Touring Italy’s “Green Heart:” Must-See Sites in Umbria
Due to its central location and rich vegetation, Umbria has been nicknamed Italy’s “green heart.”
For centuries, Romans and Florentines have traveled to Umbria to get away from the stress of city life. Renting a holiday home in Umbria will help you and your family better experience the peace of this enchanting Italian province.
Most tourists begin their journey through Umbria in the region’s capital city Perugia. Situated just a 2-hour’s drive south of Florence, Perugia is chockfull of historical architecture and artistic masterpieces. Art lovers must visit Perugia’s National Gallery of Umbria, which features many of the region’s finest artistic achievements from the 13th through the 19th century.
Other major attractions in Perugia include the city’s cathedral, the Fontana Maggiore, the Palazzo dei Priori, and the Accademia di belle arti Pietro Vannucci. Live music fans should try to visit Perugia during the Umbrian Jazz festival in July or the Music Fest Perugia in August.
Northeast of Perugia is the historically important city of Gubbio. This walled-city has many important cathedrals and palaces, including the Basilica of St. Ubaldo, the Palazzo dei Consoli, and the Palazzo Ducale. Interestingly, Gubbio is also home to one of the world’s tallest Christmas trees on Mount Ingino.
Another popular Umbrian city for tourists is Assisi, which is about a 30-minute drive from Perugia. Saint Francis, one of the most influential figures in Catholic history, was born in Assisi in 1181. Thousands of pilgrims from around the world travel to Assisi to pay their respects to St. Francis and admire the beautiful religious artifacts and artwork. Even non-believers feel a sense of awe when standing before the glorious frescoes in the Basilica of St. Francis.
Nearby Assisi is the splendid town of Spello, which is well-known for its annual festivals. The Infiorata Flower Festival held between May and June is undoubtedly Spello’s most popular event. During this festival, dozens of local and international artists compete to create the most beautiful flower designs on Spello’s streets. Thousands of people descend upon Spello to take part in this unique festival.
Other popular events in Spello include the Roman Festival in late summer, the Olive Oil Festival in the winter, and live Nativity Scenes during Christmastime.
Anyone interested in learning about Umbria’s long tradition of red wine production should stop in Torgiano, which is southeast of Perugia. Not only is Torgiano one of the region’s top wine producers, it’s also home to Umbria’s Wine Museum. Guests at this museum will learn all about the history of wine production in the region from Etruscan times till today. By the way, Torgiano also has a spectacular Olive & Olive Oil Museum.