PHOTOPHILE- View from top: Montalto opens its gates


Rolling hills and sweeping landscapes are just some of the amazing views from atop Jefferson's "Montalto."

Charlottesville residents seeking a break from sweltering summer days but not sure they want to go inside a historic house have another option. For the second year, the Albemarle County landmark across from Monticello– known over the years variously as Patterson Mountain, Carter Ridge Farm, Mountain Top Farm, and Brown's Mountain– has been used for pastureland and as a site for apartments traditionally rented to University of Virginia graduate students and young professionals.


In 2004, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation purchased 330 acres of the Montalto property for $15 million, preventing development from destroying the Monticello viewshed. The Foundation plans to use Montalto to further its dual mission of preservation and education.

But for history lovers on a hot day, the sublime sights from atop the 1,278-foot-high mountain provide a few degrees of cool pleasure, the nearly 360 degrees of view.

Said to be the highest residence between Charlottesville and Portugal, the mountain offers a view that extends 40-50 miles in all directions on a clear day.

Purchased by Thomas Jefferson in 1777 as an extension of Monticello for use as park and riding grounds, Montalto is Italian for "high mountain." The property opened to the public in May of 2006.

Guided tours, limited to 24 visitors, are offered daily at 10am and 1pm April 1-October 31 and take approximately one hour. $13 adults; $7 children under 12 and residents of Charlottesville and Albemarle County regardless of age. Info and advanced ticket reservations:

Michael and Flora Galbraith from Baden, Pennsylvania

Father and son Rob and Daniel Lathrop from Plainfield, Illinois, check out the base of an old water tower.

Interpreter Lois Sandy points out Monticello in the distance, nestled 400 feet below Montalto. 

Locals Jessica and Sam O-Gorek discuss an old building structure with their tour guide.

After a bus ride to the top, visitors are free to walk around Jefferson's "high mountain."

"Repose" was one of many buildings occupied as living quarters until 2004.