Best 20 things to do in Umbria: discover Italy most underrated region

Best things to do in Umbria

A insider’s guide about the 20 best things to do in Umbria, one of Italy most fascinating regions of Italy, still off the mainstream touristic itineraries

It’s hard to select just 20 best things to do in Umbria, Italy. In my view, Umbria is one of Italy best kept secrets. It displays fascinating towns and villages, tons of culture, beautiful sceneries, fantastic food, cultural events and much more. And, despite that, it’s still ignored by mainstream tourism. Therefore, you won’t find the tourists crowds that will give you a hard time in Florence or San Gimignano. On the contrary, you will enjoy an atmosphere of bygone times, among the medieval paths, the palaces, the castles and the fortresses of charming villages.

This post is aimed at disclosing the best things to see and do in Umbria. I’m sure that after reading it you will want to squeeze Umbria into your Italy trip plan!

So here we go with the top 20 things to see and do in Umbria, Italy.

Continue reading “Best 20 things to do in Umbria: discover Italy most underrated region”

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Gubbio, medieval perfection in Umbria

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The Roman Theater and the old town of Gubbio

Discover Gubbio, a medieval jewel in the heart of beautiful Umbria

Are you looking for the perfect medieval town? Cobblestone streets, Gothic palaces and churches, centuries of history behind every corner? Oh, and you want it in a beautiful natural setting, but far from the mainstream tourist flows?

Well, don’t look any further, and get a ticket to Gubbio!

Gubbio is the oldest town in Umbria, and one of its most beautiful destinations. It’s relatively small, and its main attractions, such as the magnificent Palazzo dei Consoli (Consular Palace),  the renaissance The Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace) and the cathedral can be easily visited in half a day and are a perfect day trip from Perugia or Assisi.

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Enjoy your trip to Gubbio!

 

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Delightfullyitaly.com: Italy top destinations and travel itineraries, off the beaten path

Delightfullyitaly.com is the blog for all the ones in love with Italian culture, Italian sights, Italian monuments .. and with Italian food! If you wish to visit Italy for the first time, or if you already discovered Venice, Rome, Florence, the Amalfi coast, but still want more, delightfullyitaly.com is here to disclose to you Italian Must See as well as Italian hidden treasures. And if you like what you read, why not follow delightfullyitaly.com and get free up.

The astonishing Orvieto cathedral and the incredible St Patricks’ well

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Explore Orvieto Corpus Domini astonishing cathedral and descend the impressive staircases of St patrick’s well.

 

Sitting atop a high volcanic cliff, the hill town of Orvieto makes an impressive sight.

Inhabited since Etruscan times, Orvieto’s monuments and museums cover millenniums of history and its stunning cathedral is one of the best medieval monuments in Italy.

One hour train from the Capital, Orvieto is a perfect destination for a day trip from Rome, and a convenient location to leave your rental car after a self driving Tuscany tour. A funicular connects the train station to the old city, up on the cliffs. I can’t think of anything easier!

Two are Orvieto absolute Must Sees: the Duomo and St Patrick Well. That said, Orvieto is a delightful town, with lots of things to do and see (what about exploring its 440 Etruscan caves?), and if you are not on a tight schedule you can spend one or two days in town, or use it as a hub to explore the southern part of Umbria and of Tuscany (click on the image below to access Google maps and get a feeling of the distances).

Orvieto MAP

Let’s start by the Duomo. Symbol of the city of Orvieto itself, the Duomo is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy.

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Started in 1290, Orvieto’s duomo was originally planned in the Romanesque style, but as work proceeded and architects changed, it became more Gothic.

The black-and-white marble banding of the main body of the church is surpassed and complemented by the polychrome mosaics of the façade.

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But why such a marvelous cathedral in a rathe small town? Well, as usual in Italy, because of a miracle. The Miracle of teh Corpus Domini (“Body of the Lord”).

In the 1260s, a skeptical priest — who doubted that the bread used in communion was really the body of Christ — passed through Bolsena (a few miles from Orvieto) while on a pilgrimage to Rome. During Mass, the bread bled, staining a linen cloth. The cloth was brought to the pope, who was visiting Orvieto at the time. Such a miraculous relic required a magnificent church.

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Inside the Duomo, you can’t miss Luca Signorelli’s fresco cycle, Il Giudizio Universale, in the Cappella San Brizio, to the right of the altar.

Signorelli began work on the series in 1499, and Michelangelo is said to have taken inspiration from it for the Sistine Chapel. Indeed, to some, Michelangelo’s version runs a close second to Signorelli’s work…

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To the right of the altar, the Cappella del Corporale houses, of course, the Corporale (admirable work of the goldsmith Ugolino di Vieri) and the tabernacle containing the Holy Body of linen stained by the blood of Jesus at the Miracle of Bolsena (the “Corpus Domini”).

The frescoes by Ugolino di Prete Ilario admirably depict the miracle.

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St Patrick’s Well is an architect marvel, and a perfect integration of engineering audacity and architectural décor.
When in 1527, during the sack of Rome, Pope Clement VII had to take refuge at Orvieto, the town looked destined to become a place of regular papal refuge. Hence the need for a reliable water supply in case of siege: not easy for a town build on top a f a high tufa cliff!
Antonio da Sangallo the Younger was then commissioned the construction of a Well designed to tap the water veins underlying the cliff.

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Sangallo created an ingenious system of two spiral staircases that never meet. They create a way to get in and out of the Well (about 53 meters deep and 13 meters wide) without any traffic problems for the long donkey lines that transported water bags in and out the well. Actually the 248 steps are large enough to accommodate the donkeys.
Seventy windows cut into the wall light the stairs from the central shaft.

Going down the well is a really fascinating experience you shouldn’t miss.

Funny enough, spendthrifts in Italy are said to have pockets as bottomless as “il pozzo di San Patrizio” (this was what my grandma used to tell me when I kept asking for gifts!)

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When you are done with your visit, just loose yourself in the delightful medieval streets, for a Gelato or a dinner in one of the many delicious restaurants.

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Enjoy Orvieto!


Delightfullyitaly.com: Italy top destinations and travel itineraries, off the beaten path

Delightfullyitaly.com is the blog for all the ones in love with Italian culture, Italian sights, Italian monuments .. and with Italian food! If you wish to visit Italy for the first time, or if you already discovered Venice, Rome, Florence, the Amalfi coast, but still want more, delightfullyitaly.com is here to disclose to you Italian Must See as well as Italian hidden treasures.

And if you like what you read, why not follow delightfullyitaly.com and get free updates?

Mystical Stations of the Cross in Assisi

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The Stations of the Cross in Assisi: a mystical Easter tradition

 

It’s Good Friday night.

You’re in Assisi, one of the most sacred and mystical places on earth. Street lights are turned off. Torches hung to the ancient stone walls provide a yellowish, feeble light.

A multitude of believers and pilgrims wait in the dark, in silence. In front of you, the majestic white columns of a roman temple, transformed in a catholic church centuries ago.

Suddenly, you here the sound of a drum, coming down from San Rufino Church. It’s a desperate drum, that resounds in the dark. A funeral drum.

Dum. Dum Dum.

No one says a word. The silence is unreal.

The sound of the drum gets closer.

Dum. Dum Dum.

Then you see it. The sad procession that commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ.

First comes the drum. Then the priests. And then the penitents, bare footed, a hood covering their head. They hold large, heavy wooden crosses on their shoulders. You can count tens of them. Behind them, the Virgin Mary effigy, her heart stabbed by seven daggers to commemorate her “seven pains”, carried on shoulders.

The procession moves forward slowly, stopping from time to time. They head to St Francis Basilica, where they will find the effigy of the dead Christ.

Behind them a multitude of believers walk slowly, in silence, and noiselessly disappears in the dark.

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The Via Crucis (the Stations of the Cross), depicting the final dramatic moments of the Passion of the Christ, is a medieval tradition that makes reference to the Gospels and is also known as Calvary, in reference to the mount of Jesus’s Crucifixion.

Assisi’s Via Crucis is less famous and well known than Rome’s, which is celebrated personally by the Pope. But for this reason, it is far more spiritual and the atmosphere is just unbelievable. Assisting to it, a few days ago, was a touching experience.

I would like to share some pictures of the procession. I shot them without flash, trying to capture the mysticism of the procession.

I hope you will like them.

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Delightfullyitaly.com: Italy top destinations and travel itineraries, off the beaten path

Delightfullyitaly.com is the blog for all the ones in love with Italian culture, Italian sights, Italian monuments .. and with Italian food! If you wish to visit Italy for the first time, or if you already discovered Venice, Rome, Florence, the Amalfi coast, but still want more, delightfullyitaly.com is here to disclose to you Italian Must See as well as Italian hidden treasures.

And if you like what you read, why not follow delightfullyitaly.com and get free updates?