WHAT TO SEE
Umbria's charm comes from the fusion of art and nature, the peace and serenity that inspire its evocative places, from the presence of Renaissance masterpieces and the medieval villages set in the hills. Gubbio is one of these, the oldest city in Umbria. In the Middle Ages, it reached its maximum splendour; the Cathedral, the Palazzo dei Consoli, a symbol of the town, the Ducal Palace are just some of the testimonies that make this city a real jewel. Not only art attracts visitors to Gubbio but also the spectacular folkloristic events of the Corsa dei Ceri and the Palio della Balestra, the former in honour of the Patron Saint, and the latter a memory of an ancient past. In Umbria, one can find many fascinating places: Orvieto with its famous Cathedral, one of the masterpieces of Italian Gothic art, and the Well of San Patrizio, an engineering masterpiece around which two non-communicating helical staircases with 248 steps turn to go to reach the water 62 meters deep. How can we forget Spoleto, a picturesque city that boasts a thousand-year history that still retains the vestiges of medieval and Renaissance architecture? Its stone paths and its most outstanding monuments are the settings for international cultural events such as the Festival dei due Mondi: an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in an artistic atmosphere of great quality. Between art and spirituality, the visit to Assisi's medieval city will be unforgettable, inscribed in the list of Unesco sites "World Heritage of Humanity," representing "a set of masterpieces of the human creative genius." Everything speaks of its most illustrious citizen, St. Francis, patron saint of Italy, from the Basilica dedicated to him with the saint's tomb, to the Eremo delle Carceri, just outside the city walls, where St. Francis retired in prayer. Assisi is very welcoming and festive, and its inhabitants seem to want to share their ancient traditions with the people. One of them is the Calendimaggio, a splendid historical re-enactment that transforms the city into an old medieval village populated by knights, ladies, archers, and flag-wavers of a time now passed. Perugia, the capital of Umbria, is a city of ancient origins. The historic centre is teeming with masterpieces of art and architecture with a museum heritage among Italy's richest. Perugia is a real cultural centre: two universities and some manifestations of international echo make it a cosmopolitan city of great tourist interest.
WHAT TO DO
Set like a stone in Italy’s green heart, Umbria is the ideal place for those who love being in contact with nature and, through cycling itineraries, discover woods, castles, sanctuaries, villages, and magnificent towns such as Assisi and Spello.
Near Terni, the Marmore Falls attracts visitors from all over Europe for the spectacular waters and the possibility of canoeing and kayaking and animated visits for children to discover the area along the park path.
Another fascinating journey in timeless places is faith and spirituality that sees as witnesses the most illustrious children of this land, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare, and St. Benedict of Norcia.
The Via Francigena di San Francesco, to be covered on foot, puts us in contact with boundless landscapes in an intimate dimension, on the one hand, and friendliness with other pilgrims, on the other.
Along the way, it is possible to find various accommodation facilities where to sleep and exist.
Another exciting itinerary is the famous “wine roads”: a journey made of nature, flavours, history, and traditions. In addition to tasting good wines, you can learn about local food and wine and artisan traditions. Many artisan shops with ceramics, glass, and wood are typical expressions of the traditional culture of ancient origins.
A visit to one of the many mills scattered throughout the area is also mandatory; a way to learn about Umbrian oil’s grand culture, a flagship of all companies, oil consortia that have also obtained the DOP Umbria oil.
WHAT TO EAT
A small land of great flavours, Umbria can satisfy every palate type: for meat lovers, the flagship is pork. Thanks to the butchers’ skill, the latter is transformed into delicious sausages or into tasty hams and cured meats, known from Norcia, to be enjoyed with bland bread that enhances its flavour.
Cheeses also have substantial tastes worthy of note are aged pecorino, fresh or aged goats.
They are used in dishes or as a side dish, like in the Castelluccio di Norcia lentils, a tasty ingredient, and soups, which have obtained the IGP (protected geographical indication) from the European Union.
The rich assortment of dishes goes hand in hand with the genuine quality of the earth’s products, among which the truffle is the main protagonist. The black truffle used as a condiment in pasta, and the game, especially in the Norcia and Spoleto area, is a delicatessen. The prized white truffle can also be found mainly in the Tiberina Valley in Orvieto and Gubbio.
Another symbolic product of these lands is the oil, golden and fruity, which enriches every dish without covering its flavour, reaching a quality level such as achieving the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin).
Among the desserts, you cannot give up the typical dessert, the gingerbread. There are also many local sweets, whose recipes have been passed on for centuries.
Finally, the Umbrian soil is particularly suitable for viticulture, and the temperate climate has allowed this land to produce refined white and red DOC wines, including, among the many known, the Assisi Grechetto and the Sagrantino di Montefalco wine.
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