Montefusco, Italy – A Small Town Worth Your Time

15 Sep,2018 By Jagabond

Montefusco is the town I keep returning to. In the wide sea of small towns, many are caught, briefly admired then thrown back. For what reason? With many so-called ‘charming’ small towns, the charm can only last so long before running dry.

To keep fresh with charm a town needs to check certain boxes. I developed a method using the FUNNEL algorithm to identify these rare towns that can hold a tourist’s attention for longer than a day trip. I explain further below, and detail why Montefusco meets all necessary criteria. Bottom line, this town is worthy of an overnight.


What to love about Montefusco

Food/drink culture

There’s nothing worse than a small town with a lousy selection of restaurants. The odds aren’t in your favor, as many of these towns have only a handful of dinner options. Luckily, Montefusco has Ristorante San Teodoro. They had the most flavorful Italian food I’ve had in Italy, including Arrabbiata pasta that was actually spicy by American standards. Check out the marinated whitefish below with a big red pepper garnish…amazing!

montefusco - small town in italy

I was lucky to find an outstanding winery in Montefusco. The owner is part of the Mastroberardino family that boasts the oldest wine business in the Avellino region. He split off on his own wanting a smaller and more personal feel, and named the winery Terradora Di Paolo after his wife. They have the standard wines of Irpinia – Greco, Fiano and Taurasi – all of very high quality. Contact them ahead of time to schedule a tour and tasting.

montefusco - small town in italy

Unique attraction

A town needs something special other than a pretty church. Montefusco has the former Bourbon Prison, located beneath the town hall building. How would you like mosquitoes and other biting insects sewn into your shirt? How about your foot soaked in brine then fed to a hungry goat? This was a place of torture for political prisoners, and few got out alive.

montefusco - small town in italy


I don’t mean a booming club scene, but at least one place to have a late night drink is essential. Montefusco has exactly one – The Art Café on the main cathedral square. The bartender there claims to make the best Aperol Spritz.

montefusco - small town in italy

They sometimes even have impromptu live music with a piano open to the public. After copious amounts of white wine the woman pictured below sounded like Elton John.

montefusco - small town in italy

Not overrun with tourists

Nothing kills charm quicker than busloads of tourists with selfie sticks. You won’t see that in Montefusco. Outside of their one annual festival, which every town in the province has, it’s mostly only locals roaming around. Lonely streets and alleys are commonplace here.

montefusco - small town in italy

Elegant on the eyes

Whether it be cute, cobblestone streets, stunning medieval architecture or natural beauty, a town must be pleasing to the eye. Montefusco is blessed to be situated on a hilltop, done for strategic reasons back in times of war. This also means incredible views of the surrounding Irpinia landscape.

montefusco - small town in italy

montefusco - small town in italy

Lodging with character

Some towns might not have any lodging options, let alone unforgettable ones. Palazzo Ruggiero is an incredible place to stay in Montefusco, right in the main square. You can hear the church bell going off outside your window in the morning. The owner is the nicest man, preparing breakfast by hand based on your preferences. The theme of the hotel appears to be American retro…not something you see often in Europe. My room came equipped with a vintage record player.

montefusco - small town in italy


Getting to Montefusco

Driving is the only option. The roads leading here are rough, which is typical of Avellino towns. It’s only an hour from Naples, and if you stay at Palazzo Ruggiero there is free parking next to the hotel.


3 Responses to “Montefusco, Italy – A Small Town Worth Your Time”

  1. Joshua Montefusco Says:

    Planning a trip to Italy from the US next year, given our family Surname, Montefusco will have to make the list of places to stay, and hopefully start some interesting conversations with the locals.
    Since we dont speak Italian, wondering how well we will be able to negotiate the town, do most folks speak some english? My great grand parents is where the language stopped in my family.

  2. Jagabond Says:

    Joshua, thank you for reading, and it’s great you’re going to Montefusco, an amazing town that deserves more attention. If you stay at the hotel I recommend, the owner knows only a bit of English, enough to get by. He was able to get me a tour guide that spoke okay English, but you should definitely contact him in advance to arrange this. The Art Cafe across from the hotel has some bartenders that can have a short conversation in English. I found the best English speakers at Terredora, the winery I mention in the blog. If you want a full experience I would recommend trying to find an English speaking tour guide that can devote some time to you. I actually recommend emailing Terredora about your expected arrival dates, and see if they can arrange a guide for the town of Montefusco. Terredora is used to English speaking visitors, as they are a somewhat well-known winery in Italy (one of the best, in my opinion). I would bet they could help you find someone to take you around. It sounds like a great trip! If you are driving around the Avellino Province and want some other towns to check out, try Montella and Calitri.

  3. Rene Aufiero Says:


    Thank you for the visual tour of Montefusco!! Montefusco is where my family originated. My grandfather came to America in 1910. I never had the opportunity to visit Montefusco however my brother did in 1984. My grandfather did not talk much of Montefusco (it made him sad as he left all his family to better his life in America).

    best regards
    Rene Aufiero

Leave a Reply