During history Umbria has been called in two ways : “La Terra Santa d’Italia” (Italy’s holy land) and “Il Cuore verde d'Italia" (Italy’s green heart)
that’s because nature, faith and family are the three main concepts that Umbrian people have in common, wherever you go, also traditions are very important here and you can find them in our daily life, with our family-run agriturism, restaurants and shops, and our old trades, that have been handed down though families for generations. These concepts are reflected in the perfection and the purify of our products, in our landscapes, in our history, art and culture.
Landscapes offer an ample view on our valleys: Tiber river valley; a fertile valley that hosts Chiascio and Topino; Nera river valley, full of peculiar angles in a wild nature. But Umbrian landscapes include also two beautiful lakes: Trasimeno and Piediluco; our roman waterfalls called Marmore and our crystalline source: Fonti del Clitunno narrated in a poem by Carducci.
Art and Nature, landscape and architecture, city and countryside appear in Umbria with a perfect harmony.
Umbria has been compared to the Holy Land because, besides having a hilly landscape very similar to the one where Jesus was born, it’s been the land of a lot of religious figures: Saint Benedict from Norcia, St. Francis from Assisi, St Rita from Cascia, St Clare, Jacopone from Todi, St Ubaldo.
The religious fervour has left in the Umbrian land a significative track : it is sufficient to mention Assisi, Gubbio, Norcia, Cascia, with churches and convents of incomparable beauty, Spoleto and Orvieto with their wonderful cathedrals.
Umbria is among the first places in Italy for the level of the quality of life: the civil tradition of the population, its so varied and interesting history, have created a social environment characterized by a high grade of civility, by a great spirit of tolerance, by an intelligent and widespread involvement in the management of common problems.
Everybody knows the Umbrian artistic towns: Assisi (with masterpieces of Giotto and Cimabue), Spoleto, Orvieto, Gubbio, Spello, Trevi, Montefalco, Todi e Perugia. This is the Umbria described by a thousand books and that, thanks to its unicity, is famous all over the world and it is destination of a tourism in costant increase.
Moreover, there is another Umbria, which appears less frequently in books but will not fail to fascinate the most attentive visitor: it is the land of vineyards, live-groves, woods, natural Parks and small towns set on the top of the hills.
This is also the land of wine shops, that produce the great Umbrian wines, of oil-mills, that yield the most savoury extra virgin olive-oil, of valuable truffles, of farms that supply sausages, typical cheeses and lentils.
The good cooking in Umbria is a tradition and an art based on the quality and on the genuineness of simple and greatly savoury products. A great abundance of products due to the richness and to the wide variety of the lands and of the microclimates of the different areas. Many are the typical products of Umbrian agricolture, different each other but united by the care of whom produces them with traditional techniques, handed down from generations, able to gaurantee undiscussed genuineness and quality.
Umbria is an hilly region, rich in waters, very woody, and its lands are well fit for the olive cultivation.
The hilly appearance is ideal for exposing the vine to the sunlight; the wood, instead, offers an exceptional gastronomic product: the truffle. Mountain areas are rich in excellent pastures, perfumed of rare essences: from here the development of the stock-farming and of the production of milk products and cheeses.
Most important places in Umbria
Situated in the most mountainous and picturesque part of Umbria, Valnerina is the heart of the Sibillini Mountains National Park. Valnerina is appreciated by those who want to escape from the stress and chaos of the big cities and those who want to re-establish the healthy bonds with nature. Important centers of this beautiful valley are Ferentillo, Montefranco, Norcia and Cascia.
Almost eight hundred years of history for this Umbrian village that has always fought for its own freedom and independence. Values that it claimed until it consecrated them in his name: Montefranco. It looks, from the top of his 414 meters, the Nera Valley, between olive trees and oaks forests. The ancient hamlet, once encircled by walls, now almost empty, tries to resume lively and colorful presence between striking panoramic views. Of the old castle of Bufone, pre-existing in 1228, remains the Franca and Spoletina doors and the outer walls. This castle was probably born at the end of the first millennium on the rocky valley overlooking the valley. Fortified place naturally represented a natural defense, from the Saracen hordes that infested the valley during their passage around 900.
One of the most beautiful villages of the picturesque Valnerina is Ferentillo: the village, lying along a gorge dominated by two rocks, is medieval and rises at the confluence of the torrent Salto del Cieco in the Black; the Black River divides the town into two parts, Mattarella and Precetto. The origins of the village date back to the VIII century and its history is linked to that of the Abbey of S. Pietro in Valle; first free commune, then under the lordship of Cybo and the Ancaiani, struggled for a long time against Montefranco and Spoleto. Entering in the hamlet of Mattarella we find the church of St. Mary, dating back to the 13th century, but rebuilt in large part in 500 and with the recent façade; on the fifteenth-century portal there are the remains of a fresco, "Madonna and two Angels"; the interior is three naves divided by ogival arches supported by columns and pillars and the roof is trimmed; the walls are open from niches and the altars there are frescoes of the Umbrian school of the fifteenth century. In the village of Precetto to see the church of S. Stefano, built in the 15th century, with three naves, with beautiful baptismal font and interesting fresco of half '500. In the crypt, as large as the church, but divided into two aisles by mighty pillars, there are mummies: the particular process of mummification is due to the nature of the soil, made of dry and porous sand and rich in salts, and all Continuous ventilation for windows.
The patriarch of St. Benedict, patron of Europe, exudes history from every corner: not only from the most important monuments (Basilica of St. Benedict, Communal Palace, Castellina and others), but from its own urban fabric, from the circle of walls still intact, with its vast archival heritage and a wealth of antique and modern art objects that enrich its surroundings. In addition to the environmental and landscape benefits, it is distinguished by its tourist-sporting vocation, thanks to which it has been named as the venue for summer retreat for top-level sports companies, while Castelluccio's velvety plans have been named Europe's best free-flying school. For gourmets, Norcia is a true paradise: sausages, black truffles, cheeses, lentils are the basis of a tasty and genuine cuisine, mainly based on traditional "norcineria".
Noteworthy around the world for having given birth to Santa Rita, it features the characteristic slope castle structure, superseded by the ruins of the Rock and the former convent of St. Augustine and the valley below the Corno river. The ancient origins of Cascia are attested by Roman remains, ruins of castles and medieval towers. It is the subject of substantial religious tourism flows at the Sanctuary of Santa Rita. In the nearby Monastery are kept the memories of the Saint. The itinerary continues towards Roccaporena, in a beautiful position perched between the mountains where Santa was born in 1831. Not to be missed is the birth and marital home of S.Rita, the garden of miracles and the Rock of Prayer. The main local events are also related to the ritual worship traditions. May 21 with Luminaria begins the celebrations, which continue on May 22 with the Historical Court in costume of the time and with the blessing of the Roses and end at Roccaporena on the fourth Sunday of June with the feast of roses and "Rites" .
The high valley of the Tiber with the discreet beauty of its landscapes, the layout of its urban centers, the architecture of its main monuments offers the visitor the emotion of a journey backward over time. A journey rich in suggestions, silence, which remains impressed in the visitor's memory for the balance between rural and urban environment, for the human dimension of its countries and for the simplicity that characterizes it.Città di Castello, the main center of the Alta Valle, is the ideal city from where to start a Renaissance itinerary in the valley alttiberina, thanks to the considerable artistic testimonies left by Lord Vitelli from the 15th century. Pallazzi and churches retain a clear imprint of Tuscan derivation, fruit of intense bonds of calves with the doctors, gentlemen of Florence. The two magnificent palaces of the Priors and the Podestà bear witness to this influence. Not to be missed is also the Albizzini Palace which preserves the works of Alberto Burri, the great contemporary master of the city of Castello, also exhibited in the former Dehumidifiers Tabacchi, just outside the city. Castello town has now established itself internationally also as a home of some important events such as the Festival of Nations of Chamber Music, the International Horse Show and the Truffle Show and Bosco Products. Gastronomy is, in fact, dominated by the truffle white, rarer and with strong and unmistakable scent. the craftsmanship is distinguished for the working of wrought iron, for linings operated "for the eye of the parish" or the garment for motifs, for the typography.
He confirmed his importance as a city-state even in the Middle Ages. The free commune succeeded in winning victoriously the League of nearby cities headed by Perugia, reducing its influence (1151), and then avoiding the humiliation of a defeat by Federico Barbarossa (1155), which even granted him further privileges. Always in contradiction with Perugia, Gubbio lived autonomously with respect to the rest of the region, developing strong ties with the Marche, as well as its expansions towards the opposite side of Monte Catria, where they reconstructed Cantiano and Pergola as centers. The moment of maximum splendor of the city is exquisitely expressed in the grandiose construction of the Piazza della Signoria, improperly called so, because prior to the period of the lordship. The square, which rests on majestic buildings, is located in the center of the city, in a place specifically chosen at the crossroads of the borders of all four quarters. At the far end of the square are the palaces of the free common: Palazzo dei Consoli and Palazzo Pretorio (or the Priori). The first was made between 1332 and 1349; an inscription in the archive of the portal attributes it to Angelo da Orvieto, although there are those who suggest that there was the help of a young Matteo di Giovannello, said Gattapone da Gubbio, since the style of the building is so different from that of the Palazzo Comunale of Città di Castello, always signed by Angelo da Orvieto. In addition to the famous Corsica Race on May 15th, in Gubbio, at the end of May, the Palio della Balestra is held, a challenge in medieval costume (has been reported since 1410) between the Balestrieri Eugubina Society and San Sepolcro with Medieval Crossbows from the station, which takes place on the suggestive Piazza della Signoria. In addition to the skill of the bandwagon, at the end of the day, a historic procession winds through the city streets illuminated by torches. In June, instead, the Tour of the Eugubino, a demonstration, not a cycling, but for historical cars and motorcycles, which are attended by many foreigners. Between July and August, the Gubbio Festival takes place, whose heart consists of the "Musical Perfection Courses" held by internationally renowned masters and attended by students from all over the world. The masters, along with the most well-trained students, are also the protagonists of a program of concerts taking place in characteristic environments of the historic center. On 14 August, the Quarter Tournament takes place, more or less the same program as the Palio della Balestra , but this time the tournament is among the city's neighborhoods. Finally, Christmas, a glimpse along the Mount Ingino slopes above the city, is the largest Christmas tree in the world.
The territory of Perugino reflects all the peculiar characteristics of the region. Uncontaminated landscapes alternate with historic centers of incomparable beauty. Perugia can boast a vast historical-artistic-cultural heritage that collects Etruscan, Roman, medieval, Renaissance, modern, preserved testimonies inside its museums. Perugia is also home to important universities (the one for studios and the one for Stanieri) that make it a cosmopolitan city, which is exalted during Umbria Jazz, one of the world's jazz festivals. No less fascinating are the centers of Corciano, Deruta, Torgiano with their narrow lanes and noble palaces. The hills and the countryside are mainly cultivated with vines, olives, cereals. Florido is the artistic handicraft, wrought iron, lace, and gastronomy comes from oil, wine, game, chocolate and typical pastry.
Framed by a delightful vineyard and olive grove, it extends between Umbria and Tuscany, Lake Trasimeno. Three islands are emerging from its waters: the Major and the Minor near the north bank, the Polvese near the south-east corner, connected to the main riverside centers by the ships of the Perugina Mobility Company. The Major Island, the only inhabited, still has the characteristic aspect of the fifteenth-century village created by fishermen. In 1213 he went to the hermitage for Lent of St. Francis of Assisi, you can see the chapel that remembers the landing and the rock where he stopped praying. The Powder Island, inhabited by a large community until the late 1950s, is the largest of the three islands owned by the Province of Perugia and is destined for public parks. It preserves interesting historical memories such as: S. Secondo Castle, St. Julian's Church and a 14th-century Castle. To visit, recently constructed, the Garden of Water Plants under the guidance of the staff of the Science and Educational Park of the island. The shores of Trasimeno are dotted with tourist centers, among which are Passignano, Tuoro, Castiglion del Lago, Magione. To protect the beauty of its area was established, with Regional Law, the Natural Park of Trasimeno. There you can practice all nautical sports and it is a real paradise for fishermen and for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Pork and fine carp "porchetta" are the culinary delights of Lake Trasimeno, while the lace of Ireland and lace at Tombolo give shine to local craftsmanship.
Assumed on a spur of Mount Subasio, in a dominant position over a verdant hill, Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis with the masterpieces of medieval art and all its Franciscan places, was declared in the World Heritage Site in 2000, Humanity from the UNESCO. In the upper part of the city rises the Rocca Maggiore, a splendid example of 14th century military architecture, which for several years hosted Frederick II of Swabia, leaving the walls that cradle the city fortifying it. at the Duomo di S. Rufino, patron of the city, is a 12th century Romanesque building featuring a magnificent façade. St. Francis and St. Chiara and the future emperor Frederick II of Svevia were baptized in the baptismal font. Afterwards, you will arrive at the Piazza del Comune in the center of the city, a place that previously hosted the Roman forum, which you can still access. They arise: the Palace of the Captain of the People (13th century), alongside the Torre del Popolo (13th century). The Temple of Minerva, adjacent to the Tower of the People, is a splendid testimony of a temple building of the I century. B.C. rebuilt in the sixteenth century. in the Church of St. Mary over Minerva. On the southern side of the square there is the Palazzo dei Priori, built between the 12th and 15th centuries. From the Piazza, going east you reach the Church of S. Chiara, an example of Gothic Italian architecture of the 13th century. Inside a glass urn there are the mortal remains of the Saint, in the chapel of San Giorgio are kept: the relics of St. Francis and St. Chiara and the Crucifix, which according to tradition would speak to St. Francis in the Church of S. Damiano. Via S. Francesco, west of the Commune Square, you reach the Basilica of St. Francis, which began two years after the death of the Saint in 1228 and ended around the eighties of the 13th century. The Basilica is made up of the overlapping of two churches: the Lower and the Upper, next to which stands a large Romanesque bell tower.The Lower Basilica, dark and dense, with a single nave, is composed of four camps completely covered by frescoes of the 13th century and Three hundred. These are the work of several artists: Simone Martini (circa 1284-1344), a disciple of Giotto and his pupil Maso, and finally the school of Pietro Lorenzetti. The Basilica Superiore is distinguished by the slender nave, flooded with light thanks to the high windows ornate with stunning glass windows. Frescoes of Cimabue and the famous Giotto cycle that reminds the life of St. Francis (1296-1304). See also: St. Peter's Church, the Hermit of the Carceri, St. Damian and the Church of St. Mary of the Angels who guard the Porziuncola.
Easy to reach by car, train or plane, just a few hours from centers such as Rome, Florence, Assisi, Orvieto, Perugia or Siena, Spoleto lends itself as an ideal trampoline for any excursion to discover the "Bel Paese". Perpetually by the time Spoleto divides its soul between the past and the present. Between the alleys and stairs of an old town still impregnated with ancient steps, daily work is intertwined with art and culture, with sensitivity and creative spirit. Spirit that explodes in June, when Spoleto celebrates the glories of its most modern pride: the Two Worlds Festival. But it would be ridiculous to limit the Festival to the attributes of a place that is constantly on the front line in the field of cultural events: just think about the activities of the Centro Studi in the High Middle Ages, those of the Lirico Sperimentale Theater, fleshy programs of prose and concerts that make Spoleto an enviable stage in the center of Italy that counts. The city's pearls are the amazing Romanesque Duomo, the Early Christian Basilica of San Salvatore, the Church of San Pietro, the Roman Theater, the Civic Museum and the Blood Ponte. While watching over the allure of the fourteenth Albornoziana Fortress, majestic and severe, symbol of a warrior Spoleto contrasting with the warm, almost Byzantine solar aura at its feet. A city that keeps intact a delightful surrounding of greenery, woods, olive groves, hermits and piers, farms and hiking trails that climb into the heights, in an unmistakable synthesis of culture and nature. It is in such a crucible of history and tradition, of uses and suggestions that has stratified the taste of local cuisine, full of decided flavors and unexpected delicacies. Stuffed by the gentle whites and the reds full of an ancient oenological culture, the gastronomic specialties sink their roots in the past; One more reason to keep the Spoleto area a special souvenir and maybe bring some of the artisanal products of fertile Umbrian land: oil, wine, mushrooms, sausages, truffles, honey, chestnuts.
Situated on a dominant hill, one of the most beautiful and unspoiled landscapes of Umbria, Todi's profile is all about, including in the richness of monuments, along the Tiber valley. The city has retained its medieval charm intact, integrating the urbanized fabric and the countryside surrounding it to the point of receiving, from a famous American university, the title of "the liveliest city in the world". Arriving in the city, the first large building to be found is the Church of Santa Maria della Consolazione, built on a probable project by Bramante, one of the Renaissance architectural masterpieces, begun in 1508 and completed in 1606. When arriving in the city, of the Republic where stands the Church of San Fortunato, a Gothic building dating back to 1292, completed in the second half of 1400, in which the crypt is buried by Jacopone da Todi, the most representative religious poet of the 13th century.Imboccando Via Mazzini, right on the right there is the Teatro Town Hall, built in 1872, is home to important representations and heart of the "Todi Festival". From there you arrive at Piazza del Comune, the center of the historic center considered one of the most beautiful squares of Italy, both for its greatness and for the monuments that overlook it: the Duomo, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta (XIII - XIV sec .), the Capitano's Palace (1293), which houses the Pinacoteca, with important paintings, ceramics, goldsmiths, etc. and the Etruscan-Roman Museum that houses objects from archaeological excavations in the territory of Tuderte. Linked to the Palazzo del Capitano and, like this one, entirely resting on large pylons, the Palazzo del Popolo, one of the oldest Italian municipal buildings (1214). In the south of the square the Palazzo dei Priori, built between 1293 and 1347, also built in Gothic-Lombardy forms, but more than once transformed. Above, on the facade, the Eagle was in bronze and, on the corner, the trapezoidal tower. Overcoming the Palazzo del Popolo you arrive in Piazza Garibaldi, from where you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the Tiber valley to Perugia. One of the most characteristic and evocative corners is finally the one on the Old Market with impressive Roman ruins known like the Nicchioni, dating back to the first half of the I century. B.C.
At the border with Lazio, one step from Rome, the area from the main roads is easy to reach. Numerous shades of landscape: green meadows, vineyards, olive groves, lush forests, reflected in the fresh waters of brooks, lakes (Piediluco, Corbara). The city of Orvieto, high on its tufaceous cliff dominates the landscape. An important Etruscan center, Orvieto is rich in archaeological finds of great value, as well as those of Narni, particularly famous worldwide Orvieto Classico white wine.
Provincial capital, is known for the Valentine's Day Valentine's Day and the Marmore's spectacular waterfall; some important centers and areas are Calvi, Amelia, Otricoli, Narni, Carsulae, Ferentillo, Montefranco. Traditional craftsmanship is distinguished for gold processing, costumes, masks, majolica, wrought iron and wood furniture. The prevailing crops are the olive and the vine. The kitchen preserves intact popular traditions: game, mushrooms, truffles and "porchetta", the main specialties.