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Umbria

http://www.touritalynow.com/italy_information/italy_information_regions/images/italia_regions_umbria.jpg Major Cities:

Perugia
Assisi
Orvieto

Situated almost directly in the center of Italy, Umbria encompasses 3,200 square miles and is home to a little less than a million residents. The only land-locked region in the country, the Umbrian region is historically rich but is also one of several regions that help feed the country, noted for its olive oil, black truffles, pork products, lentils, and cheese. Also known for its pasta and confections, the region is an excellent wine producing territory as well, especially renowned for its Orvieto white varietals. Other industries in Umbria include clothing and textiles, iron and steel, and chemicals.

Perugia is the capital of the mostly hilly Umbrian region of Italy. Visitors who wish to tour this city will note that Perugia is quite well known for its artistic offerings, once the center of the High Renaissance movement and home to artists such as Raphael and Perugino. Certainly the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria is worth a visit as is the Chapel of San Severo, home to frescoes by both painters. Perugia also boasts some other grand ecclesiastic structures, a 16th century Renaissance fortress, a notable botanical garden, and plenty of Etruscan antiquities. If you visit in July, you may be able to catch the Umbrian Jazz Festival, one of Europe’s most popular musical events of the jazz genre.

Speaking of music, Spoleto – in east central Umbria at the foot of the Apennines – is well-known for its annual music celebration. The Spoleto Festival, held each June since 1977, was founded by composer Gian Carlo Menotti and includes three weeks full of music, theater, and dance performances. It’s an ideal time for the arts lover to visit the Umbrian region. And when you’re done with the festival, stay and visit Spoleto’s magnificent buildings and visit with her friendly, laid-back residents.

Other notable Umbrian towns include Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and home to the World Heritage Site basilica named in his honor as well as several other beautiful churches. The town of Orvieto is also a much visited attraction, situated on the summit of a large butt of volcanic rock, providing views that are unmatched. This ancient Etruscan city, still surrounded by remnants of the walls that once protected it, is best known for its cathedral, begun in the late 13th century and fashioned from stripes of white travertine and green-black basalt. Orvieto is also home to a unique underground city, a complicated maze of caves and tunnels that visitors can tour during a visit. Most of these provided a way for wealthy families to escape in the event of a siege on the city, whose elevation made it a prime target.

Though Umbria is land-locked, visitors can get a view of the water from the shores of Lake Trasimeno, the largest Italian lake south of the Po River. It’s an excellent fishing lake and was once surrounded by grand castles, some still surviving and others now in ruin. The area around the lake also has its own famous leaning tower, part of an ancient 11th century castle and currently shored up by plates and cables that keep it from collapsing.

www.regione.umbria.it

www.regioneumbria.eu