Umbria Area Guide
Umbria is often referred to as “the green heart of Italy”, and that's not an overblown description. It lies in the middle of Italy and is entirely landlocked, bordering neither the sea nor another country. With a population of less than 900,000, it is a beautiful and largely unspoiled region of rolling hills, woods, streams and valleys. The region's lush good looks result from a generous supply of water; Lake Trasimeno lies to the west, while the Tiber and its tributaries wind through Umbria’s leafy valleys and ravines. Within its borders Umbria also contains a dozen or so classic hill-towns, each very individual and crammed with artistic and architectural treasures to rival larger and more famous cities. There’s also the same glorious pastoral scenery as Tuscany – the olive groves, vineyards, cypress-topped hills and high mountain landscapes.
Umbria may not have the internationally acclaimed set-pieces like Florence and Siena, but it does have a selection of far more intimate and easily visited hill-towns – Perugia, Assisi, Orvieto, Gubbio, Todi, Spoleto and Norcia are all within easy reach of each other, making Umbria manageable and straightforward to explore. Umbria is on a par with Tuscany artistically and spiritually, being home to such marvels as the Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi, containing extraordinary frescoes by the influential Giotto, and the Gothic-era Duomo that dominates the skyscape of Orvieto in the south. There is also a second tier of charming and even more intimate smaller centres, such as Montefalco, Trevi, Narni, Città di Castello, Montone, Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, Città della Pieve and many more.
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