THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES IN UMBRIA
DISCOVERING THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF UMBRIA EASILY
REACHED FROM THE TERRA DEI SANTI RESIDENCE
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 Umbria origins and a Roman colony in the Augustan age, presents one of the most beautiful and fascinating urban-natural glimpses of the Umbria landscape. It stretches on a spur of Mount Subasio and lays gently towards the plain with a succession of towers, arches, walls and terraces 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 evidence. Starting from the southern part of "Borgo di Spello" and going up to the Porta dell'Arce "Belvedere area", we visually retrace the history of a place that has had very ancient Umbria, Roman, medieval and Renaissance presences.
The Consular Gate was the main entrance to the Roman city and still remains the main entrance from the southern part of the country. The door opens into the walls and is surmounted by three republican statues, found in the amphitheater area. Going up towards the center and along the via Consolare, on the right rises, 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, called the Pinturicchio.
Continuing further, a left opens a road that leads to Porta Venere and the Properzio Towers. The imposing building from the Augustan age was flanked by two dodecagonal towers from the Middle Ages.
From Piazza Vallegloria, among compact ranks of stone houses, it sells to the highest part of the village. Crossing the Roman Arch or Porta Arce, an ancient gateway to the Roman acropolis in the Augustan period, you reach the Belvedere where you look, turn right to Mount Subasio in its entirety and sweep up to nearby Assisi, the Umbrian countryside and surrounding mountains, attention to catch in a glance the ancient conformation of Lake Tiberino which gave rise to the Umbria valley.
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 who, bent on the ground, draw sketches and then lay thousands and thousands of petals to create their floral compositions. All this culminates on the Saturday night before Corpus Christi, but is the result of 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 the spring. Then the petals are separated from the corollas and some of them, if necessary, are shredded and dried.
The infiorata for spellani is a "joyful" occasion in which groups of more and more experienced infioratori will be able to compare their works.
Those judged for technical competence, precision and creativity are rewarded.
This event has been appreciated every year by thousands of visitors, many of whom participate and live the "night of flowers" together with the inhabitants of the village.
Dating on the streets
It is an event that takes place in July and August in the most characteristic and suggestive corners of the historical center, animated with theater, music and dance.
Every year in August, the Roman festival "Hispellum" is held.
The inhabitants of Spello, grouped in three districts, give life to a re-enactment, which allows spectators to make an evocative journey through the time of the glorious Roman era.
Parades in the streets of the town in the costumes of the time, scene of everyday life, markets etc. They simulate battles, sieges and gladiator fights.
In the taverns tourists can taste dishes from the Roman era, expertly reproduced.
Olive Festival and Bruschetta Festival
The first weekend of December, come at the end of the olive harvest, wagons and tractors parade through the streets of the center, adorned with olive twigs, with peasants with traditional costumes and in the taverns of the three quarters there 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 uses the high coast of a hill on the slopes of Mount Subasio, the fame that made it familiar to the peoples of the whole world is presented to the figure of San Francesco.
Built near the Etruscan territory, of which it was influenced, it then became a flourishing Roman municipality. It was razed to the ground by the Goths, occupied by the Byzantines and the Lombards, after having undergone various domains (imperial, papal, perugino), passed under the state of the Church and remained there until 1860, when a distant part of the Kingdom of Italy entered .
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 and a crypt with the tomb of the saint.
The lower church was frescoed by the most important painters of the 1200s such as Cimabue, Giotto, the Lorenzetti and Simone Martini.
The one-nave church is embellished with Giotto's frescoes, which illustrate the life of San Francesco.
The town square opens on the site of the ancient Roman forum. 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 arrive at Piazza San Rufino, decorated with a thirteenth-century fountain and the imposing Romanesque facade of the Cathedral.
Inside is the source where St. Francis and St. Clare were baptized. Interesting are the Sacramento chapel, the wooden choir, the Roman cistern and the crypt.
The Basilica of Santa Chiara is of Gothic style.
It contains precious pictorial works from the second, twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and the famous crucifix venerated by San Francesco in S. Damiano. The body of Santa is kept in the crypt
The calendar of Assisi is full of events and religious ceremonies throughout the year. The most interesting are those related to the "Christmas in Assisi" with the cribs set up in the churches and in the characteristic corners and alleys, which revive the Franciscan spirituality, at Easter (procession of the Dead Christ), at the Corpus Christi processions, at the Festa del Voting (22 June), one of Del Perdono (1-2 August) and at national celebrations in honor of San Francesco, patron of Italy (3-4 October).
Artistic and cultural
National Antiques Show (April-May)
Calendimaggio (from the 1st Thursday of May for 3 days), in these days Assisi is transformed, going back in medieval and Renaissance time with costume parades and various shows.
Bevagna Antica Mevania city of Roman origin, its medieval square is one of the most beautiful in Italy
Bevagna is located on the western edges of the Umbria Valley, in a fertile area located in the center of the great Roman road network of the Via Flaminia.
The city has become so important for its most flourishing period as the seat of a municipality (Mevania) of considerable urban and territorial extension.
After ups and downs it was subjected to pontifical governors and in 1860 it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
The current city has maintained its medieval appearance, while retaining the Roman network in its streets.
Piazza San Silvestri, the city center, offers an almost original view of the Middle Ages.
In it there is the Gothic Palazzo dei Consoli, with an external staircase and the Romanesque churches of San Silvestro and San Michele Arcangelo.
A late April-started May in Bevagna is the event of the medieval Spring, 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 is no shortage of cultural initiatives such as concerts or conferences, always linked to research on the Middle Ages. By also opening the trades, Bevagna offers tourists the opportunity to live an experience out of time.
The Mercato delle Gaite
Who wants to make a story in the past and 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 go back over 800 years to relive the traditions of their medieval past.
With accuracy and historical relevance the 4 Gaite, studies in the 4 medieval quarters, give life to the ancient crafts, with the reconstruction of the ancient shops and everyday life, made of uses, customs, cuisine, markets, games of time.
Competition is a basic element of this event, each Gaita, through the holding of 4 competitions (market, trades, gastronomy, archery) aims to challenge historically faithful.
Professors and experts from each field judge the historical relevance and assign a score.
On the last day the Gaita that reached the highest score from the Jury was the Palio della Vittoria.
Montefaco railing of Umbria home of the sagrantino wine of
Montefalco, called "Umbria railing" 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 a 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 passed under the direct control of the Church, which recognized the free government.
It is enclosed by a circle of medieval walls, interspersed with towers and doors: Porta S. Agostino is the most majestic with its Ghibelline battlements.
The center of city life is the Piazza del Comune.
Here converge streets and alleys of the surrounding urban belt.
There are important stately homes and the Palazzo Comunale, which is set over the centuries, today 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 brought to Umbrian artists of the sec. XIV - XVI.
Particularly noteworthy among these are the frescoes in the apse depicting the episodes of the "life of St. Francis", executed by Benozzo Gozzoli.
The presence of these paintings have transformed the church into a kind of artistic school for the study of Gozzolian art and testify to the value of the city as a cultural center.
August Montefalchese and Fuga del Bove
This event takes place every year in early August with the celebration of the feast of Santa Chiara and with the spectacular fireworks on August 17th.
They are three weeks dedicated to the commemoration of the work in the countryside, the cultivation of the vine and the production of Sagrantino, a typical wine of excellence from Montefalco. During the event in the square of the historic center, people speak outdoors in the taverns, where traditional Umbrian cuisine is offered with tastings of typical products, such as oil, honey, cold cuts and cheeses.
In this period Montefalco comes alive, yes, yes with young people, with experts in the square and for dining in taverns.
All the wineries in the Montefalco area join an event story, opening their cellars for visits and tastings of the fine wines, among which Sagrantino excels.
It is one of the most important events in Italy, which sees 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 roads of the Sagrantino.
It attracts many visitors, lovers of wine and Umbrian cuisine, in a path from cellar to cellar, they taste the fine wines, combined with typical dishes of traditional Umbrian cuisine, such as grilled sausages, beans with pork rinds or pajata.
Spoleto city of the festival of the 2 worlds
Spoleto stands on a very characteristic offshoot of the Apennine ridge, where reliefs, depressions and slopes between a safe and exclusive "door" of a large, compact and austere valley.
The city clustered on a hill, from which the fortress of Albornoz dominates imposing and gray, as a testimony of the papal dominion, now has a medieval aspect, even though almost all historical periods have left significant traces in it.
Inside it presents precious views, monuments, environments and magical scenographies, which for decades every year, on the estate, have been the stage and setting for the "Festival of Two Worlds".
The Piazza della Libertà opens in the center of the city, on its eastern side it has visible the underlying ruins of the Roman theater of the first decades of the empire.
The Town Hall, completely renovated in the second half of the 18th century, houses the Pinacoteca, full of significant works from the 13th and 15th centuries.
Very scenic is the Piazza Duomo, closed on the bottom by the elegant Romanesque facade of the Duomo.
On the opposite side of the square stands the Palazzo della Signoria, a building complex supported by a valley with mighty pillars.
Festival of the two worlds
Internationally prestigious event that made the city famous is the "Festival dei Due Mondi", which takes place in the summer.
It is divided into prose, dance, concerts, art and film exhibitions, the theater of the Spoleto Cinema festival.
Trevi perched on its olive grove is the city of oil
Trevi, of Umbria origins and later a Roman municipality, originally stood in Pietrarossa, along the Via Flaminia.
Over the centuries, after ups and downs, it passed under papal rule and remained there until 1860, when part of the Kingdom of Italy entered.
It has an unmistakable conical and collected shape, resting on a hill, supporting its conformation.
In fact, the traveler is amazed by the fact that the ancient village, which is the backdrop of an olive grove, descends the slopes of the hill in circular steps, dominating the entire Spoleto valley.
The Renaissance buildings occupy the upper part of the village, the medieval ones the steeper western part, while the modern agglomeration, Borgo Trevi, is a valley along the Flaminia.
The center of the town is Piazza Mazzini, closed at an angle by the XIII century Town Hall. with the Civic Tower.
From here you reach the former convent of San Francesco (13th century), now transformed into a museum complex.
Inside there is the Pinacoteca, the Civic Museum, the Museum of the olive civilization.
The church of San Francesco dates back to the end of the 1200 s and was later modified into Gothic forms in the mid-1300 s.
Inside it is kept on a crucifix on a Giotto-inspired table.
Palio dei Terzieri (October)
Spectacular competition among the young people of the three districts in which the village is divided, with 500 figures in medieval costumes, in memory of the destruction of 1214 by Spoleto.
Trevi Celery Market Show (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 in early December I saw my latest album to visitors to taste the newly harvested oil, with unique organoleptic characteristics, flavor and aroma.
Foligno city of Quintana, a chivalrous tournament in Baroque and early Italian costumes
Foligno is in a highly privileged position, born on the banks of the Topino, where the river flows into the plain, in an area that is first swamped and then reclaimed, is among the most fertile in Umbria.
The waters of the Topino, thanks to numerous interventions over the centuries, have been irrigated and have given rise to numerous small industries.
There are many textile companies, 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 "Divine Comedy" in 300 copies: it was the first book printed in Italy and the typography was one of the first on the peninsula.
Being at the center of the Papal States or on the border with the Duchy of Spoleto and the Exarchate, emperors, popes and armies passed through Foligno.
The art and architecture of the city testify to the various historical periods.
After the unification of Italy the construction of the railway offers the city still new advantages and from the beginning of the twentieth century. Foligno becomes an industrial center of considerable regional importance.
After the two wars, the disintegration of the ancient city began at an accelerated pace.
The boundaries of the walled city, since the Middle Ages have undergone an almost unchanged shape, have been overcome. Today Foligno presents itself with a composite and varied urban fabric, where important medieval, Renaissance and eighteenth-century churches and palaces coexist with its and recently built villas.
Very beautiful and preserved is the Piazza della Repubblica, the city center, dove overlooking the Duomo, the Palazzo Trinci and the Palazzo Comunale, testimonies of different historical and artistic periods.
The Joust of the Quintana
Life is inspired by a horse race dating back to the seventeenth century and which was intended to understand the order of priority for a knight of honor in faithfulness to the principle or lady of the heart.
Today ten riders, measuring their strength in trying to thread a series of rings with a smaller diameter, holding a spear on a running horse.
This ring race has highly spectacular results.
The evening before the competition, in the municipal stadium, a procession of 600 costumed characters parades through the streets of the city, admired and applauded by numerous spectators.
The Giostra della Quintana is the most compelling and difficult carousel in Italy, the Olympiad of equestrian competitions.
The First of Italy Festival
The festival takes place in the period from late September to early October.
Born in 1999, it is a unique event in Italy, which involves the great chefs, enthusiasts, producers, experts, critics, journalists, the general public of customers and visitors who multiply year after year.
The initiative, in four days, in thematic villages, in cooking lessons, in continuous tastings, signed by great chefs, in musical evenings, cabaret and entertainment shows.
I Primi d'Italia indicates the consecration of the first course in Italian cuisine.
Pasta, rice, soups, gnocchi, polenta, but also agri-food products, indispensable for the creation of a tasty first course, are the protagonists.
Gubbio city of the candle race and the largest Christmas tree in the world
Gubbio, a gray city made of ancient stone, sticks to a slope and looks at the wide plain and the surrounding hills.
Narrow lanes and steps between the houses join the parallels, but a different level on the side of Mount Ingino, from which he sees the hungry wolf that Francesco tamed.
Pre-Roman and Roman city, in the Italy of the municipalities it had free institutions and reached its maximum power and splendor, bringing the urban fabric to full realization.
It then passed under the Montefeltro, counts of Urbino and Conesi, it was part of the State of the Church until 1860, when it was annexed to Italy.
Particularly striking is the Piazza della Signoria, an ancient Piazza Grande, very wide and opens like a balcony on the plain below.
Looking out, the gaze embraces a magnificent panorama of the Umbria landscape.
The Palazzo dei Consoli stands out imposingly, to which the fourteenth-century Palazzo Pretorio, now the town hall, contrasts.
The Palazzo dei Consoli, an important example of medieval architecture, houses the Civic Museum and the Municipal Art Gallery.
At the highest point of the city is the Duomo, rebuilt in Gothic forms in the 14th century. on the site of the original Romanesque cathedral.
Nearby stands the Ducal Palace of noble Renaissance forms, built in the fifteenth century. for Federico di Montefeltro.
On May 15, the eve of the feast of the patron of S. Ubaldo, there is the famous "Corsa dei Ceri".
This event has centuries-old traditions, dates back to 1160 and has never been interrupted since.
They are three gigantic wooden structures in the shape of prisms, weighing about four quintals, are four meters high and surmounted by the statues of S. Ubaldo, S. Giorgio and S. Antonio.
The day of the festival is a shoulder from the "ceraioli" in an unbridled race, which starts from the center of the city through a steep and arduous climb, will reach the top of Mount Ingino, where the Patron Basilica stands.
This event, imbued with a very strong mystical emotion, involves the whole city of Gubbio and the public present.
The Alzata dei Ceri is one of the most fascinating and emotional moments of the party.
At the sound of the Campanone, among the growing incitements, with a rapid movement, the Ceraioli raise the Ceri vertically, which can be seen immediately after the wild race, one after the other, opening a passage among the celebrating crowd.
The internationally renowned photographer Steve Mc Curry after attending the event thus described.
"I thought I saw three Saints and I saw three Ceri.
I thought of seeing a city and saw a people.
But better, I thought I was seeing a party and I saw life. "
At Christmas in Gubbio the spectacular largest Christmas tree in the world lights up.
It is composed of over 800 luminous bodies scattered along the slopes of Mount Ingino.
It starts from the walls of the medieval city and arriving at the Basilica del Patrono, located on top of the mountain, covers an area of about 130 thousand square meters. About 300 green luminous points delineate the shape, about 400 multi-colored lights control the central body. On the top is installed a star of the surface of about a thousand square meters, drawn by over 250 luminous points.
The work was completed and lit for the first time in 1981 and on December 7 of each year the tree is presented with a ceremony involving subjects of the town tradition (characters from the historical procession, 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 is dedicated to science and technological progress, it was lit from space by astronaut Paolo Nespoli.
Perugia capital of Umbria capital of chocolate cosmopolitan city and international university center
Perugia, the regional capital, is perched on a hill, between a path between the green Tiber valley and Lake Trasimeno.
The core of the city occupies the top of the hill and dates back to Etruscan-Roman times. It is still largely covered by Etruscan walls.
Over the centuries it was the center of many historical vicissitudes, passing from the Lombard dominion to a free municipality 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 an example of constructive force on the ruins of the Baglioni case, the imposing Rocca Paolina (1540).
Dominated by this fortress, Perugia lived three centuries of papal rule.
The destruction of this fortress, which began in 1848, the first awakening of the ideals of freedom, was accomplished in 1860 with the unification of Italy.
The city began to develop progressively in the early twentieth century. and modern quarters have sprung up at the base of the hill in recent decades.
Shopping square and parking tickets. Shopping square and tickets for public transport. Cross the ancient Rocca Paolina and arrive at the Carducci Gardens.
Here, overlooking the panoramic terrace, you can enjoy one of the most suggestive viewpoints. With a glance you can identify the main palaces and historical monuments of the city, dove stands the bell tower of the abbey of San Pietro and in the distance the Umbrian valley towards Foligno, with the city 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 you arrive at Piazza IV Novembre, the center of civil and religious power of the Etruscan, Roman, then medieval, modern and contemporary city. Do not miss the winding streets that creep between the ancient buildings of the city and historical monuments: the Palazzo dei Priori, the Duomo and the Loggia di Braccio Fortebraccio.
Behind the Duomo, passing by a narrow and gradually it reaches the Etruscan Arch, also called Arch of Augustus, surely the most beautiful of the seven Etruscan gates of the city, built by the Etruscans and then restored by Ottaviano Augusto, who had the inscription engraved on it "Augusta Perusia".
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.
The protagonists are the laboratories and food stands of Italian and international chocolateries.
It represents an unmissable stop for all chocolate lovers every year and every edition is enriched with many and 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 on display throughout the event.
During the processing, chocolate chips are distributed free of charge to visitors.
In July, Perugia for ten days is dedicated to Italian and international jazz.
The manifestation of the early years was decidedly different from the current one. It was itinerant and free and took place in various places in Umbria.
It is now permanent, takes place in the historic center of Perugia and, for the most important concerts, it becomes a payment. The heart of Perugia turns into a musical village, where every hour you can listen to music between the medieval palaces and squares. Today there is not only jazz but also black music with digressions in pop-rock.