The only landlocked region in the country, Umbria is often referred to as the “green heart of Italy”- a description you’ll find appropriate as you gaze at its verdant hillsides, lush valleys and densely wooded forests. Like many regions in Italy, Umbria has a rich culture strongly linked with the past that centers around food, art, music and wine.
Art - Umbrians have a deep appreciation of art, and throughout history the region has produced its share of talented artists. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Umbria was home to a well-respected art school that taught venerated artists such as Raphael, della Francesca and Perugino.Visitors who prefer contemporary art will be pleased to find a thriving modern art scene in Umbria, with contemporary art museums in numerous towns, including Trevi, Spoleto, Spello, Perugia and Citta' di Castello.
WHAT TO SEE:
Assisi - an UNESCO World Heritage Site an important destination for tourists and pilgrims for many centuries. Assisi is built on the western flank of Mount Subasio and it is characterised by long steep streets leading to Piazza San Rufino, where the Romanesque cathedral of the same name can be seen, Piazza Santa Chiara (Saint Claire), and the town hall. Among the many monuments and churches the city can boast are: the Basilica of Saint Claire with its characteristic facade of bands of pink and white, which houses the crucifix that spoke to Saint Francis; the Upper Basilica of St. Francis, which contains the frescoes by Cimabue and Giotto, and which is linked to the Lower Basilica by a stairway. The Porziuncola, an ancient chapel where the Saint took refuge, is in the Basilica of Santa Maria Degli Angeli. The Temple of Minerva is a wonderful temple dating back to the 1st century B.C. Today, where a well-preserved facade with six columns still remains.
Spoleto - Clinging to the hillsides it is dominated by the 14th century fortress, the Rocca Albornonziana, the most representative monument of the town and now a national museum.
The scenic route from the fortress, leads to the Ponte delle Torri or Bridge of Towers, a 90 metre high daring bridge comprising 10 arches, joining Colle S. Elia to Monteluco.
Among other monuments and churches not to be missed are: the Arco di Druso, an arch built in 23 A.D., as the entrance to the ancient Roman Forum; the Cathedral, which has a wonderful Romanesque facade where an amazing mosaic dating back to the 13th Century stands out. Inside, there are some works by Pinturicchio, Filippo Lippi and other artists.
Gubbio - is also linked to the fame of Saint Francis and carries the traces of its ancient past to this day: it has a Roman Theatre, dating back to the 1st century A.D., located just outside the walls.
The very symbol of the town is Palazzo dei Consoli, an imposing complex built in the 14th century and now home of the Gallery and the Archeological Museum; whereas the Palazzo Ducale, built to cater to the Renaissance tastes of Federico da Montefeltro, is located opposite the Cathedral built between the 13th and 14th centuries on the remains of a pre-existing Romanesque church.
Lake Trasimeno and its islands - Umbria is the only region of central and southern Italy not wets by the Mediterranean sea. Luckily the peruginis have their own body of water: the Lake Trasimeno, one of the biggest lake of the area. Polvese is the biggest of the three islands of lake Trasimeno and it’s almost uninhabited. In 1995 was declared teaching science park by the local administration; every year, in september, an important eventi of popular science takes place in the Island, l’isola di Einstein. Other two beautiful island are enclosed in the water of the lake: the Maggiore (Major island) and the Minore (Minor island).
Cascata delle Marmore – Marmore’s Falls is a man-made waterfall created by the ancient Romans. Its total height is 165 m (541 feet), making it one of the tallest in Italy and the tallest man-made waterfall in Europe. Its source is a portion of the waters of the river Velino (the rest of the river flows into a hydroelectric power plant), after flowing through Piediluco lake near the community of Marmore. It pours into the valley below formed by the river Nera. Its flow is turned on and off according to a published schedule, to satisfy the needs of tourists and the power company alike.
WHAT TO DO:
Music - When it comes to music, Umbria seems to step away from its traditions and embrace the contemporary. Each July, the region hosts the Umbria Jazz Festival, one of the most renowned international music festivals in the world. Another popular Umbrian music festival is the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, which features opera and classical music in addition to modern dance, theater and other visual arts.
WHAT TO TASTE:
Cuisine - Umbrian cuisine tends to consist of simply-prepared dishes that rely on fresh, high-quality ingredients. Truffles, both black and white, are a particular specialty of the region and are often served shaved over tagliolini, a type of hair-thin pasta. However, the classic Umbrian specialty is pork. The most renowned Umbrian pork comes from the black pigs of Norcia, an ancient town in southeast Umbria.
Wine - Umbria has been a wine-producing region since Etruscan times, but its vineyards have always fallen in the shadow of those in Tuscany. These days, Umbrian wines have become increasingly respected in the world’s wine scene.