Vibio is not on the street, you don't pass by casually and distractedly. You go to Montecastello by choice, climbing from Madonna del Piano to the top, at 423 meters above sea level, inside the solid perimeter walls, after about twenty gentle curves, olive trees as far as the eye can see, oaks, holm oaks, lime trees. A green curtain that suddenly opens, showing towers, battlements, bastions. Stones, only stones and not even a badly stuccoed wall, a crooked shutter, a rusty railing or a crooked antenna that could spoil your vision. Outside the small acropolis, where the world can be seen from 360 degrees, all you need to do is look everywhere, the valley overlooking the bends of the Tiber is dotted with many soberly preserved farmhouses and also the more recent buildings, in the new part before crossing Porta di Maggio, they seem to obey an invisible sign. Do not disturb. Since the 1980s, many foreigners, especially Anglo-Saxons, who have now become Montecastellesi to all intents and purposes, had already fallen in love with this corner of the world, where the maximum audible noise is that of the north wind blowing through the alleys, but Forrest Cordes, a seventy-year-old American patron of Stone Mountain (Atlanta, Georgia), where he was, among other things, a jewelry designer, went further. He is buying pieces of the country, investing in it out of his own pocket, refurbishing it, giving (will) give it back to life. Meanwhile, the old hotel "Il Castello" and the former police barracks, the central bar, some buildings. And, of course, the house where he lives for a few months a year and where, sooner or later, he will come to live. A rain of dollars (no one quantifies, but we are talking about many millions) that is falling on Montecastello, to the happiness of the inhabitants and of the mayor Daniela Brugnossi, now at the end of her mandate after ten challenging years.​