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Discovering the spiritual heart of Italy: Umbria

Umbria in Italy Provinces included:
Places visited: Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, Montefalco
Length of Itinerary: 2-3 days
Time of the Year: any time, better in spring and autumn, on the 4th October it is St. Francis Day, and around the 20th of the same month there has been for dedades the Peace March from Perugia to Assisi.

Itineraries in Other Regions

Accommodation in Umbria

Description of the Itinerary

The itinerary is inside the Valle Umbra the heart of the region, starting from Perugia where, among the many points of interest, are the Palazzo dei Priori, the Augustus Arch, and the wonderful panorama from the belvedere of Piazza Italia, as well as the many fine churches in the historical centre. In case the visit is during the summer, an annual jazz festival may be held.

Leaving Perugia at 25km away is Assisi, the world-famous hometown of St. Francis and Saint Claire the town is perched on a hill, and from a parking area at bottom elevators take visitors to the centre. Inside the church of St. Francesco escorted tours start in the morning and afternoon. At lunch, the genuine cuisine of many local trattorie will add value to your religious and artistic visit, with their typical local dishes based on black truffle, pork products from Norcia, rustic cakes as mostarelli, trecce, frappe, seasoned with the Umbrian extravirgin oil and accompanied by Sacrantino wine.

Before leaving Assisi, another beautiful stop is at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, at the bottom of the hill. Inside the basilica there is still the "rosebush without thorns" where St. Francis entered to punish his body tempted by Satan. The tradition is that the rosebush lost its thorns, and still today on the leaves red spots appear, in memory of the Saint's blood. This episode and others from St. Francis' life are described in the frescos painted by Giotto inside the Basilica.

A little distance from Assisi is the medieval jewel of Spello, an ancient Roman town with an amphitheater, the Roman doors called Porta Venere and Porta Consolare, which lead into the town centre, where at top it is possible to admire the fine church of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Belvedere, for another among views of the Umbrian landscape. The itinerary will then proceed towards the "Fonti del Clitumno", the idyllic springs praised by the Roman poets, amid hills covered with olive trees. Just before the Fonti, a fine temple of early Christianity, so strong in the region.

From here, the itinerary will lead us to Spoleto, with its skyline of palaces and towers against the background of the Monteluco's forest. Spoleto will enchant the visitors with its unique, huge bridge, and could conveniently be visited during its renowned arts festival, the "Festival dei Due Mondi".

From Spoleto, we'll reach Montefalco, which is deserved by fameus as the "balcony of Umbria": a photographer's dream, at the top of the town an all-round view of the valley, with the profile of Faligno and Assisi against the horizon. A little distance from Montefalco, at Bevogna, an Etruscan underground site will give another important insight into the pre-Roman history of Umbria.