The name Panzo originates from the Latin name Pantius and the name of the Monastery, S. Angelo in Panzo, comes from a church dedicated to the cult of S. Michele Arcangelo, built on land belonging to an owner with that name. The existing monastery, located approximately 2 km outside of Assisi, on the slopes of mount Subasio, was built around the X century, on the ruins of a Roman settlement. Some Latin inscriptions, relating to the “gens Propertia” (Propertius was from Assisi) were found in the foundations of the primitive church. At the beginning of the XIII century Sant’Angelo in Panzo was a monastery when, in March 1212, Saint Francis, Friar Filippo and Friar Bernardo, accompanied there Saint Clare who had just fled from home. Saint Clare was then joined by her sister, Saint Agnes, and the family, irritated, sent their uncle Monaldo to bring her home, even by force. The legend tells of the first miracle of Saint Clare whereby the body of Saint Agnes became so heavy that it could not be lifted, while the arm of uncle Monaldo raised to beat her, remained paralyzed. Saint Clare later moved to San Damiano and Panzo became an important Clarian Sisters monastery until approximately one century later, when, for security reasons, they moved inside the city walls of Assisi, as did many other settlements around the city at that time. Sant’Angelo in Panzo thus became an abandoned hermitage until the beginning of the XVII century when it was bought by the Bonacquisti family, an important family from Assisi, who restored it to transform it into their palace, thereby also rebuilding the old church of the convent. The Bonacquisti family became extinct at the end of the XIX century and for some time the building was used as a farmhouse until 1950 when the current owners restored it. Sant’Angelo in Panzo is also known for its water wells that have supplied water to Assisi since Roman times, through tunnels carved into the rock and partially still visible today, that arrived in the city. Now a bound family-owned villa, Sant’Angelo in Panzo is considered among the most interesting historical dwellings in Umbria. And certainly the only one in Assisi, a city known worldwide and visited yearly by millions of tourists as well as by secular and religious elites. Even though not open to the public, Panzo is always welcoming those who wish to visit the church and the walls of Saint Clare. Every room is prestigiously furnished and the library has over 6000 books.
A FAMILY HISTORY
For almost 100 years the historical heritage of this unique place has been carried on by a family, now in its 5th generation. The family history begins in 1929 when Domenico Brunelli, CEO of the largest Italian shipping company, decides to retire in Umbria, he buys land and properties, including Sant'Angelo in Panzo which he bequeathed to his daughter Maria.
Maria, in the post-war period restores the property, bringing it back to its ancient splendor, she furnishes it with valuable furniture, creates a vegetable garden as well as a pleasant garden surrounding the house, with roses and trees still visible today. The place is transformed into a cozy family vacation home.
Her son Ettore with the help of numerous documents available in the archives of Assisi, carried out a study on the ancient history of the house, opens it to visitors and pilgrims, making Sant’Angelo in Panzo known in Umbria and beyond; he also makes it available for ceremonies. In 2006 he creates the Società Agricola Panzo to manage the production of extra virgin olive oil and since 2010 also organic. A fundamental support is provided by a family from Assisi with Rita who manages the residence and coordinates events and ceremonies, and her son Alessandro who plays a fundamental role in the development of the Azienda Agricola.
In the fourth generation there are Lavinia and Mario who continue to love Sant’Angelo in Panzo, taking care of it with passion. With the help of Alessandro, they promote events to continue to allow people to discover this magic place. The production of organic olive oil diversifies with the addition of three new varieties, always with great emphasis on quality. The commercial activity intensifies and expands abroad.
The fifth generation is getting ready....