Holiday in Umbria
Umbria, one of Italy’s smallest regions is located southeast of Tuscany, and is called the "Green Heart of Italy".
It is one of the few regions in Italy which is not washed by the sea but yet it is very rich in water courses, which keeps the beautiful hilly landscape with olive groves, pines and cypresses green all year around.
This region has a very rich culture and a long history. During your vacation in Umbria you will be able to see remains of both Etruscans and Romans mixed with art from the Renaissance biggest painters – add this to the authentic villages and the annual events of all kinds for a holiday rich of experiences.
We here highlight some of the towns in this region – you will for sure discover others.
Perugia is the “capital” of Umbria and it is a lively medieval walled hill town with many historic buildings, Etruscan remains, squares filled with people combined with modern shops. Here, you find one of the best know Italian language school for foreigners.
Perugia is famous for chocolate and holds its chocolate festival, “Eurochocolate”, in mid-October. The city also hosts a huge international Jazz Festival, the “Umbria Jazz Festival”, that runs for two weeks in July and the “Music Fest Perugia”, two weeks of classical music performances in historic monuments and churches in August.
To discover Perugia, the best thing to do is to wander through the narrow streets and along the walls at the edge of town for views of the valley.
The small town of Assisi is one of the Christian world’s most important pilgrimage sites as it is home of the Basilica di San Francesco. This small town has been an important place of pilgrimage for over 700 years and even though very touristic, it is one of those places we really recommend you to visit.
On a hill, you will find Assisi with spectacular views of the valley below. Like most other towns in the region, Assisi was grounded as an Umbrian settlement in the 7th century BC. It was then conquered by the Romans 400 years later. Although the town was Christianized by Saint Rufino, Assisi will always be known for Saint Francis, a patron saint of Italy who founded the Franciscan monastic order.
Our present Pope chose the name Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi because he wants to be seen as the people`s pope.
Visit the amazing churches and extraordinary works of art, but most of all, try to feel the atmosphere in the air. Assisi has now recovered from the devastating earthquake of 1997 where some minor works of art were forever lost.
Assisi is very small and easily explored by foot. The streets are hilly so walk slowly and during the hotter summer months we advise you to take occasional rests in some of the cool churches or enjoy an ice cream break or two. Always bring water on you walks.
We advise you to begin your tour at the top of the town, which is the oldest part, so you can enjoy the city going down the hill.
This interesting town is perched on a plateau of Tuff rock and has adapted to the needs of the modern day tourist by transforming itself into a car-free haven. You access to the city either via the funicular that runs from the railway station below up to the old town centre, or through escalators dug into the cliff side. Alternatively there is a regular minibus service that covers the entire city.
The heart of Orvieto is Piazza del Duomo where you can admire the façade of the Duomo, a masterpiece of gothic architecture.
Another must do experience is the Underground Tours. The tourist office organizes fascinating tours that are very interesting and also fun also for children. Look for the signs Viaggi nella Citta' Sotterranea.
Because Orvieto is built on tuff, a volcanic rock which is very easy to dig into. On the tour you can visit Etruscan underground 'rooms', many caves were used for practical purposes, with underground mills and stables in use until recent centuries. Most fascinating of all is the underground columbarium, cut into the very edge of the hilltop, with 'windows' looking out over the surrounding countryside.
The Trasimeno Lake
Trasimeno is the largest lake in the center and south of Italy, with a surface area of 128 squaremetres. No major river flows directly into or out of the lake and the water therefore level fluctuates significantly according to rainfall levels.
For summer swimming, the best beaches are just below Castiglione, near the fishing village of Torricella, at the Lido di Tuoro and, best of all, on Isola Polvese, the largely uninhabited and impeccably landscaped island reached by boat from the tourist village of San Feliciano. Passignano is where you should go if you're looking for organized activities like sailing, windsurfing and diving.
Gubbio is a small medieval town situated in a panoramic position and in the middle of a really beautiful landscape. Gubbio is maybe the most classic village of Umbria characterized by narrow streets, bridges, small piazzas and medieval quarters.
It has long been known for its ceramics. So, if you are looking for a hand painted souvenir reminding you of your vacation in Umbria, this is the place to buy for it.
Todi is a picturesque medieval hill town with marvelous views in all directions, surrounded by medieval, Roman and Etruscan walls. Although it's a hill town, its centre at the top of the hill is quite flat so you can easily walk around. The central piazza, originally the Roman forum, has several beautiful medieval buildings. Sights are close together and there are good places to linger, enjoying the views or the ambiance.
Do not drive into the city centre as you might receive a fine. There's a large pay parking lot, Porta Orvietana, below the town centre with a lift into town.
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