Umbria is situated geographically in the middle of Italy, in between Le Marche and Tuscany. Umbria’s capital city is Perugia, which was established by the Etruscans. A unique aspect of Umbria is that it offers the best aspects of culture and history all in a fairly small area. These days there are a variety of visitors drawn in as a result of the creative and cultural background of the region. In addition to this many people purchase a second residence for taking holidays in a tranquil location or perhaps to take part in outdoor sporting and leisure activities in a gorgeous environment.
Umbria is often referred to as ‘the green heart of Italy’ perhaps due to the hills being adorned with thousands of evergreen oak. The area between the Tuscan towns of Cortona and Arezzo and the Tiber valley boasts a beautiful region of hills covered in woods. To the west of Perugia is Lake Trasimeno this represents the largest amount of water in the Umbria region. To the South of the Lake the landscape alters somewhat with some slight undulations and the buildings are erected from a terracotta brick as opposed to stone, giving the countryside a unique look.
Umbria is well known for being a place of poets and a home to artists. The region features several long-standing churches beautifully ornamented by celebrated artists as well as a assortment of well maintained documents, artifacts and various manuscripts from history. Furthermore the regions enjoy a good range of modern art, Benedictine monasteries, historical castles and fortresses and a number of saints making it ideal for those people looking to enjoy a spiritual element to their vacation.
The National Gallery of Umbria is located at Perugia having a copious compilation of works of art from Renaissance masters including Della Francesca, Duccio and Giotto to name a few. Umbria is without doubt a perfect holiday destination for those tourists looking to rent a property with its wonderful natural locations which are only enhanced with Umbria’s moderate climate.To be able to gain the most pleasure from an Umbria holiday, be sure you plan in advance for the best things to do. Below I will examine some of the most popular activities that the visitors can do in Umbria.
Best Places to Visit in Umbria Italy
Wildlife and The Natural parks
Umbria is recognized as the “green heart of Italy” owing to its amazing green areas which perform such a vital element in the landscaping of the area. The Monti Sibillini National Park is an attractive location to go to see and hosts 1800 varieties of flowers. Umbria is a great place for those who love water sports as it has a multitude of lakes and rivers and natural springs. Umbria is also the perfect option for wildlife enthusiasts with an extensive diversity of both marine life and wildlife to be found at parks such as the Parco di Colfiorito in which there exist numerous wetland environments together with Lake Trasimene which happens to be the 4th largest lake in Italy.
The Parco Fluviale del Tevere is an excellent illustration of a natural environment which has been molded as a result of human involvement, in the shape of the dam constructed at Corbara to control the river Tiber’s flow. Regardless of this, the area encompassing the reserve around the city of Todi, has been stated as being amongst the most perfect locations in respect of life quality as put forward by research carried out by Kentucky University.
Parco Regionale Del Lago Trasimeno contains an abundance of typically freshwater wildlife and plants with the nearby slopes covered with farmland and trees. The park is the largest regional park in Umbria extending along the edge of Trasimeno lake and consists of 3 islands being Polvese Island, the largest island, owned by the Province of Perugia and employed as an educational and environmental research center. Maggiore Island, the second largest, is the place you may discover a small fishing village which dates back to the 15th century and Minore Island, which is privately owned. The park has breathtaking views and it is a wonderful environment to just sit and take them in.
Subasio Park is made up of the mountain system which derives its name from the homonymous mountain, most likely the most famed mountain within Umbria. This mountain stands virtually on its own at the southern point of the chain, defining the boundaries of Valle Umbra within the east and looks imposing in its valley situation and hilly panorama with a height of 1,290m .This is a fantastic park for visitors as inside the Park you can find fortresses, towns, abbeys, Churches, monasteries and bridges and other places of historical and architectural interest.
Seeing the Sights
Seeing the sights is an essential holiday pursuit for all those people visiting Umbria. It is highly recommended that travellers investigate towns, such as Orvieto, Spoleto, Assisi and Deruta in order to observe the diverse points of interest, like the Basilica di San Francesco discovered in Assisi. The region of Umbria boasts a number of the world’s finest museums like the Museo Regionale della Ceramica. Here visitors are able to investigate the evolution of ceramics.
Travellers must be sure to take a look at the impressive tombs within this region which include Ipogeo dei Volumni. The tomb, uncovered in the year of 1840, is among one of the most significant funerary monuments of Etruria, which dates to the third century BC, is a component of the enormous necropolis, referred to as the “Palazzone”. Situated 5 Km from Perugia is the tomb of the Volumni, a wealthy and noble Etruscan family. The tomb the only one of its type of Etruscan-Roman houses is made up of a foyer together with seven rooms.
Umbria provides some of the world’s most excellent cultural places which include art galleries such as Galleria Nazionale where visitors can examine the astounding collection of Umbrian arts work which include the exceptionally renowned Perugino paintings. Sited in the Palazzo dei Priori Perugia the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria is the Italian National paintings collection of Umbria. The collection consists of the best illustration of the Umbrian School of painting, varying from the 13th to the 19th centuries and displayed in 40 galleries in the Palazzo.
Assisi is a destination which features numerous attractions for the visitor. There is plenty of choice including museums, churches, World Heritage sites and even lakes. The shopping in Assisi can also be a joy with excellent offers to be found in the high streets and shopping areas within the square of Santa Maria. The church of Monte Orve which is located up on the mountain offers you not merely the opportunity to see this holy building but also take in the spectacular views all around you as well. Each month there is an old-fashioned small market held there and it is a destination site for many thousands of pilgrims each year.
Assisi is celebrated for the Basilica of St. Francis and this attraction draws in lots of pilgrims. The basilica was started in the year of 1228, and erected into the side of a hill. It consists of two churches referred to as the Upper Church and also the Lower Church, plus a crypt where the final remains of the Saint are entombed. The inside of the Upper Church is an significant early illustration of the Gothic style of architecture in Italy.
The village was entirely rebuilt following the destructive earthquake which happened in 1997. St. Francis was born within Assisi in the year of 1181 and took inspiration from the amazing beauty of the Tiber Valley. You will be able to enjoy this awesome view across the valley from the enigmatic castle of Rocco Maggiore. The town hosts a number of the most spectacular cathedrals and basilicas within Umbriaa as well as other impressive castles and villas that are scattered about the landscape. In addition to this there is an outstanding collection of classical art.
The stunning medieval hilltop city of Perugia is the capital city of Umbria. The city is an artistic and cultural centre and somewhat unspoiled by the ravishes of modern living. This attractive medieval walled town with its hilltop location offers fabulous scenic views like those over the Spoleto Valley. You should be sure to visit the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo dating from 1345, this medieval cathedral overlooks the Piazza IV Novembre.
Several of the great masters resided in Perugia or otherwise shaped their masterpieces within the city and, in the present day, the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria holds examples of the most culturally and historically noteworthy artistic masterpieces, which include the Six Angels and Madonna with Child by Duccio di Buoninsegna. The High Renaissance painter Pietro Perugino produced several of his masterpieces within the Perugia region. Raphael was another High Resaissance master and was working in Perugia and created his renowned Oddi Altar in Perugia in the year of 1502-04.
Perugia is also known for the July Jazz Festival when many thousands of people come from all over the world to pack into the tiny streets and charming squares to have fun at the free concerts until late in the evening. The Umbria Jazz Festival is considered to be among the most significant jazz festivals to be held anywhere in the world and has been hosted each year from the time of 1973.
Best Places to Visit in Umbria Italy – Final Thoughts
Umbria is a region steeped in history and culture as well as natural beauty. There are so many reasons to visit Umbria and I have only touched on a few of the highlights but I am sure you will find many more during your stay. Whether its majestic historical towns or the magnificence of the countryside Umbria is sure continually be a joy to all who see it.