All About Umbria
Monte Subasio park (Perugia)
Monte Subasio, at 1290 metres, characterises and dominates the splendid
valley below, the peaks of Civitelle, Sermolla, Colle San Rufino and Pietralunga,
as well as the Tescio river and Chiona stream, all lie along the boundaries
of the park. Wildlife abounds in the beautiful landscapes characterised
by olive trees, woods and pastures.
Colfiorito park (Foligno)
On the Colfiorito high plain, a soft, green break in the harsh, steep
landscape of this section of the Umbrian-Marchese Apennines, there is
the Colfiorito oasis. The area is of interest for both its marshes, rich
in plant and animal species (including characteristic peat) and the presence
of numerous and important “Castellieri” (remains of prehistoric
dwellings dating back to the 10th century B.C) among the hilltops. The
remains of the ancient city of Plestia are also significant. The area
is also noted for its excellent cheeses, milk, lentils, red potatoes and
Monte Cucco park (Perugia)
The park includes the mountain range of Monte Cucco (1566 m), rich in
important archaeological remains of dwellings and fossils. The Rio Freddo
and Fucecchie gorges are not be missed. Numerous subterranean phenomena
(waterways and caverns) are present, including the Grotta del Monte Cucco
(about 1,000 m deep) which can be visited. Ideal for mountain and extreme
sport enthusiasts: hang gliding, paragliding and, in winter, cross-country
here for properties around Perugia.
Riverside park of the Tiber (Terni)
The Tiber river flows through history and nature: its waters lead us to
the slopes of the hills of Todi, to the Forello gorge near Prodo and Titignano,
to the Corbara lake and to Alviano, an important site for bird-life and
a WWF nature oasis. Marvellous woods and impressive Umbrian, Etruscan
and Roman archaeological remains complete the fascinating picture.
Riverside park of the Nera (Terni)
This 2000 hectare park is rich in water: in addition to the Nera river
and Piediluco lake, there is the Velino river which forms the famous delle
Marmore falls, with a drop of 165 metres. Among the dense woods and steep
riverbanks of the Nera, kayaking, rafting, free climbing and bungee jumping
are all possible. There are numerous animal and plant species, including
rare birds (redstart and swift) and wildcats.
National park of the Sibillini mountains
Set up as a national park in 1993, this park is made up of 70,000 hectares
of natural beauty: the Vettore, Sibilla and Redentore summits offer magnificent
views; the Castelluccio high plains, Fiastra and Pilato lakes and numerous
valleys provide variety to the environment and favour an abundance of
species; while the Aso, Tenna, Ambro and Nera rivers all have their origin
in the Sibillini mountains. Rare plant and animal species are present
in the park, including the alpine star of the Apennines and alpine anemone,
and the marten, golden eagle, wolf, eagle-owl and peregrine falcon have
their habitats here.
Located near Perugia, it is the fourth largest lake in Italy, and is an
ideal location for a wide variety of water sports. This very picturesque
lake, with crystal clear tranquil water, is fed by small torrents from
the Tiber basin. It has three small islands, which provide good venues
for picnics or sun bathing. The banks of this lake have historical significance,
having been the place where Hannibal defeated the Roman consul Cauis Flaminius.
The lake has a surface area of 128 sq km, and while it is not deep it
is full of fish. For a region like Umbria, which has no seaside, this
lake is held in high regard. The park includes the lake, its three islands,
and the towns along the shore. There are numerous fish species present,
including large pike, as well as birds (eagle-owl and osprey).
here for properties around Trasimeno Lake.
Umbria was named by the Romans after the mysterious Umbrii, a tribe cited
by Pliny as the oldest in Italy, and one that controlled territory reaching
into present-day Tuscany and Le Marche. Although there is scant archaeological
evidence pertaining to them, it is known that their influence was mainly
confined to the east of the Tiber; the towns to the west such as Perugia
and Orvieto were founded by the Etruscans, whose rise forced the Umbrii
to retreat into the eastern hills. Roman domination was eventually undermined
by the barbarian invasions, in the face of which the Umbrians withdrew
into fortified hill-towns, paving the way for a pattern of bloody rivalry
between independent city-states that continued through the Middle Ages.
Weakened by constant warfare, most towns eventually fell to the papacy.
Historically, however, Umbria is best known as the birthplace of several
saints, St Benedict and St Francis of Assisi being the most famous, and
for a religious tradition that earned the region such names as Umbra santa,
Umbra mistica and la terra dei santi ("land of saints"). The
landscape itself has contributed much to this mystical reputation, it's
impossible to miss the strange quality of the Umbrian light, an oddly
luminous silver haze that hangs over the gentle curves of the land.
the heart of Umbria, Perugia is famous for its 5 old quarters enclosed
by its Etruscan town walls that were constructed some 22 centuries ago
and are still visible for long stretches. When the city of Rome was little
more than a group of huts, one could already enter the Etruscan Perugia
using any one of the 7 gates such as Porta Pulchra or Porta Augustus.
Entering the city through Porta San Pietro, whose exterior was remodelled
by Agostino di Duccio in 1475, you'll find yourself at the La basilica
di San Domenico while the Museo Archeologico Nazionale dell'Umbria is
to be found in the adjacent cloisters and Convent.
Go further and you'll reach the Piazza del Sopramuro, where the 15th
century Università Vecchia and the adjacent Palazzo del Capitano
del Popolo look down on the square. Further on, after a short climb, you'll
find yourself in one of Italy's most important squares, where you'll see
the Palazzo dei Priori, the Cathedral and the13th century fountain Fontana
Maggiore at the centre. These monuments render the Piazza Grande of Perugia
(now called Piazza IV Novembre) a superb architectural complex. At the
extreme end of Corso Vannucci you'll find famous panoramic gardens built
on the foundations of the Rocca Paolina, a strong-hold built by Pope Paul
III in 1540. These foundations contain, an entire quarter of the old Perugia:
a dead city, a sort of Medieval Pompei which has been brought to light
again and which is fascinating to visit. Perugia's ascents and stairways
are usually quite steep, Via delle Prome is a typical example. Following
Via Prome from the Arco d’Augustus, the road leads to the upper
point of Perugia, where the 14th century castle of Porta Sole once stood
. Perugia is crammed full of artistic jewels, you should not miss the
architectural complex of St. Francesco, with the l'Oratorio di San Bernardino,
a masterpiece of Agostino di Duccio, with a facade of bas-reliefs of enchanting
grace and finesse. Don’t forget that Perugia is also the centre
of Italian chocolate making
Medieval town of Assisi is set on the slopes of Monte Subasio above the
Topino and Chiascio river valleys. The old walls of the historical town
centre are perfectly preserved and entrance is through one of eight gates.
On the summit of Subasio two castles look down on the town, Roccia Maggiore
and Roccia Minore. The Gothic Basilica of San Franceso and the church
of Santa Clara and San Pietro are masterpieces. The first was built in
the mid 13th century while the second is famous for its elegant doors
and three rose windows. The Cathedral, dedicated to the San Rufino has
a splendid and unaltered facade with sculptures and reliefs. The Piazza
del Commune is situated on the ancient Forum, you will find the Palazzo
dei Priori (1337), Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo (12th century) and
the temple of Minerva, built during the reign of Ceasar Augustus. Nearby,
places which are connected with the life of St. Francis can be visited,
such as the l'Eremo delle Carceri on the slopes of the Monte Subasio,
and the Convento di San Damiano, which was built up around the oratory
where, according to tradition, the cross of Christ spoke to the Saint.
Finally, on the plain, the impressive basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli
was built between 1569 and 1679 to protect the Cappella della Porziuncola,
which was the first simple meeting-place of the Francescan brotherhood.
All those who have visited this splendid town have to agree that the beauty
of town is far more than the architecture and works of art but is in the
atmosphere of the place and the connections it has with the life of San
here for Umbria properties near Assisi.
Located on the slopes of Monte Ingino, Gubbio is among the oldest towns
in Umbria, beautifully preserved over the centuries with an historical
wealth which reflects its past. Dominated from the top by the Basilica
di Sant'Ubaldo on which the rests of St. Ubaldo are buried, Gubbio has
many architectural masterpieces testifying the beauty and the importance
of what used to be during the Middle ages, a real town-state. Today the
symbol of the town is Palazzo dei Consoli, built at the same time as Piazza
here for Umbria property near Gubbio.
At the border of Lazio, a short distance from Rome, this territory is
positioned between the most important lines of communication and is, therefore,
easily reached. There is a wide variety of landscapes here: green pastures,
vineyards, olive groves and lush forestes, all of which are reflected
in the fresh water of brooks and lakes (Piediluco, Corbara). The city
of Orvieto, positioned high up on a tuff crag, dominates the landscape.
Orvieto, which was an important Etruscan centre, is rich with important
here for Umbria property near Orvieto
ancient hilltop town is famous for its numerous ancient buildings, including
a 1st century AD Roman Theatre, the 4th century Christian Church of San
Salvatore (one of the world's oldest surviving churches), and the Rocca
Albornoziana - one of the most magnificent of Italy's castles. Spoleto
is also a leading center of artistic and cultural festivals and events,
and hosts Italy's top international arts festival, which takes place each
June. In addition, just outside town are the fabled springs of the Clitunno
River and the splendid forests of Monteluco - excellent places for walking.
Foligno - Norcia - Cascia
The district , one of the most enchanting for landscape and architecture
includes important villages and towns such as Foligno, Nocera Umbra, Norcia
and Cascia in the Valnerina.
Situated in the most mountainous and picturesque area of Umbria, the
Valnerina is at the heart of the Mount Sibillini National Park. Apart
from its beatiful landscape, the Valnerina is also well known as an ideal
sports tourism destination. Norcia and Cascia are the headquarters for
many sports clubs, while the plains of Castelluccio have been described
as the best area for paragliding in all of Europe. A trading crossroads
since ancient times, this area is covered with villages of medieval origin;
Bevagna, Montefalco, Spello, Trevi and Nocera Umbra, Norcia, Cascia. Artisan
crafts flourish in this area, especially in Bevagna, which is known for
its basket and hemp weaving, and in Foligno with its pipe organ restoration
and leather-working activieties. The Foligno area, rich with olive groves
and vineyards, boasts numerous wines whitch is the most prized in the
region (Trevi). The Valnerina is a true paradise for connoisseurs of fine
foods : sausage, black truffles, cheeses and lentils are the main ingredients
of the delicious and genuine cuisine that revolves around the typical
Other towns of note in Umbria all of which are worth visiting are Città
di Castello, Narni, and Todi.
Events and Festivals
Umbria Jazz Festival
The festival is one of the most important events in the European Jazz
calendar. Since 1973, when it began, the biggest names in Jazz have come
to Perugia to perform at the festival. The list is like a roll of honour
of all the great Jazz artists of the last thirty years: Dizzy Gillespie,
Sam Rivers, Herbie Hancock, Enrico Rava, Miles Davis and Lionel Hampton
to name a few. For two weeks in July Perugia will once again become a
meeting point for thousands of music lovers not only from all over Italy
but also from Europe and the United States. The festival is an annual
event and takes place in the second and third week of July.
Palio dei Terzieri
Dating from 1250 the festival is an annual event that takes place in the
town of Pieve in August. A parade of more than 800 people: banner carriers,
soldiers, nobles, ladies and cavaliers, fire eaters walk through the main
streets of the centre, entertaining the spectators with games of prestige
and ability. At the end of the traditional parade, a majestic allegoric
float which, inspired by the Classic Antiquity, travels through the streets
of the city guided by companies of musicians playing renaissance melodies.
La Giostra della Quintana
The festival takes place in June in Foligno. In three successive competitions
riders in medieval costume, have to reach with a lances the centre of
rings of a diameter always smaller hanging on the arm of a wood statue
representing a warrior of the XVIIth century. On the evening of the competition,
a procession of 600 people walk through the streets of the city accompanied
by baroque music while in the nobles palaces and in the streets close
to the main square, one can taste the antique recipes of Umbrian dishes
of the 600s.
Mercato delle Gaite
festival takes place in June every year in the ancient small town of Bevagna,
located on the western edge the Foligno plain. It is an evocation of the
everyday life of the Middle Ages. Along the streets and corners of the
city, the population involves itself in handicraft, typical markets and
taverns decked out in Medieval style where one can taste dishes prepared
according to Umbrian recipes which are centuries old.
Known as Festival of two World and organised every year between the end
of June and mid-July in the heart of Umbria. The Spoleto Festival year
after year is a celebration of dance, prose and lyrics
Food and wine
The cuisine of landlocked, hilly Umbria relies heavily on rustic staples
- pastas and roast meats - and tends to be simple and homely. But the
region is also the only area outside Piemonte where truffles are found
in any abundance, and their flavourful shavings find their way onto eggs,
pasta, fish and meat - at a price that prohibits overindulgence.
Meat plays a leading role - especially pork, which is made into hams,
sausage, salami and, most famously, into la porchetta, whole suckling
pig stuffed with rosemary or sage, roasted on a spit. Game may also crop
up on some menus, most often as pigeon, pheasant or guinea fowl. The range
of fish is restricted by the lack of a coast, but trout and crayfish are
pulled out of the Nera, Clitunno and Scordo rivers, while the lakes of
Piediluco and Trasimeno yield eels, pike, tench and grey mullet. Vegetable
delicacies include tiny lentils from Castelluccio, beans from Trasimeno,
and celery from around Trevi. Umbrian olive oil, though less hyped than
Tuscan oils, has a high reputation, particularly that from around Trevi
and Spoleto. As for desserts, Perugia is renowned for its chocolate and
pastries. Cheeses tend to be standard issue, although some smaller producers
survive in the mountains around Norcia and Gubbio.
Umbria is best known outside Italy for fresh, dry white wines . Orvieto,
once predominantly a medium-sweet wine, has been revived in a dry style,
though the original abboccato is still available. However, the pre-eminence
of Orvieto in the domestic market has been successfully challenged by
Grechetto, a cheap and almost unfailingly reliable wine made by countless
producers across the region. Umbria's quest for quality is also reflected
in the tiny Montefalco DOC region, which produces excellent red wine.
Rambling and trekking
The natural morphology of the Region lends itself admirably to these pastimes.
Marked trails, besides those of the Trasimeno district and the treks in
the Monti Martani are continually increasing, it is therefore advisable
to get an up-date guide before setting out from the Italian Alpine Club
The Umbrian countryside is ideal for riding, offering ample stretches
of wild and uncontaminated areas.
It is organized on the rapids of the Nera river for a distance of 3km
starting at the Marmore Waterfall.
Umbria offers many trails away from main roads.
Skiers can enjoy cross country skiing on Monte Cucco at (Costacciaro,
Scheggia e Sigillo) and downhill skiing at Norcia on Monte Sibillini.
Umbria has four golf courses:
Golf Club Perugia: - Santa Sabina - Loc. Ellera Perugia. This is an 18-hole
golf course situated 10 kms from Perugia and is open all year round.
Golf Club Panicale Lamborghini - Loc. Panicarola. This is a 9-hole course
situated 26 kms from Perugia and is open all year round, it also has a
practice driving range.
Antognolla Golf e Country Club - Loc. Antognolla - Str. S. Giovanni del
06070 Perugia. One 9-hole golf executive course and a 9-hole championship
golf course, located 15km from Perugia, open all year round.
Golf Colleluna - Loc. Colleluna - Terni
A 3-hole golf course open all year; offers practice driving range.
Well-being and Spas
Santo Raggio spa at Assisi
Sanctus et Regius Fons is the ancient Roman (2nd century B.C.) name for
the Baths of Assisi, of which some interesting archaeological remains
have survived. In the modern complex, there is cold, bicarbonic-calcium
water for hydroponic therapies for illnesses of the urinary tract, metabolism
disorders, digestive tract, liver and biliary tract.
Fontecchio spa at Città di Castello
The complex of the Fontecchio spa, offers various and avant-garde solutions
for those who require specialized and natural therapies, or for those
who desire relaxation, fitness and psycho-physical rejuvenation. Cold,
medio-mineral, bicarbonate-alkaline sulphurous water indicated for the
treatment of respiratory, circulatory, muscular-skeletal, gastro enteric,
nervous system and skin disorders.
Amerino spa park at Terni
In the village of San Nicolò di Acquasparta there is the beautiful
spa park and alongside it there is the new complex for Amerino water production.
Inside the park, which became well known in the 19th century for its illustrious
guests of the time, lies the ancient spring of Saint Francis hidden between
two stone cliffs covered with olive trees.
Travel and other Information on Umbria
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