The most beautiful villages in Umbria

DISCOVERING THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF UMBRIA EASILY REACHABLE FROM THE RESIDENCE TERRA DEI SANTI

Spello ancient roman town hall "splendid colonia julia" city nestled on the slopes of Mount Subasio is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy

Spello, of ancient Umbrian origins and Roman colony in the Augustan age, presents one of the most beautiful and fascinating urban-natural features of the Umbrian landscape. It stretches on a spur of Mount Subasio and lies gently towards the plain with a succession of towers, arches, walls and terraces built with the typical stone of the same mountain, which at sunset acquires a delicate pink color. It is a village to be discovered and full of historical testimonies. Starting from the southern part "borgo di Spello" and climbing up to the Arce "Belvedere area" door, you can visually trace the history of a place that has had very ancient Umbrian, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance presences.
The Porta Consolare was the main entrance of the town in the Roman period and still remains the main entrance starting from the southern part of the country. The door opens into the circle of Augustan walls and is surmounted by three statues of the Republican era, found in the amphitheater area. Going up to the center and along the Via Consolare, on the right stands on the ruins of a temple sacred to Giunone and Vesta, the main church of the village S. Maria Maggiore, famous for the Baglioni Chapel, frescoed in 1501 by Bernardino di Betto, said the Pinturicchio.
Going further, on the left there is a road that leads to Porta Venere and the Properzio Towers. The imposing Augustan construction was flanked by two dodecagonal towers from the Middle Ages.
From Piazza Vallegloria, among compact groups of stone houses, you climb to the highest part of the village. Crossing the Roman Arch or the Arceo Gate, the ancient gateway to the Roman acropolis in the Agustean period, you reach the Belvedere where the gaze turns right to Mount Subasio in its entirety and sweeps up to nearby Assisi, to the Umbrian countryside and to the surrounding mountains, allowing you to catch a glimpse of the ancient conformation of the Tiberine lake that gave rise to the Umbrian valley.

Events

The Flower Festival
Every year, on the occasion of Corpus Domini, the streets of Spello are transformed into a spectacular carpet of flowers, thanks to the work of the infioratori that, bent downwards, draw sketches and then lay thousands and thousands of petals to realize their floral compositions. All this culminates on the Saturday night that precedes the Corpus Domini, but is the result of a meticulous work, which involves most of the inhabitants for several months.
In fact, the collection of flowers in the surrounding hills and countryside begins in spring. Then the petals are separated from the corolla and some of them, if necessary, are crumbled and dried.
The infiorata for the spellani is a "joyful" occasion in which more and more experienced infioratori groups can compare their works.
Those judged best for technical skill, precision and creativity are rewarded.
This event attracts thousands of visitors each year, many of whom participate and live the "night of flowers" together with the inhabitants of the village.

Meetings on the streets
It is an event that takes place in July and August in the most characteristic and evocative corners of the historical center, animated with theater, music and dance.

Hispellum
Every year in August, the "Hispellum" Roman festival takes place during the "encounters on the streets" festival.
The inhabitants of Spello, grouped into three parts, give rise to a re-enactment, which allows spectators to make an evocative journey at the time of the glorious Roman era.
Parade through the streets of the village in costumes of the time, create scenes of everyday life, markets, etc. They simulate battles, sieges and gladiator fights.
In the taverns tourists can taste dishes of the Roman cuisine, skilfully reproduced.


Festa dell'Olivo and Bruschetta Festival
The first weekend of December, as a celebration of the end of the olive harvest, through the streets of the center parade carts and tractors, adorned with olive twigs, with peasants over traditional costumes and in the taverns of the three thirds is the tasting of new oil, excellence of Spello, with the famous bruschetta.

Assisi pearl of Umbria rich in art of spirituality and peace famous all over the world for being the city of San Francesco and Santa Chiara

Assisi occupies the high coast of a hill on the slopes of Mount Subasio, owes to the figure of St. Francis the fame that has made it familiar to the peoples of the whole earth.
Found near the territory of the Etruscans, which was influenced by it, it then became a flourishing Roman municipality. It was razed to the ground by the Goths, occupied by the Byzantines and the Lombards, and after having undergone various dominions (imperial, papal, Perugian), it passed under the status of the Church and remained there until 1860, when it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
Thousands of pilgrims visit the Saint's tomb annually and a growing crowd of tourists lingers daily on the art treasures that adorn the magnificent basilica.
The basilica complex consists of two superimposed churches (the lower and the upper) and a crypt with the Saint's tomb.
The lower church has been frescoed by the most important painters of the 1200s as Cimabue, Giotto, Lorenzetti and Simone Martini.
The one-nave church is embellished with Giotto's frescoes, illustrating the life of Saint Francis.
The city center, on the site of the ancient Roman forum, opens the Piazza del Comune. It is a typical medieval space, where you can admire a sixteenth-century fountain with three stone lions, the Palazzo dei Priori, the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, the Torre del Popolo and the Temple of Minerva, transformed into a church in 1539.
From Piazza del Comune, along the steep and winding Via S. Ruffino, you get to Piazza San Rufino, decorated with a thirteenth-century fountain and the imposing Romanesque facade of the Duomo.
Inside there is the font where St. Francis and St. Clare were baptized. The Chapel of the Sacrament, the wooden choir, the Roman cistern and the crypt are interesting.
The Basilica of Santa Chiara is of Gothic style.
Contains precious pictorial works of the sec. XII, XIII and XIV and the famous crucifix revered by St. Francis in S. Damiano. The body of Santa is preserved in the crypt

Events

Religious
The Assisi calendar is full of events and religious ceremonies throughout the year. The most interesting are those related to the "Christmas in Assisi" with the nativity scenes set up in the churches and in the characteristic corners and alleys, which bring to life Franciscan spirituality, Easter (procession of the Dead Christ), Corpus Christi processions, Vote (June 22), that of the Forgiveness (August 1-2) and national celebrations in honor of St. Francis, patron saint of Italy (3-4 October).
Artistic and cultural
National Antiques Exhibition (April-May)
Calendimaggio (from the 1st Thursday of May for 3 days), in these days Assisi transforms itself, returning back in medieval and renaissance time with parades in costume and various shows.

 

Bevagna ancient Mevania city of Roman origin, its medieval square is one of the most beautiful in Italy

Bevagna is located at the western edge of the Umbrian Valley, at the foot of green hills, in a very fertile area at the center of the great Roman road system of the Via Flaminia.
It was an Umbrian city and with the Roman conquest it lived its most flourishing period as the seat of a town hall (Mevania) of considerable urban and territorial extension.
After alternating events it was submitted to papal governors and in 1860 it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
The current city has retained its medieval appearance, while retaining its Roman network in its streets.
Piazza San Silvestri, center of the town, offers an almost original vision of the Middle Ages.
In it there are the gothic Palazzo dei Consoli, with a large external staircase and the Romanesque churches of San Silvestro and San Michele Arcangelo.

Events

Medieval spring
At the end of April-early May in Bevagna there is the Medieval Spring event, born as a preview and showcase of the medieval festival of the Gaite, held in June.
These days are dedicated to culture, art and medieval gastronomy, there are cultural initiatives such as concerts or conferences, always linked to research carried out on the Middle Ages. Opening up also the trades, Bevagna offers to the numerous tourists the opportunity to live an experience out of time.

The Market of the Gaite
Those who want to really take a dip in the past and precisely in medieval life, the Mercato delle Gaite is one of the most interesting historical re-enactments.
Every year in the last ten days of June, the country and its inhabitants return back more than 800 years to relive the traditions of their medieval past.
With accuracy and historical relevance the 4 Gaite, corresponding to the 4 medieval districts, give life to the ancient crafts, with the reconstruction of the ancient shops and everyday life, made of customs, cuisine, markets, games of the past.
The competition is a basic element of this event, each Gaita, through the holding of 4 races (market, crafts, gastronomy, archery) aims to give a historically faithful interpretation.
Professors and experts from each field judge the historical relevance and assign a score.
On the last day the Gaita who has achieved the highest score receives the Palio della Vittoria from the Jury.
 

 

Montefaco railing of Umbria, home of the Sagrantino wine of excellence in Umbria

Montefalco, called "Ringhiera dell'Umbria" dominates the wide valley from Perugia to Spoleto from the hills covered with vineyards and olive groves.
Important center since Roman times, in the Middle Ages it was called "Coccorone", it was then free municipality and seat of the curia of the Duchy of Spoleto. After a period of noble vicariate of the Trinci family of Foligno, it came under the direct control of the Church, which recognized the free government.
It is enclosed by a compact circle of medieval walls, interspersed with towers and gates: Porta S. Agostino is the most majestic with its Ghibelline merlons.
Center of city life is the Piazza del Comune.
Here streets and alleys of the surrounding urban area converge.
There are important mansions and the Palazzo Comunale, which has been deeply damaged over the centuries, and now features artistic elements from different historical periods, such as the nineteenth-century bell tower and the fifteenth-century portico.
Testimony of the artistic value of the city is the fourteenth-century church of San Francesco, rich in frescoes due to Umbrian artists of the sec. XIV - XVI.
Among these, in particular, are the frescoes of the apse depicting the episodes of the "life of St. Francis", performed by Benozzo Gozzoli.
The presence of these paintings has transformed the church into a sort of artistic school for the study of Gozzolian art and testify to the value of the city as a cultural center.

Events

August Montefalchese and Fuga del Bove
This event takes place every year at the beginning of August and ends with the celebration of the feast of the patron saint St. Clare and with the spectacular fireworks on 17 August.
Three weeks are dedicated to the re-enactment of the work in the countryside, the cultivation of the vine and the production of Sagrantino, a typical wine of excellence of Montefalco. During this event in the square of the historic center are held shows and dinner outdoors in the taverns, where the traditional Umbrian cuisine is offered again with tastings of typical products, such as oil, honey, meats and cheeses.
In this period Montefalco comes alive, especially in the evening, with many young people, with people coming from nearby centers and tourists, to attend the shows in the square and to dine in the taverns.

Open cellars
All the wineries of the Montefalco area join this event, opening their cellars for visits and tastings of fine wines, among which the Sagrantino is excellent.
It is one of the most important events in Italy, which sees the wine, the territory and its people as protagonists.
It takes place on the last Sunday of May and involves the territories of Bevagna, Gualdo Cattaneo, Castel Ritaldi and Giano dell'Umbria, as well as Montefalco with the streets of Sagrantino.
It attracts numerous visitors, lovers of wine and Umbrian cuisine, who in a winery path in the cellar, taste the fine wines, combined with typical dishes of traditional Umbrian cuisine, such as grilled sausages, beans with pork rind or pajata.





 



 

Spoleto city of two worlds festival

Spoleto stands on a very characteristic offshoot of the Apennine ridge, where reliefs, valleys and slopes constitute a safe and exclusive "door" of a large, compact and austere valley.
The town, clinging to a hillock, dominated by imposing and gray the Albornoz fortress, as a testimony to papal domination, now presents a medieval aspect, even though almost all the historical periods have left significant traces in it.
Inside it presents precious glimpses, monuments, environments and magical settings, which for decades each year, in the summer, act as a stage and frame for the "Festival dei Due Mondi".
The Piazza della Libertà opens in the center of the city, on its eastern side it shows the underlying ruins of the Roman theater of the first decades of the empire.
The Palazzo Comunale, completely renovated in the second half of the 18th century, houses the Art Gallery, full of significant works from the 13th and 15th centuries.
The Piazza Duomo is very spectacular, closed at the bottom by the elegant Romanesque façade of the Duomo.
On the opposite side of the square stands the Palazzo della Signoria, a building complex supported downstream by mighty pillars.

Event
Festival of the Two Worlds
A manifestation of great international prestige, which has made the town famous is the "Festival dei Due Mondi", held during the summer.
It is divided into prose, dance, concerts, art and film shows, as part of the Spoleto Cinema exhibition.

 

Trevi perched on its ulivata strip is the oil city

Trevi, of Umbrian origins and then Roman municipality, originally stood in Pietrarossa, along the Via Flaminia.
Over the centuries, after alternating events, it came under papal rule and remained there until 1860, when it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
Presents an unmistakable conical shape and collected, resting on a hill, following its shape.
The eye of the traveler in fact arouses amazement, as the ancient village, which is the background of an ulivata coast, descends to circular steps the slopes of the hill, dominating the whole Spoleto valley.
Renaissance palaces occupy the upper part of the village, the medieval ones the steepest western part, while the modern agglomeration, Borgo Trevi, is downstream along the Flaminia.
The center of the village is Piazza Mazzini, closed at the corner of the Town Hall of the thirteenth century. with the Civic Tower.
From here you reach the former convent of San Francesco (XIII century), now transformed into a museum complex.
Inside there is the Art Gallery, the Civic Museum, the Museum of the civilization of the olive tree.
The church of San Francesco dates back to the end of the 1200s and was later modified in Gothic style in the mid-1300s.
Inside there is a crucifix on a table inspired by Giotto.

Events

Palio dei Terzieri (October)
Spectacular competition between the young people of the three districts in which the village is divided, with 500 figures in medieval costume, in memory of the destruction of 1214 by Spoleto.

Exhibition of the Sedano di Trevi market (October)
The famous vegetable during the festival is sold at special stalls and is tasted in the taverns in excellent traditional dishes: celery in pinzimonio, stuffed celery.

New oil festival
Every year at the beginning of December, the various mills in the area open up to visitors to taste the new olive oil, with its organoleptic characteristics, flavor and aroma that are unique in the world.
 

Perugia province of Umbria, a cosmopolitan city and an international university center

Perugia, the regional capital is perched on a hill, located between the green Tiber valley and Lake Trasimeno.
The core of the city occupies the top of the hill and dates back to the Etruscan-Roman period. It is still largely surrounded by Etruscan walls.
Over the centuries it was the center of numerous historical vicissitudes, passing from the Lombard dominion to a free commune and then to the lordship of the Baglioni, who enriched the city with elegant Renaissance buildings (Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, oratory of S. Bernardino).
In the mid-1500s, Pope Paul III seized the city by force and established direct dominion.
As a testimony to this force he built the imposing Rocca Paolina on the ruins of the Baglioni houses (1540).
Dominated by this fortress, Perugia lived three centuries of papal government.
The destruction of this fortress, begun in 1848, at the first reawakening of the ideals of freedom, was accomplished in 1860 with the unity of Italy.
The city has begun to develop progressively at the beginning of the twentieth century. and large modern neighborhoods have sprung up at the base of the hill in recent decades.
One of the most interesting routes to visit the acropolis is the one that starts from the Piazza Partigiani car park and thanks to a mechanized path of escalators through the ancient Rocca Paolina and arrives at the Giardini Carducci.
Here, overlooking the panoramic terrace, one can enjoy one of the most suggestive points of view. With the look you can find the main palaces and historical monuments of the city, where stands the bell tower of the Abbey of San Pietro and in the distance the Umbrian valley towards Foligno, with the town of Assisi in the center.
From the Carducci Gardens begins the pedestrian area of ​​Corso Vannucci, the main and most elegant street of the city.
At the end of the Course we arrive at Piazza IV Novembre center of civil and religious power of the Etruscan, Roman, then medieval, modern and contemporary cities. From here there are many winding streets that wind through the old buildings of the city and here are the most important monuments: the Palazzo dei Priori, the Duomo and the Loggia di Braccio Fortebraccio.
Behind the Duomo, descending through a narrow and steep path you reach the Arco Etrusco, also called Arco di Augusto, certainly the most beautiful of the seven Etruscan doors of the city, built by the Etruscans and then restored by Ottaviano Augusto, who had the written "Augusta Perusia".

Events

Eurochocolate
The annual event is the most important in Umbria if not in Italy, dedicated to chocolate par excellence and is held every year in October.
Protagonists are the laboratories and food stands of Italian and international chocolate products.
Every year it represents an unmissable stop for all chocolate lovers and each edition is enriched with many fun initiatives.
"Events in the event" are the chocolate sculptures, made by skilled sculptors, who delight in sculpting blocks of chocolate to obtain real works of art, which remain exposed throughout the event.
During processing chocolate chips are distributed free to visitors.

Umbria Jazz
In July, Perugia for ten days is dedicated to Italian and international jazz.
The manifestation of the early years was decidedly different than the current one. It was itinerant and free and took place in various places in Umbria.
Now it is sedentary, takes place in the historic center of Perugia and, for major concerts, it becomes paid. The heart of Perugia turns into a musical village for ten days, where every hour you listen to music among the palaces and medieval squares. Today there is not only jazz but also black music with digressions in pop-rock.

 

Gubbio city of the Ceri race and the biggest Christmas tree in the world

Gubbio, a gray town, made of ancient stone, clings to a slope and overlooks the wide plain and the hills that surround it.
Narrow streets and stairways between the houses join the parallel major roads, but on different levels on the side of Mount Ingino, from which the hungry wolf that Francesco cradled descended.
Pre-Roman and Roman town, in the Italy of the municipalities it had free institutions and reached the maximum of power and splendor, bringing to full realization the urban fabric.
It then passed under the Montefeltro, counts of Urbino, and with them it became part of the Papal State until 1860, when it was annexed to Italy.
Particularly impressive is the Piazza della Signoria, the ancient Piazza Grande, very large and opens up like a balcony on the plain below.
Looking out, the gaze embraces a magnificent panorama of the Umbrian landscape.
The Palazzo dei Consoli stands out majestically, with the fourteenth-century Palazzo Pretorio, now the Town Hall.
The Palazzo dei Consoli, a significant example of medieval architecture, houses the Museo Civico and the Pinacoteca Comunale.
At the highest point of the city is the Cathedral, rebuilt in Gothic form in the fourteenth century. on the site of the original Romanesque cathedral.
Nearby is the Palazzo Ducale of noble Renaissance forms, built in the fifteenth century. for Federico di Montefeltro.

Events
On May 15th, on the eve of the feast of the patron saint S. Ubaldo, there is the famous "Corsa dei Ceri".
This event has centuries-old traditions, dating back to 1160 and since then it has never been interrupted.
The Ceri are three gigantic wooden structures in the form of prisms, weighing about four quintals, four meters high and surmounted by the statues of S. Ubaldo, S. Giorgio and S. Antonio.
On the day of the festival they are carried by the "ceraioli" in a wild ride, which starting from the center of the city through a steep and tiring climb, reaches the top of Mount Ingino, where stands the Basilica of the Patron.
This event, impregnated with a very strong mystical emotion, involves the entire city of Gubbio and the public present.
The rise of the Ceri is one of the most fascinating and emotional moments of the party.
At the sound of the Campanone, amid growing shouts of incitement, with a rapid movement, the Ceraioli vertically raise the Ceri, who immediately start the unbridled race, one behind the other, opening a gap in the festive crowd.
The internationally renowned photographer Steve McCurry, after witnessing the event, describes it.
"I thought I saw three Saints and I saw three Ceri.
I thought I was seeing a city and I saw a people.
But above all, I thought I saw a party and I saw life ".

Christmas tree
At Christmas in Gubbio the spectacular biggest Christmas tree in the world is lit.
It consists of over 800 light bodies scattered along the slopes of Mount Ingino.
Part of the walls of the medieval city and arriving to the Basilica of the Patron, placed on top of the mountain, covers an area of ​​about 130 thousand square meters. Approximately 300 green luminous dots outline the outline, about 400 multicolored lights form the central body. On the top there is a comet of about one thousand square meters, designed by over 250 points of light.
The work was carried out and turned on for the first time in 1981 and on December 7 of each year the tree is lit with a ceremony that involves subjects of the town tradition (figures of the historical parade, flag-wavers, etc.) and characters from the institutions.
In 2011 the tree was lit by Pope Benedict XVI, in 2012 by the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, in 2014 by Pope Francis.
In 2017, the tree dedicated to science and technological progress, was lit from space by astronaut Paolo Nespoli.

Foligno city of Quintana, a knightly tournament in baroque costume and the first of Italy

Foligno is in a position of great privilege, born on the banks of the Topino, where the river flows into the plains, in an area that first swamped and then reclaimed, is among the most fertile of Umbria.
The waters of the Topino, thanks to numerous interventions over the centuries, have been irrigated and have given rise to numerous small industries.
Many textile companies have arisen, many paper mills and mills, whose products, thanks to the Via Flaminia, an ancient road network, have been traded and sold both in Rome and, through the port of Ancona, in the East.
In April 1472, the Folignate Emiliano Orfini and the German Johann Numeister printed the "Divina Commedia" in 300 copies: it was the first book printed in Italy in Italian and the typography was one of the first of the peninsula.
Being in the center of the Papal State or on the border between the Duchy of Spoleto and the Exarchate, emperors, popes and armies passed through Foligno.
The art and architecture of the town testify to the various historical periods.
After the Unification of Italy the construction of the Railway offered the city still new advantages and from the beginning of the twentieth century. Foligno became an industrial center of considerable regional importance.
After the two wars, the disintegration of the ancient city began with an accelerated pace.
The boundaries of the walled city, which had kept their shape almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, have been overcome. Today Foligno presents itself with a composite and varied urban fabric, where important churches and medieval, renaissance and eighteenth-century palaces live together with newly built houses and villas.
Very beautiful and preserved is the Piazza della Repubblica, the center of the city, where the Duomo, the Palazzo Trinci and the Palazzo Comunale overlook, testimonies of different historical and artistic periods.

Events

The Giostra della Quintana
The event is inspired by a horse race that dates back to the seventeenth century and which was intended to determine the order of priority for a knight of honor in fidelity to the prince or the lady of the heart.
Today ten knights, representing the ten districts of Foligno, measure their ability to try to insert a series of rings of smaller diameter gradually, gripping a lance on a running horse.
This ring race has highly spectacular results.
The evening before the competition, held in the municipal stadium, a procession of 600 costumed characters parades through the streets of the city, admired and applauded by many spectators.
The Giostra della Quintana is the carousel at the most exciting and difficult ring that takes place in Italy, the Olimpiade of equestrian competitions.

The Festival dei Primi d'Italia
The Festival takes place in the period end of September and beginning of October.
Born in 1999, it is a unique event in Italy, involving great chefs, enthusiasts, producers, experts, critics, journalists, the general public of consumers and visitors who, year after year, multiply.
The initiative, for four days, celebrates the historic center of Foligno and is divided into thematic villages, cooking classes, continuous tastings, signed by great chefs, in musical evenings, cabaret and entertainment shows.
The Primi d'Italia represent the consecration of the first course in Italian cuisine.
Pasta, rice, soups, gnocchi, polenta, but also the agri-food products, essential for the creation of a tasty first, are the protagonists.