The green hearth of Italy

 

Umbria has been rightly defined by historians, artists and environmentalists the green heart of Italy“.


In fact in this region situated at the center of Italy, the environment is characterized by a perennial green: the modest beauty of the landscapes, the human dimension present in everything, the silence of the villages evoke the simple life of the past.


In Umbria you can discover a new way of relating with nature, about this it is easy referring to St. Francis of Assisi and his religiosity, characterized by a strong love for simple things. In this landscape the tourist can, at least for the time of a holiday, recover this valuable dimension of naturalness.
Its cities, all surrounded by this natural scenery, are made of greenery but also art and history, these are
Assisi, Gubbio, Spoleto, Spello, Todi, Norcia, Cascia and many others.


Assisi, is erected around the Basilica of St. Francis and dated back to the thirteenth century. This wonderful work of art is divided into two levels: the Lower Basilica, which houses the remains of St. Francis and the Upper Basilica, which guards the wonderful paintings of Giotto. Just outside the walls, in a dominant position, there is the fortress of Assisi, a recently restored medieval castle from which one can admire the beauty of Umbria.
Gubbio, an ancient Umbrian city reach in history, art and traditions. Its wonders are the magnificentPiazza della Signoria” which hosts the Palazzo dei Consoli built in 1300, besides there are a myriad of narrow streets that recall the mood of medieval times. Every year in May occurs the “Corsa dei Ceri”, the most important event in Umbria and one of the most important in Italy. It consists of a great popular festival of pagan origin with a race through the medieval streets of the city to reach the Basilica of St. Ubaldo.

Spoleto, with its Ponte delle Torri, a huge building of the fourteenth century, is famous above all for the “Festival dei due mondi” (which occurs in June-July of each year). It is a cultural event centred on opera and theatre and it summons high level artists.

Spello, a glorious city particularly rich in memories. Worthy of mention are the “Porta  Consolare  Romana” and the wonderful “Cappella Baglioni”, with frescos of the famous painter Pinturicchio.

Todi, an ancient Umbrian town situated in a beautiful position overlooking a large valley. It is rich in monuments and memories, worthy of a visit especially for the central square where there is the Palazzo dei Priori.

Orvieto, where besides etruscan and roman works of art, stands out the Cathedral, a jewel of Italian Gothic architecture, rich in mosaics and sculptures.

Norcia, an ancient Sabine town where St. Benedict was born. Nowadays he is venerated in the ancient St. Benedict’s church, a building restored in the fourteenth century that gives the name to the main square of the city. Moreover the Sibillini mountains, which surround Norcia with wonderful forests, are a tourist attraction for lovers of wild nature.

Norcia is also the home of black truffles and other products such as salami, cheese and lentils that made ​​it famous in the typical Italian cuisine.

Cascia, is a well known town in the religious geography for being the birthplace of Santa Rita, whose remains are conserved in a majestic modern Shrine, overlooking a green and unspoilt nature.

The Trasimeno Lake is the fourth largest lake in Italy, far a few kilometers from Perugia and historically known for the “Battle of Hannibalbetween the Carthaginians and the Romans. It is one of the most important battles of the second Punic war that took place in 217 b.C. and ended with the massacre of the Roman army.

Around the Trasimeno lake there are many delightful villages mainly of fishermen. At the center of the lake there are three islands: Isola Maggiore, Isola Minore and the Polvese Island, particularly interesting for the natural environment even if only one of them is inhabited. They are easily reachable through special ferries.

In Umbria, ultimately, by living one learns to know the meaning of nature’s beauty. It ‘s the heart of Italy and not only because of its geographical position, but also for its natural, historical and artistic wonders. In it there is fusion of man and nature, spirituality and work. It is a region where abound olive trees and vineyards, these as well as giving prized oils and wines, have become the symbol of this ancient land.

The tourist in this region recovers an inner balance of peace and serenity. The green hills, the flavors of the past through etruscan, medieval and Renaissance’s culture, the rediscovery of ancient flavors in a simple and genuine gastronomy, reconcile him with life and make him forget, for the time of his stay, any anxiety or concern.

Finally we can conclude that in Umbria one feels better both in body and in spirit. This is the reason why its enticement it’s never betrayed. A tourist, even after his departure, preserves a happy memory and at the same time a regret for past moments.
In this land, just in the center of the region, is Perugia. From this town it is easy to reach all the other villages and towns already mentioned and  taste all the characteristic features of them.

The charm of Perugia is given by the beautiful scenery, but it derives also from the historical and artistic works of art which often integrate in the nature.
The traces of the past are significant and numerous and recreate the typical medieval atmosphere.

The buildings in the historical center still preserve the original appearance.

The strict continuity between past and present, the peace that comes from the landscape and which characterizes Perugia and Umbria invite us to meditate. In this land persons like St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, St. Benedict of Norcia and St. Rita of Cascia have infused a religiosity that is expressed primarily through nature and through the spirituality of its inhabitants.

 

 

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