Umbria is considered the green lung of Italy, an expression that sums up all the extraordinary beauty of this land characterized by countryside, hilly landscapes, forests, mountains, lakes and rivers.
Since the Paleolithic, man has understood the potential of the territory: it was inhabited by the Umbrians and the Etruscans and then conquered by the Romans; three civilizations that have left precious archaeological evidence throughout the territory.
But that is not all, Umbria has also given birth to numerous famous saints including San Francesco, Santa Chiara, Santa Rita da Cascia and San Valentino, to which they are wonderful dedicated religious architectures that have become pilgrimage destinations by faithful from all over Italy.
Finally, the region has always stood out for its cultural vivacity, as testified by the many music festivals and for great eno-gastronomic tradition. Here are some of the must-see places in this beautiful region.
- Marmore Falls and Piediluco Lake
- Deruta and Torgiano Wine Museum
- Sources of Clitunno
- Foligno and Bevagna
- Passignano and Trasimeno Lake
- Norcia and Cascia
- Naturalistic oasis of Alviano Lake
- Città della Pieve
- User questions and comments
1 - Perugia
Perugia is one of the two provincial capitals of the region and is an unmissable stop for anyone wishing to make a trip to Umbria.
Three thousand years old, the city is characterized by a beautiful historic center with a medieval setting narrow streets and characteristic streets, very pleasant to explore on foot: however, since we are talking about a hilly area, keep in mind that the city itself is full of ups and downs, so it is essential to have comfortable shoes in your suitcase!
Among its wonders: Piazza IV Novembre and the Fontana Maggiore, but also the Etruscan Arch, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and the Palazzo dei Priori, seat of the National Gallery of Umbria.
Perugia is also venue for events of great importance such as Eurochocolate, dedicated to Perugian chocolate, and Umbria Jazz, one of the most important jazz music festivals in Europe.
2 - Assisi
A deeply spiritual place, Assisi is considered city symbol of peace who identifies with one of the most loved and venerated saints in the world: St. Francis of Assisi. It's a delicious one medieval town where the marvelous stands out Basilica of San Francesco embellished with frescoes by the master Giotto. The Basilica is not the only religious architecture of interest: at the Piazza del Comune, for example, it is present the Temple of Minerva, dating back to the st century BC
In Piazza Santa Chiara there is the homonymous Basilica which houses the remains of the Saint and the beautiful wooden crucifix which, according to legend, spoke to San Francesco.
3 - Terni
Another famous provincial capital of the Umbria region, Terni was known in the past with the ancient name of Interamna Nahartium which literally means "land between two rivers", namely the Nera and the Serra.
In addition to being the homeland of the emperor Marco Claudius Tacitus and the writer Cornelio Tacito, Terni is mainly known as the city of the patron saint San Valentino, remembered by the splendid Basilica inside which the remains of the Saint are kept.
In the month of May, every year, the highly appreciated event that recalls popular traditions returns, the Cantamaggio: for the occasion, parades of themed floats and dialect song competitions are organized.
4 - Marmore Falls and Piediluco Lake
Just 7 km from Terni, it is located the Marmore Falls, one of the obligatory stops for those who want to discover the Umbrian natural beauties.
The falls are an artificial work of hydraulic arrangement of Roman origin: before 290 BC, in fact, the Velino river gave rise to areas where the water was stagnant and swampy, generating an unhealthy environment for the population of the neighboring towns. With the aim of making these waters flow together, the consul Curio Dentato gave the order to dig a canal that would allow them to head towards the cliff of Marmore and from there to fall, making a jump of 165 meters, in the underlying Nera Gorge.
The Velino river is the emissary of another natural wonder located near Terni: the Piediluco Lake, a lake basin which, due to its irregular shape, is almost reminiscent of an alpine lake. This lake is a great place to relax, take beautiful photographs but also for water sports: many rowing enthusiasts they choose it as a destination for weekends or longer stays. Worldwide events also take place here.
5 - Deruta and Torgiano Wine Museum
Known above all for the artisan production of artistic ceramics, Deruta is a beautiful Umbrian hillside village in the province of Perugia, not surprisingly included in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy. But he is not the only one! Less than ten minutes away, in fact, is Torgiano, also awarded with the same recognition. In Torgiano, in particular, it is possible to visit the famous ones Wine and Oil Museums, managed by the Lungarotti Foundation.
The MUVIT Wine Museum, established in 1974, consists of 20 rooms where they are exhibited over 2800 artifacts with great scientific rigor. Among the exhibits present, there are Cycladic jugs and Hittite vases, Greek, Etruscan and Roman ceramics, glass and bronzes but also a series of tools for viticulture and winemaking.
6 - Orvieto
Of purely Etruscan origin, Orvieto is one of the oldest cities in Italy. Its Cathedral is a splendid and colorful example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture, with the characteristic facade embellished by numerous bas-reliefs.
However, in addition to the Duomo, the city offers very characteristic views where you can fully enjoy its timeless atmosphere: there is also a Orvieto underground, dug by the inhabitants over the centuries and full of wells and caves. The most famous of all is the St. Patrick's Well, a civil engineering work carried out at the behest of Clement VII for survival reasons in the event of a siege or natural disaster. It is 62 meters deep, has a diameter of 13,5 meters and can be visited thanks to the two helical spiral staircases that never meet, consisting of 248 steps each.
7 - Gubbio
Gubbio, the city of the "mad", is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and characteristic of all of Umbria. The city Cathedral, in particular, is a real artistic treasure embellished with numerous works dating back to the sixteenth century.
Also overlooking Piazza Grande is the Palazzo dei Consoli, built in Gothic style: a symbol of the city, it houses the municipal museum, the "big bell" and the seven "Eugubine Tables", a very important document for the history of the Italic peoples dating back to the III / II century BC.
Other attractions not to be missed in Gubbio are the Ducal Palace and the Roman Theater, dating back to the st century BC
8 - Spoleto
A city with a very rich historical and artistic heritage, Spoleto is the ancient capital of the Longobard dukes. Its main attraction, the Rocca Albornoziana, dominates the city from above and testifies to the ancient presence of the popes and governors. The fortress is also protected by a high wall system with 6 square towers, which divide it into two areas: the Courtyard of honor, where there is the National Museum of the Duchy, and the Arms courtyard, with an open-air theater.
For those who do not suffer from vertigo, a visit to the Bridge of the Towers, 230 meters long and 82 meters high. Furthermore, in Piazza del Duomo there is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, in Romanesque style, which houses frescoes by Pinturicchio and Filippo Lippi.
9 - Sources of Clitunno
The Fonti del Clitunno cover an area of almost 10.000 square meters, extended along the Via Flaminia between Spoleto and Foligno. The environment has been an inspiration since ancient times for painters, writers and poets (including Pliny the Younger, Virgil, Corot, Byron and Giosuè Carducci), fascinated by aquatic flora, fauna and spectacular colors of the willows and cypress poplars reflections in the clear body of water.
Le underground springs, which today flow from some cracks in the rock, formerly formed a navigable river that reached as far as Rome. The Romans in fact considered these waters sacred and that is why they went there regularly to consult theoracle of the god Clitunno.
10 - Foligno and Bevagna
In the heart of the Umbrian Valley, Foligno it is a small flat town and therefore perfect to visit on foot or by bike. Among the main attractions, we advise you not to miss the architectural complex present in Republic Square and consisting of Duomo, neoclassical and dedicated to San Feliciano, from Town Hall and Trinci Palace, seat of the Pinacoteca.
A short distance from Foligno, it is also located Bevagna, a nice village included among the orange flags of the Italian Touring Club, known for the production of canvases, nicknamed precisely "bevagne". This town has appeared in numerous films including Zeffirelli's "Brother sun, sister moon" and in the fiction "Don Matteo 6" broadcast on Rai Uno.
11 - Passignano and Trasimeno Lake
Lake Trasimeno is the fourth largest lake in Italy, located in the heart of the Umbrian hills. Bathed by its waters there are 3 islands: theIsola Maggiore (the only one inhabited), thePolvese Island (the largest) andMinor Island, which being private is the only one that cannot be visited.
At Lake Trasimeno, it is possible to relax, practice water sports and go around its entire perimeter, either by car (along state roads, but also provincial and municipal roads) or by bicycle (thanks to the special cycle path available). Along its banks there are also numerous and beautiful villages that we recommend you visit. The main ones are Castiglione del Lago, San Feliciano, Tuoro sul Trasimeno, Castel Rigone and Passignano sul Trasimeno. The latter in particular is located on a promontory along the northern shore and is renowned for the workmanship of wrought iron aimed at the production of chandeliers, laterne and other objects of daily use.
12 - Narni
If you love to go hunting for adventure and want to feel a bit like a little Indiana Jones for a day, in Umbria you will find a town that will suit you. Narni in fact has a unique atmosphere, so much so that it has also inspired a successful series of books (from which internationally famous films have also been taken) with the name The Chronicles of Narnia.
The visit to the undergrounds of Narni it is something unique: lasting about an hour and a half, the exploration starts from convent complex of San Domenico with the entrance to a 1979th century church (discovered only in by six young speleologists!). After passing through a room with a Roman cistern, we arrive in a large room that was the seat of the interrogations of Tribunal of the Inquisition, called the Room of Torments, as evidenced by some documents found in the Vatican Archives and Trinity College in Dublin.
13 - Norcia and Cascia
Ancient city like many in the same region, Norcia it is known above all for the flowering of the lentils and for being the birthplace of San Benedetto, first monk of Christianity as well as founding father of the Benedictine order. Lived at the turn of the 500s, St. Benedict proved to be a very important spiritual guide for the whole Christian world, of which the famous rule of life "Ora et Labora", established to regulate community life in the convent, is mainly remembered.
Also in the vicinity of Norcia, it is then Cascia, another common linked to the cult of a religious figure: we are referring to Saint Rita of Cascia. In this town of just 3.000 inhabitants you can visit the immense Sanctuary of Santa Rita consisting of the main Basilica, the Lower Basilica, the Monastery and the Penitentiary. Also not to be missed is the Church of Santa Maria della Visitazione, one of the oldest buildings in the city.
14 - Spello
Located between Assisi and Foligno, Spello is a city rich in remains from the Roman era, among which the walls, the remains of the theater, the amphitheater, the thermal baths, the Consular door, Besides Porta Urbica e Venus door from the Augustan period.
At the church of Santa Maria Maggiore there is the Baglioni Chapel, painted by Pinturicchio with images of the Annunciation, the Nativity and the Disputa al Tempio, as well as some frescoes by Perugino built on the access pillars to the presbytery.
15 - Alviano Lake naturalistic oasis
Lake Alviano is a basin of artificial origin, made by Enel in 1963 to channel and use the waste water of the Corbara reservoir. Over time, the area has transformed into a swampy oasis with particularly favorable conditions to welcome typical fauna and flora of humid places. The oasis, inaugurated in 1983, currently has an area of over 900 hectares (400 of which are entirely covered by water) and has a strong appeal for bird-watching enthusiasts: over 160 species of birds, both sedentary and migratory, live in the marshy area. Among these, it is possible to spot moorhens, white and gray herons, lake hawks, mallards, kingfishers and cormorants.
16 - Todi
Halfway between Terni and Perugia, Todi is one of the largest municipalities in the region, as well as one of the most hilly. Among the things to see in Todi, you cannot avoid visit the medieval old town, of which Piazza del Popolo is the beating heart. Testimony of the era of the Free Municipalities, they overlook the square the Cathedral of the Annunziata in Romanesque-Gothic style and the Episcopal Palace. Other notable buildings are the Civic Museum and the Church of San Fortunato, in thirteenth-century Gothic style: we recommend that you do not just look at the main structure, but of also descend into the crypt where there are some tombs of saints and a fresco by the blessed Jacopone da Todi.
17 - Montefalco
Also part of the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Montefalco is one highly recommended destination for wine lovers, for those who want to get away from the urban chaos but also for photography enthusiasts: here, among vineyards and olive groves you will feel at peace with yourself and the nature that surrounds you and you can take wonderful photos to take home as a souvenir. Furthermore, in Montefalco there is the museum complex dedicated to San Francesco, including the former church of San Francesco, decorated with frescoes by Gozzoli and Perugino.
The best time to visit the town is during the month of September, when the grape harvest and some are held important traditional events.
18 - Città della Pieve
From its 500 meters high, Città della Pieve dominates a vast Umbrian hilly area, known as Val di Chiana. Inhabited since very ancient times, the city is rich in important religious and civil monuments. Among the most significant, we suggest you visit the Palazzo della Corgna, the Torre del Pubblico in travertine built in two different eras, but also the Co-Cathedral dedicated to Saints Gervasio and Protasio and the Convent of San Francesco. If you want to explore the surroundings of the city, take a trip to the small village of Salci, located between Città della Pieve and Orvieto: the first news of this small town dates back to 1243 when this tiny territory was used as a sort of "buffer" the Papal State and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
Plan your trip: how to get there and where to sleep
Umbria is a region that lends itself to various types of travel: give it by cultural itineraries to eno-gastronomic trips, up to and including backpacking trips in contact with nature.
The region is provided with two airports: in Perugia and Foligno (compare flights - from € 50,00).
If you are interested in the great art cities or on cultural itineraries, we recommend you visit Assisi, Perugia and Orvieto (compare the accommodations on Booking from € 30,00 per night).
If you prefer go to the discovery of the villages and the ancient vineyards of the Region, better to choose Montefalco, Gubbio, Foligno and Bevagna in the province of Perugia, but also a Torgiano with its exceptional Wine Museum (accommodation from € 37,00 per night).
Finally, for lovers of the outdoors and nature spots, insert in your itinerary the Cascate delle Marmore and Lake Trasimeno, including a stop at the naturalistic oasis of Lake Alviano (accommodation from € 27,00 per night).