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Assisi, Città di Castello, Foligno, Gubbio, Narni, Orvieto, Perugia, Spoleto, Terni Todi

Umbria

Though it is one of the smallest regions in the country, Umbria has been called the “green heart of Italy”, referring to the area’s nearly year-round lush green hills as well as the region’s location. Centered between the Adriatic and Thyrrhenian Seas, the region is landlocked and has long been bordered by powerful kingdoms and regions. Settled first by the Umbri tribe in the 6th century BC, the Etruscans soon took control of the region; though the Umbrians rose up and drove the Etruscans out, despite a valiant fight against the powerful Roman Empire, the Romans eventually gained control of the region. The Byzantines and Ostrogoths fought over Umbria once the Roman Empire fell and, after the Lombards gained a foothold followed by a brief reign of the Franks, the French Revolution brought first the Roman Republic to power and then Napoleon. The region eventually joined the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, establishing Umbria’s place as the heart of Italy.

Often overshadowed by neighboring Tuscany, Umbria’s lovely rolling hillsides, dense forests, medieval castles and verdant farmlands make it one of the most picturesque regions in Italy. And because the tourists flock to the more popular Tuscany, Umbria remains unspoiled and far less crowded, providing an authentic and relaxed environment. The cuisine is wonderful, utilizing the local harvest of lentils, cheese, olive oil and black truffles, a regional delicacy. Umbria is also renowned for several superb vintages; Torgiano, Orvieto and Sagrantino di Montefalco are all popular and delicious local wines. While Umbria’s most popular and sacred destination is the stunning town of Assisi, one of the region’s hidden treasures is the small town of Bevagna, one of three villages in the Valle Umbra well worth exploring. With neighboring Montefalco and Spello, these historic towns contain remarkable Roman architecture, stunning artworks as well as fabulous vineyards. From its lush and lovely landscapes to its culturally significant art collections and ancient monuments, Umbria’s quiet character offers a unique perspective into Italian life.

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