Known as the "green heart of Italy" Umbria is celebrated for its rustic countryside and historic hill towns of pinkish gray stone. It echoes the Middle Ages with a profusion of Medieval villages, castles, and monasteries.
Today, the old towns are Umbria's chief glory. In Perugia, the region's capital, and the smaller centers of Gubbio, Montefalco, and Todi, you'll discover numerous Romanesque churches, civic palaces, and endless medieval nooks and crannies. Spoleto, blends medieval monuments with Roman remains and some of Italy's oldest churches. In Orvieto, Etruscan remains abound, and one of Italy's finest Romanesque-Gothic cathedrals perches on a high plateau.
Assisi is one of Umbria's most famous towns and one of its loveliest. The burial place of St. Francis, the Basilica di San Francesco, was begun in 1228. Over the next century its Upper and Lower Churches were decorated by the foremost artists of their day, among them Giotto, whose frescoes on the Life of St. Francis are some of the most renowned in Italy.
Umbria is the smallest region in Italy and entirely landlocked, but that does not limit the landscape. Umbria's countryside can be as compelling as its towns, from the mountainous splendor of the Monti Sibillini national park (best reached from Norcia) to the gentler countryside of the Valnerina and the beaches of Lake Trasimeno.
Umbria's artistic spirit gives life today to the internationally acclaimed Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds) and the Umbria Jazz Festival.