Umbria is a region to be discovered by taking a journey at a slow pace, allowing yourself to be surprised corner after corner, street after street: on its hills, in its valleys, surrounded by centuries-old olive trees or fields of sunflowers, stand some of the most beautiful and fascinating towns and villages in Italy.
A land of art and artists, rich in history and monuments, but also of authentic flavours.
A visit to Perugia can only begin in its historic centre, which is also easily accessible from our hotel and contains many artistic and architectural treasures: the splendid Fontana Maggiore in Piazza IV Novembre, the ancient palaces and churches, including the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and the Church of San Francesco al Prato.
Don’t miss the Rocca Paolina, the ancient fortress commissioned by Pope Paul III, and Palazzo dei Priori, which houses the National Gallery of Umbria, home to one of the most complete and richest artistic heritages in the entire region.
But Perugia is not only art and culture, it is also nature and beautiful views: do not miss a walk to the Carducci Gardens or along the medieval aqueduct.
Although not very well known just outside the historical centre, and only a few kilometres from our hotel, is the Hypogeum of the Volumni, the oldest preserved funerary monument from the Etruscan period.
It is part of the extensive Palazzone Etruscan necropolis, discovered in the 19th century and fully excavated since 1963, consisting of almost two hundred chamber tombs dug into the ground dating from the 5th century B.C. to the Hellenistic period.
Assisi is known as the city of St Francis, a place of mysticism and spirituality but not only, as we shall see.
Among its main monuments, mention must certainly be made of the Basilica of St Francis, where the Saint’s remains rest, decorated with Giotto’s renowned frescoes, the Basilica of St Clare and the Cathedral of San Rufino, where it is believed St Francis and St Clare were baptised.
As we anticipated, however, Assisi offers much more besides its famous religious monuments: the Rocca Maggiore, a medieval fortress that offers a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings, the Temple of Minerva, whose columns enchanted even Goethe, and the city’s splendid ancient palaces such as Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo and Palazzo dei Priori.
Lastly, outside the city, there is a wonderful place that is definitely worth a visit: the Eremo delle Carceri, in the heart of Mount Subasio, immersed in a forest of centuries-old holm oaks.
Here St Francis of Assisi and his followers would retire to pray and meditate.
A place capable of entering your heart.
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‘Gubbio is another Umbria, and of Umbria, the most extraordinary city,’ wrote Guido Piovene.
A tour of Gubbio can only begin with its extraordinary Piazza Grande, a perfect example of a hanging square, where the Palazzo dei Consoli and the Palazzo Pretorio are also located, as well as the city’s cathedral. This is also where the famous Corsa dei Ceri, one of the region’s most atmospheric folkloric events, starts every year.
We continue our visit with the Basilica of Sant’Ubaldo, located on the summit of Monte Ingino and accessible by cable car, offering a beautiful panoramic view.
For nature lovers, however, the Monte Cucco Park is an unmissable destination: it offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, climbing and paragliding. In addition, the park is famous for its spectacular karst caves, which can be visited with an expert guide.
Spoleto is the city of Don Matteo, but it is first and foremost a scenic city with a thousand-year history.
A compulsory stop at the Rocca Albornoziana, which dominates the entire Spoleto valley, and the Ponte delle Torri, a Roman aqueduct later converted into a bridge that is immersed in a beautiful landscape.
The Duomo and its Piazza are truly evocative: the former houses some frescoes by Pinturicchio, the latter is framed by palaces, houses and theatres that make it a perfect postcard image.
We conclude with the Casa Romana, part of the Palazzo Comunale complex, the Roman Theatre, which still hosts events and shows, and the Archaeological Museum, excellent for history enthusiasts.
And for those in the mood for sport, there is the Ex Spoleto – Norcia Railway and the Giro dei Condotti, an extraordinary route through hills, tunnels and viaducts, to be covered by bike or on foot.