Skip menu

For the latest information on COVID-19 travel restrictions in Italy. Click here.

From Assisi to Perugia, via Gubbio, Lake Trasimeno and Marmore Falls: Umbria is a truly enchanting tourist destination

Peaks covered in lush forests and vast valleys outlined by rivers, lakes and waterfalls; hills often crowned by villages and castles, crossed by paths steeped in history, art and culture, in a natural environment that helps to restore the body and soul: Umbria, the Green Heart of Italy, is all this and much more.

  • Highlights
  • Villages
  • Nature
  • Sport
  • Art & Culture
Art & Culture
Panicale, idyllic village in the Province of Perugia, Umbria, Italy.

Panicale

Panicale, the enchanted countryside around Lake Trasimeno The village of Panicale is prominent amidst the sugar loaf hills bordering Lake Trasimeno to the south. This medieval town is still surrounded by walls, but its origins are much older: the Roman soldiers who escaped the defeat of Trasimeno found refuge on this hill. It was a free municipality, and the great artist Perugino worked here during the Renaissance. Today, it is an obligatory stop on any trip to Lake Trasimeno, over which there is an enchanting view. A small village rich in history Although small in size, the historical centre of Panicale allows you to take a stroll through history, among Romanesque churches, such as the Collegiate Church of San Michele; the 14th-century Palazzo del Podestà; the 15th-century Palazzo Donini Ferretti-Mancini; the Church of San Sebastiano, which houses two frescoes by the painter from Città della Pieve, Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino (the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian and the Virgin with St. Augustine); the Caporali Theatre, founded in the 17th century; and a preserved Pinacoteca (picture gallery) in the Town Hall, which houses the Mariottini collection, consisting of 31 portraits of illustrious local personalities, painted by various Perugian artists in the 18th century. The Tulle Embroidery Museum The former church of St Augustine houses a small museum that tells an important story for a small town like Panicale, that of an all-female craft, the art of embroidery. Popular throughout Umbria, embroidery was a significant economic sector for this area, providing supplementary income for farming families. In the 19th century, production intensified following the introduction of the tulle machine, which made production much faster. The museum also chronicles the story of a woman from Panicale, Anita Belleschi, who founded a school of embroidery on tulle that enabled several local women to become financially independent. Still today in Panicale there is an association of embroidery enthusiasts who also offer on-line courses. Montalera castle From Panicale, take the road to the hamlet of Casalini and you will find yourself in beautiful countryside where fields of grain alternate with wooded thickets, rows of trees and hedges. On the highest hill, nestled among the holm oaks, stands Montalera Castle, a building of medieval origins that underwent renovation in 1534 by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, a celebrity in Rome and in the papal court, who came from a family of architects specialising in fortifications at a time when the development of artillery meant that medieval buildings had to be reinforced. Montalera became almost a fortress, and one of the most modern buildings in the area. Today it is home to a large organic farm.
Art & Culture
The famous Palazzo dei Consoli in Gubbio, medieval town in the Province of Perugia, Umbria, central Italy.

Gubbio

A day in Gubbio, stone town of Umbria Known as the “city of stone”, it stands on the side of Mt. Ingino: Gubbio will immediately win you over with its medieval charm through its labyrinth of alleys and narrow streets. The long history of Gubbio Gubbio's origins are rooted in ancient Umbrian civilisation, as evidenced by the so-called Eugubine Tables written in the Umbrian language and dating back to the third-first century BC. You can admire them in the rooms of the Museo Civico in Palazzo dei Consoli. Gubbio's golden age began around 1000, at the time of the Communes. Under the leadership of Bishop Ubaldo, in 1100, the city won a war against Perugia. In the meantime, arts and crafts spread, including the manufacture of majolica. By the 1300s, the city took on the form it still has today. Some of the most beautiful buildings in Gubbio date back to this period. A walk in the centre Start your tour from the jewel of Gubbio, Piazza Grande or Piazza della Signoria, “hanging” square overlooking the city. On either side are the city's public buildings: Gothic-style Palazzo dei Consoli and Palazzo Pretorio, facing each other. Also in the square, take a look at Palazzo Ranghiasci Brancaleoni. A stone's throw away is the Renaissance-style Ducal Palace. From the gardens of the Ducal Palace, a beautiful view of the city. Look at the tall, narrow door at the side of the large gate: it is the Dead Man's Door. According to legend, the coffins of the dead passed through here. Along the walls, located just above the palace dating back to 1200, there are six gates, some of which are still decorated with paintings and city coats of arms. Among the churches, do not miss the cathedral of Gubbio dedicated to Saints Marian and James. Also worth a visit, the church of St Francis. It is said that Francis was welcomed here after leaving his father's house and all his possessions. Located at the foot of the city, where the market was held in the Middle Ages. Still visible is the long Loggia dei Tiratori built in the 1600s by the guild of weavers. Where their freshly woven woollen cloths were draped. The real wonder of Gubbio, however, is the Fontana dei Matti (Fools) in front of the Bargello Palace. Three laps around the fountain, getting wet in the presence of a resident of Gubbio and the Fool’s title is yours. Where to go nearby Just step outside the mediaeval walls of Gubbio and another world of surprises unfolds: the Roman theatre, the Roman mausoleum nearby, the Abbey of San Secondo, the 17th-century Madonna del Prato richly decorated with stuccoes and the Vittorina church built precisely where, according to legend, St Francis met the wolf. The Bottaccione Gorge The Bottaccione gorges, ideal for a trip, is just outside Gubbio. It is a deep gorge caused by the erosion of the Carmignano stream, but it is also rich in historical evidence. There is an aqueduct that runs along the gorge dating back to the Middle Ages. Also located in the gorge is the Monastery of Sant'Ambrogio, which stands near a prehistoric citadel dating back to the Palaeolithic period. The hermitage dates back to the 1300s and was known for its strict rules and inaccessible location guaranteeing silence and solitude. Don't miss the visit, starting with the underground caves and ending with the frescoes in the church. Atop Mount Igino: the Basilica of St Ubaldo The Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo is located right at the top of the mountain that watches over Gubbio, but don't worry, if you don't feel like hiking, you can reach it with a comfortable cable car and you will have the whole town at your feet. The urn with the body of Saint Ubaldo, patron saint of Gubbio, is kept here. The famous race of the Festa dei Ceri is on 15 May. The church is of medieval origin, but during the 1500s it was enlarged with the addition of the convent and cloister. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the exterior, enter to admire the richness of the five naves and the frescoes depicting the life of Saint Ubaldo.
Nature
TR Cascate delle Marmore

Cascata delle Marmore

The Marmore Falls, in the heart of Umbria Less than ten kilometres from Terni, in Umbria, are the Marmore Falls, among the highest waterfalls in Europe, at a whopping 165 metres. These are actually artificial waterfalls that form where the Velino River, starting from Lake Piediluco, flows into the Nera River. The Romans began excavating the canal, specifically the Curiano Trench, in 271 BC. This engineering work aimed to drain the waters of the Velino River, which was overflowing onto the land, creating stagnant, swampy and toxic areas. The water was directed towards the edge of the Marmore cliff, and over the following centuries many alterations have been made to it until it ultimately became what we see today. Three unique points of view The Marmore Falls are divided into three jumps, which you can admire from two different points, the Upper Belvedere and the Lower Belvedere. The first is located on the outskirts of the village of Marmore, on the road leading to Piediluco, offering spectacular views of the first jump, while from the Lower Belvedere you can admire the entire waterfall in all its majesty. A scenic path connects the two points. From the Lower Belvedere, you can also access the Lovers' Balcony, a small terrace located in front of the first jump of the waterfall, embedded in the rock. It is so close you can reach out and touch the water, so don't forget to bring your waterproof! And unlike with other viewpoints, you have to be accompanied by an experienced guide in a small group. The Falls at night With the exception of the Balcony, you can visit the Marmore Falls on your own. There are six well-signposted trails, so you can admire the jumps from every possible angle. In the summer months, opening hours are extended past sunset to allow you to admire the views long into the evening. An LED lighting system brings a whole new charm to the Falls at night, producing special effects with beams of light that enhance the movement of the falling water. Marmore: sport and culture The Marmore Falls are also an ideal destination for water sports: from rafting to soft rafting, from canyoning to hydrospeeding, from kayaking to river walking, you are sure to be spoiled for choice. Near the Upper Belvedere you will find the Industrial Archaeological Park of Campacci di Marmore, which preserves objects from the Narni and Galleto hydroelectric power stations. The caves of the Archeological Park in Marmore The Marmore Falls also have another nice surprise in store for its visitors. The park to which it belongs has karstic caves, which have been excavated by water over millennia. The main ones, in terms of both speleological interest and beauty, are set in three distinct complexes: the first includes the Grotta della Morta and the Grotta delle Diaclasi, the second is the Grotta delle Colonne, while the third, extending over 190 metres, is the Grotta della Condotta, named after the ancient conduit that once fed the hydroelectric power station system. How to organise your visit Visiting the Falls is a truly unique experience. So you can best enjoy its beauty, we highly recommend planning to be at a good viewpoint the moment the gates are opened so you can watch the powerful rush of water. Otherwise, the Falls are still open, but with a reduced jet of water. The Falls also serve the Galleto hydroelectric power plant, meaning it is not only an environmental asset of rare beauty, but also a valuable resource for the area. Find out more: https://www.raftingmarmore.com https://www.cascatadellemarmore.info
Art & Culture

La Scarzuola

La Scarzuola: the dream vision of a great architect La Scarzuola is a highly original architectural complex built in the garden of a former Franciscan convent of the 13th century by one of the most visionary Italian architects of the 20th century, Tomaso Buzzi. Nestled in the woods of the Orvieto hills, La Scarzuola reveals the dreamlike and surreal imagination of an artist who wanted to create his “ideal city” in a place he particularly loved. In 1956 Buzzi purchased this site as his home, located in the hamlet of Montegabbione (municipality of Montegiove, province of Terni). After restoring the ancient convent, Buzzi transformed what was once the monks' kitchen garden into an “anthology of stone”, where nature and architecture merge into each other. An ideal small town surrounded by greenery Inspired by a late 15th-century allegorical novel attributed to Francesco Colonna, Buzzi's ideal city is a set of buildings surrounded by greenery and characterised by different styles and dimensions, part labyrinth, part symbolic route, and part magical itinerary. It is like a synthesis of memories that the artist had been gathering from projects only imagined or thrown down on paper, a kind of catalogue of the potential of architecture itself. The world in a garden La Scarzuola, in Buzzi's words, “represents the World in general and in particular my World, that of art, culture, worldliness, elegance, pleasure and also vices, wealth and power, where, nevertheless, I made room for oases of recollection, of study and work, of music and silence...” “Awakening what sleeps within us, thanks to architecture” On the spiral path through the garden, around various bizarre buildings, seven stages of as many theatres are revealed, each a metaphor for life and death, the sacred and the profane, the true and the false. At La Scarzuola, the architecture in the green allows everyone to compare and contrast themselves with their unconscious through the vision of archetypal figures, almost a psychoanalytic journey culminating in the Acropolis, made up of buildings that reveal a multiplicity of perspectives and points of view, just like life itself. On the way, we find the Tower of Babel and its unwinding staircase of knowledge inside, the Great Mother, Jonah's Mouth (a reference to the park of Bomarzo), the butterfly-shaped Aquatic Theatre, the elliptical Theatre of Infinity, of the unfinished and the human body, not to mention numerous other architectural elements. A New-Age spiritualism A pioneer of a spiritualism that today we would call New Age, Buzzi worked on his idea for 20 years, constantly reworking his creation. Abandoned after the death of its creator in 1981, the Scarzuola complex was later restored according to drawings that Marco Solari had made of it. A nephew of Buzzi, Solari now lives there and guides visits to the garden, helping to interpret the myriad meanings of this place that is as fascinating as it is enigmatic. The name Scarzuola derives from a wetland plant, the scarza, which St Francis is said to have used to build himself a hut on the site where the convent was later built. In the apse of the church of Santa Maria della Scarzuola – which cannot be visited, like the Convent – a fresco of St Francis rising resurfaced some 30 years ago, and is now considered one of the oldest in Umbria. Find out more The Scarzuola garden can be visited all year round, but only by appointment. The visit lasts about one and a half hours.
Art & Culture

Teatro della Concordia

Teatro della Concordia: a small 18th-century pearl near Perugia Miniature jewel of art, indeed the smallest in the world with 99 seats between boxes and stalls: the Teatro della Concordia rises from the heart of Montecastello di Vibio, in the province of Perugia, not far from Todi, in a town that stands out on the right side of the Tiber Valley. Its name is not accidental and, in the 19th century, the time of its construction, it was intended to draw attention to the ideals of the French Revolution: liberty, equality and fraternity. Did you know that... There are even smaller theatres around the world. One example is the little theatre in the castle of Valvasone (PN). The Concordia theatre, however, is the oldest of those still in operation, unique architectural testimony of the 18th century Italian theatre in Goldonian style. Goldoni imposed strict rules for the construction of the ideal theatre, like using wood as the only element for the boxes and the bell-shaped floor plan for adequate acoustics. In fact, it is the smallest active historical theatre in the world. The Società del Teatro della Concordia, set up to manage the building, is now committed to keeping it open, offering performances and guided tours to the public. The story of this little wonder In the midst of the Napoleonic period, a group of nine illustrious local families set out to bring art to all, without sacrificing the best architectural details and the great artists of the time. Thus, the interior of the Teatro della Concordia in Montecastello di Vibio is particularly precious, enriched by frescoes decorating the boxes and vaulted ceiling: all by Cesare Agretti and his 15-year-old son Luigi. The latter made his mark with his paintings. Celebrities and curiosities The Teatro della Concordia has hosted great artists throughout its history. Think of the young soprano Antonietta Stella from Todi, who performed here in 1929, remembered as one of the best interpreters of Verdi's repertoire. Gina Lollobrigida, who made her debut as a young actress here in 1945 in Santarellina, by playwright Eduardo Scarpetta. The Teatro della Concordia, past to present In 1951, the hall was closed. A few years later the roof collapsed. The inhabitants of the area considered the theatre too important to lose it and thought of self-taxing in order to finance the restoration work, then completed by the Region, thanks to EU funds. In 1993, the restoration was completed and today the theatre is also used for conferences, meetings and civil weddings. From the smallest to the largest In 1997, the smallest theatre in the world twinned with the largest theatre in the world, the Teatro Farnese in Parma, seating approximately 3,000. For more information, the reference website is: www.teatropiccolo.it.
Region

Lush valleys and pristine environments: Umbria: the green heart of Italy

The fantastically varied scenery of Umbria offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy an unforgettable holiday, in contact with nature, in search of your own inner spirit or thrilling adventures. Anyone who loves Italian cuisine will be spoiled for choice, between family-run trattorias and the restaurants of Michelin star chefs.

Learn more
1600X1600_umbria_approfondimento
Ops! An error occurred while sharing your content. Please accept profiling cookies to share the page.