There are few places in the world that could combine art with nature in such a harmony like Umbria–the green heart of Italy. Massive mountain ranges, plains spotted with wild flowers and the rich history make the towns here full of charm. From the famous town Assisi to the “slow city” Orvieto, today My Odyssey will show you a different Italy!
ASSISI– The City of Pilgrimage
Situated in Perugia of Umbria, Assisi, the town on top of the mountain gained its fame as the birth place of the catholic saint–San Francesco.
Assisi has plenty of world heritages recognized by UNESCO, among of which the Basilica di San Francesco d’Assisi. This twin church is just like a light house, leading those devout pilgrims, monks, art lovers and tourists to come to admire its beauty and holiness.
Besides, Assisi also boasts a lot of medieval masterpieces of art, such as the paintings of Giovanni Cimabu, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Simone Martini, Giotto di Bondone and other famous Italian painters. Those masterpieces made Assisi an important reference for the research of the development of Italian and European art and architecture.
SPELLO–The City of Flowers
When it comes to the most beautiful Italian village, it is no doubt that Spello wins the title. Situated in the foot of Mount Subasio, the honey colored houses spread out along the hillslope. The winding medieval streets and old churches will be a paradise for those history and architecture lovers. Three massive Roman gates and high towers are guarding this ancient Roman city.
Every summer, when the flower festival comes, the local residents will use piles of flowerpots and baskets full of flowers to decorate the house and the streets. At that time, the town will be filled with clusters of flowers and fascinating aroma. In Spello, flowers are the best way to make the life more beautiful.
Gubbio–the Gothic City
While most of Umbria feels soft, warm and rounded by the millennia, Gubbio is angular, sober, imposing and medieval through and through.
Known as the most beautiful city in Italy, Gubbio situated on the steep slope of Mount Ingino. With narrow and steep streets and the dark gray gothic architectures built during the 14 and 15 Century scatted all over, the city perfectly preserved the scene of the medieval mountainous ancient town.
Every May 15th, the “Candle Race festival” with hundreds of years’ history is being held in this ancient city, which is also one of the most vivid events in Italy.
Gubbio boasts the biggest Christmas tree in the world, which has already been included in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Todi–The city of Fairy Tale
Located on top of the Mountain, overlooking the winding rivers, the town of Todi is just like a town coming out of a fairytale. Stone houses, palaces and belfries extend to the hillside. The wild flowers and the grapes in the valley blossom and become mature with the change of seasons.
Todi is an old city whose history is as clear as the annual rings of a tree: The inner part of the ramparts shows the influence of the Etruscan and Umbrian culture. The middle part is the best example of the durable in use Roman technology. Every September, the Todi Art Festival is also being held here, which is a grand event including classic music, Jazz concerts, drama, ballet and films.
Orvieto–the City of Slow Food
Located in the Southwestern part of Umbria, the town of Orvieto is situated on the flat top of the mountain formed by volcanic tuff. Special location made it one of the most dramatic city in Europe. The city perches on the tuff cliff that is nearly vertical. The city wall was built using the same huge stone.
Orvieto is the first Slow City in the world. Walking into this city, you will feel like walking into the bygone times. Even time slows down its steps in this lovely city. Vehicles are banned here. All the cars have to be parked into the underground parking lot hidden in the park and square in the city center. Meanwhile, visitors could go directly to the city center via the lift hidden in the stone wall.
Glance over the city, there’s no modern high-rises, but buildings with 2 to 3 storeys and low houses. Here, the people try their best to live in harmony with the nature, and that’s why it is said that Orvieto is the optimal place for an elopement to the land of idyllic beauty.
A few years ago, Umbria was known, if at all, as Tuscany’s less alluring sister. Not any more: these days Italy’s “green heart” is every bit as celebrated as its more famous neighbour. The reasons are simple: the region has all Tuscany’s attributes and a few more. It’s hard to put your finger on what sets Umbria apart – some quality to the light, a haze to the hills, a certain gentleness to landscape – but once you’ve visited you’ll understand, and wonder how this varied and beautiful region ever languished in its neighbour’s shadow.