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The charm of Umbria starts from the fusion between art and nature, distinguished by the peace and calm of this area that evokes the masterpieces of the Renaissance and by medieval small towns embedded in the hills. In Umbria the traces of the Etruscan civilization are remarkable, as visitors can see in Todi, Bettona, Orvieto and Perugia. Spoleto has important Roman remains; Spello is a city, where the Romans left some impressive remains. Other important Roman works can be found in Assisi and Gubbio. The Romanesque architecture thrived in this region at the beginning of the twelfth century: some beautiful examples are the Cathedrals of Spoleto and Assisi, St. Silvestro and St. Michele in Bevagna. The Gothic style reached very high levels, and imposing examples are present in almost every city.our villas in Umbria ›
The northern area of Umbria is characterized by ancient villages
and towns that preserve millenarian art and are set in a natural environment.
Our trip starts from Sansepolcro, entering the upper Tiber Valley through the tree-covered hillsides topped by ancient churches, villages and ruined castles until we reach Cittą di Castello. The stark Gothic Palazzo Comunale stands in the medieval Piazza del Duomo.
Gubbio is one of Europe's most perfectly preserved medieval towns where two major traditional events take place each year with the enthusiastic participation of the local people: on May 15th the Corsa dei Ceri race, and on the last Sunday of May the Palio della Balestra tournament.
Perugia is a city with much to offer to the art lover and the casual visitor. Its typical steep streets offer unexpected glimpses of ancient houses and the surrounding distant green hills. The first place to visit is Piazza IV Novembre with the 13th century Fontana Maggiore fountain decorated with reliefs by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano.
The austere Palazzo Comunale (or Palazzo dei Priori) with two tiers of mullioned windows and a battlemented roof was built between 1293 and 1443. This majestic building hosts the Umbrian National Art Gallery that traces the history of the region's painting from the 13th to the 18th On the other side of the Tiber Valley facing Perugia stands Assisi, nestling on a spur of Mount Subasio. The Basilica of Saint Francis comprises two churches, one above the other, and its construction was begun in 1228, just two years after the Saint's death. Walking along Via S. Francesco past the medieval houses and palaces, it the Piazza del Comune, standing on the site of the ancient Roman Forum. Other two treasures of Assisi are the Rocca Maggiore castle and, 4 kilometers away, the Eremo delle Carceri (Hermitage of the Carceri), an oasis of Franciscan peace.
In the southern territory of Umbria we can find several Etruscan and Roman ruins that narrate the historical duality of Umbria, land of the Etruscans on the West and Romans on the East. Spoleto has grown in fame since the Festival of Two Worlds has breathed new life to this quiet secluded town with its magnificent 12th century Cathedral and soaring bell-tower (with Filippo Lippi's frescoed interior), 12th century Church of S. Eufemia, and 12th-15th century Church of S. Gregorio Maggiore, Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Arroni and Palazzo Ancaiani, the Druso Arch and Roman theatre. Perched on the top of a hill which time and elements are gradually wearing down, Orvieto still preserves the typical layout of the medieval fortress town it was. We can stroll along its silent streets lined with Renaissance buildings and medieval houses, and linger a length in its unique Gothic Cathedral on which artists, architects, sculptors and painters have worked across the ages - Lorenzo Maitani, Andrea Orcagna, Gentile da Fabriano and Luca Signorelli, who left his greatest work here.
In Todi you can visit the splendid Piazza del Popolo, with the Gothic Palazzo del Popolo and Palazzo del Capitano and the 12th-16th century cathedral. Just outside the medieval town walls you can admire the Church of S. Maria della Consolazione. Todi has also been classified as the 'cittą ideale', or ideal town, by a group of American researchers who were looking to find an urban center ideal for the social demands of the near future. Why the ideal city? Because it holds no more than 15-20,000 people, it sits in a hilly zone in harmony with its environment, the administrative facilities are all conveniently located in the heart of the town while the ancillary services remain outside the town walls.