So you are considering to visit Italy but don’t know where to start or what to see. Here are 10 reasons to start from Umbria, Italy.

Italy hosts some of the most elegant and most known cities in the world. Roma and Milan are famous for many reasons. However if you want to relax and experience the Italy you have seen in the Italian movies, Umbria is the place to be.

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ASSISI

ONE OF THE MOST VISITED CITIES IN ITALY!

AssisiHome to Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Claire which make this gorgeous town an international and religious landmark. A series of narrow streets connect the different plazas placed like gems in this hilltop town. Amongst the places to see are the “Basilica di San Francesco”, the “Chiesa di Santa Chiara”, the “Tempio di Minerva” and the glorious “Rocca Maggiore” locate just outside the belt-wall.

GUBBIO

WHERE SAINT FRANCIS MET THE WOLF!

GubbioThis town is is beautifully located on the lower slopes of Mt. Ingino. Gubbio is an extremely ancient town mentioned in the famous Eugubine Tablets and was in the past the capital of Umbria. Gubbio’s compact town centre has a good selection of mediaeval, Gothic and Renaissance structures built of gray limestone and has great views over the beautiful countryside. Just outside the town is a Roman amphitheatre. The Eugubine Tablets are sheets of bronze inscribed in ancient Umbrian using a modified Etruscan alphabet and the latin alphabet. They date from the second or first century BC and were discovered in 1444. They are displayed in the civic museum of Gubbio and are the longest texts so far found written in the extinct Umbrian language.

TODI – BUILT BY HERCULES!
TodiTodi is perched on a tall two-crested hill overlooking the east bank of the river Tiber, commanding distant views in every direction. Historical Todi was founded by the ancient Italic people of the Umbri, in the 8th-7th century BC, with the name of Tutere. The name means “border”, being the city located on the frontier with the Etruscan dominions. Almost all Todi’s main medieval monuments — the co-cathedral church (Duomo), the Palazzo del Capitano, the Palazzo del Priore and the Palazzo del Popolo — front on the main square on the lower breast of the hill: the piazza is often used as a movie set. The whole landscape is sited over some huge ancient Roman cisterns, with more than 500 pits, which remained in use until 1925.

ORVIETO – THE WINE OF THE POPES!
OrvietoThe perfect syntony between the town and the sand stone which the town makes an important statement about the harmonious integration between nature and human action. This beautiful town is the favorite destination for those who search for quality touristic destinations. This town boasts some of the best historical, artistic, gastronomical and environmental patrimony. Taking a stroll around the city gives a feeling similar to time travel back to the middle ages. A suggested start to visiting Orvieto, is the “Duomo” followed by the “Rocca del’Abornoz” and the unique “Pozzo di San Patrizio”. Don’t forget to stop at one of the traditional “Trattoria” to taste some authentic local food and the famous white wine “Orvieto Classico” also called the wine of the Popes.

SPOLETO – THE MEDIEVAL BOURG!
SpoletoEven though the Roman influences can still be seen, Spoleto, with its characteristic narrow streets, preserves the typical medieval appearance. Witness of the roman era, are the “Teatro Romano”, “L’Arco di Druso” and the “Basilica paleocristiana di San Salvatore” and the dominant “Fortezza”. Like many other Italian town, the center of the city boasts the magnificent Duomo, however Spoleto beside art and architecture, is famous for the promotion of wonderful events like the “Festival dei due Mondi” – a folkloristic event that promotes Cinema, Teather, Art, Music and ballet.

PERUGIA – CAPITAL OF UMBRIA
PerugiaThe history of Perugia goes back to the Etruscan period. Perugia was one of the main Etruscan cities. The city is also known as the universities town, with the University of Perugia founded in 1308 (about 34,000 students), the University for Foreigners (5,000 students), and some smaller colleges such the Academy of Fine Arts “Pietro Vannucci” (Italian: Accademia di Belle Arti “Pietro Vannucci”) public athenaeum founded on 1573, the Perugia University Institute of Linguistic Mediation for translators and interpreters, the Music Conservatory of Perugia, founded on 1788, and others Institutes. There are annual festivals and events: the Eurochocolate Festival (October), the Umbria Jazz Festival (July), and the International Journalism Festival (in April). Perugia is a well-known cultural and artistic centre of Italy. The famous painter Pietro Vannucci, nicknamed Perugino, was a native of Città della Pieve near Perugia.

CASCATA DELLE MARMORE – TALLEST MAN-MADE WATERFALL IN THE WORLD
Panoramic view of the Marmore Fall The Cascata delle Marmore, noted over the centuries for its beauty, appears as a splashing water column distributed on three jumps. Wrapping the flora in a cloud of white foam, it covers an jump of 165 meters. The scenario revealed to the eyes of visitors is the result of more than two thousand years of work by different roman emperors who, from the roman age, have tried to channel the waters of the “Velino” river to fall in the underlying river “Nera”.

Its history began in 271 B.C. , when the Roman consul Curio Dentato undertook a work of urban renewal of the “Rieti” valley by constructing a waterway of more than two kilometers in length, up the crest of the “Marmore” cliff.

LAKE TRASIMENO
Panoramic view of Trasimeno lakeThree million years ago, there was a shallow sea in this part of Umbria. A depression formed by geologic fractures allowed the present-day Lake Trasimeno to form. Historically, Trasimeno was known as The Lake of Perugia, being important for northwestern Umbria and for the Tuscan Chiana district. In prehistoric times, this lake extended almost to Perugia. Trasimeno is a mythological figure, joined with Agilla, a nymph born in Agello, now a hill midway between Perugia and Trasimeno, formerly an island in the lake.

The Battle of Lake Trasimeno occurred on the northern shore of the lake in April 217 B.C. during the Second Punic War. The exact location of the battle is unknown because the lake then extended further north; the battle could have been fought between Cortona and Tuoro. Near Cortona, there is a place called ‘Ossaia’, in Italian meaning ossuary. Another place with reference to the battle is the place named sanguineto, whose name is connected with the Italian term “sangue” meaning blood or, probably, bloody place. The first civilisation to inhabit this area was the Etruscans; three of the main Etruscan cities – Perugia, Chiusi, and Cortona – are within 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the lake. Little physical evidence remains from the period of Etruscan or later Roman settlement. Castiglione del Lago, has some Roman ruins and its main streets are structured like a chessboard in the Roman style.

BEVAGNA
Medieval festival in BevagnaThe city was originally an Etruscan-Oscan settlement. Around 80-90 BC it became a Roman municipium, called Mevania. In the 3rd-4th centuries AD it was probably an episcopal see and, after the Lombard conquest, the seat of a gastald in the Duchy of Spoleto. After the year 1000 Bevagna was a free commune. In 1152 Frederick Barbarossa set it on fire. In 1249 it was again destroyed by the Count of Aquino. In 1371-1439 it was ruled by the Trinci family. Later it was part of the Papal States until the unification of Italy.

Main events held in Bevagna include:

Primavera medievale (April): exposition of local culinaric and artistical products held by the Associazione Mercato delle Gaitte.
Arte in Tavola (end of April): Spring festival with exhibitions by local artists, concerts, exhibitions of local products and dishes with degustation.
Mercato delle Gaite (June): big summer festival with medieval banquettes, processions, challenges between the four gaite (quarters) and taverns.
The four Gaite of Bevagna are San Giorgio, San Giovanni, San Pietro and Santa Maria.

CORCIANO
View of Corciano during a foggy day.This lovely town is conveniently located walking distance from Villa Pieve. The earliest traces of human presence (some fragments of flint tools on blades and fragments of vases turned into dough) date back to Neolithic times. The discovery of two cinerari vessels (preserved in the Museum of the Palazzo Municipale) indicate the presence of humans in the period between the ninth and eighth centuries BC Between the third and first centuries BC formed several settlements (usually small) dedicated mainly to agricultural and artisanal.

The immediate neighborhood was populated by Etruscans, whose presence was dramatically signaled by the discovery in 1812 of bronze panels from a parade chariot, at Castel San Mariano di Corciano. Under Roman rule it became a district of Roman agricultural villas.

A mythical founder Coragino, companion of Ulysses, is a medieval invention recounted in the fourteenth-century Conto di Corciano e di Perugia. With the unsettled conditions of Late Antiquity, the inhabitants withdrew to the defensible hilltop site that controlled the valley that communicated between Lake Trasimeno and the upper Tiber valley. Its curving concentric street system is testimony to the three encircling walls that protected the community. Like virtually all early walled villages, the Corcianesi were under the control of the bishop, in this case the bishop of Perugia, whose rights to the castrum de Corciano were confirmed by Pope Innocent II in 1136; Corciano appears in a list of castelli belonging to Perugia, 1258. A visit by Francis of Assisi is commemorated, after his canonisation, in a church dedicated to him, which retains traces of its fourteenth and fifteenth-century frescoes.

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