and the Franchetti Heritage
Baron Leopoldo Franchetti and his wife Alice in 1901 founded the Montesca School housed inside the Villa offering a free education to the farmer's children up to the sixth grade. Their aim was to give them the opportunity to improve their way of living as well as their professional future. These schools were an early experiment in democratic education open to everybody. In 1905 Baroness Alice called Maria Montessori at Villa Montesca to organise with her a seminar which gave life to the first publication of the Method for Scientific Pedagogy, universally known as the Montessori Method.
One hundred years after that first experiment, a number of educational institutions, together with the Local Authority of Città di Castello, formed here an educational and professional training organisation to continue, in the spirit of the Franchetti institutions, the research and the experimentation on new teaching methods.
Nowadays the Villa has been fully restored and is surrounded by a centuries old park. Alice Hallgarten-Franchetti, an American woman in love with Italy, set up a weaving workshop in order to allow the already skilled craftswomen in developing and producing linens and embroidery following a centuries old local tradition. The Tela Umbra (today the Weaving Museum) was founded as part of a larger project having the aim to better the living standards in the countryside through the process of progressive self-empowerment with education and work training.