Umbria offers a large number of events throughout the year that make this small region in the heart of Italy even more attractive. The Spoleto Festival, which has always been the most prestigious festival in Italy for dance, theater, concerts, Umbria Jazz, a must for over thirty years that brings jazz lovers to Perugia from all over the world, and Eurochocolate and Italian First Courses, more recent annual happenings for lovers of chocolate and fine cuisine, are all by now a regular part of the Italian and international cultural panorama. Along with these are the superb Umbrian Sacred Musical Festival organized by the Amici della Musica and the Festival of the Nations in Città di Castello, which have brought the greatest names in classical music to Umbria. Lastly, Umbrian tradition stays alive in historical events such as the Ceri Race in Gubbio, the Calendimaggio in Assisi, the Quintana Tournament in Foligno, the Floral Decorations in Spello, and the Gaite Fair in Bevagna.
Umbria welcomes visitors and offers them hospitality of quality and good taste. The perfectly preserved historic towns and villages, fabulous art treasures, and mystical religious places need no description; they speak for themselves. Perugia, the regional capital, stands on the top of two hills. Added to its Etruscan traces are monuments from the medieval and Renaissance periods, along with daring modern architectural structures. Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, retains its mystical fascination all year round. A visit to the Carceri Hermitage hidden among the ilex woods on Mt. Subasio is a must.
Gubbio, rising on the slopes of Mt. Ingino and famous for its Ceri Race, is definitely worth a visit. The same goes for Orvieto, perched high atop a spur of volcanic tuff, with its precious Gothic Cathedral, one of the most beautiful in Italy. But Spoleto, Todi, Bevagna, and Montefalco are also worthy of a visit, as are the countless small villages that have preserved their atmosphere of long-ago times.
In Umbria there are plenty of opportunities for enjoying outdoor life. Lake Trasimeno, just 20 kilometers north of Perugia, is an excellent place for cruising on a motorboat in discovery of its three islands. The splendid karst plain at Castelluccio di Norcia, in the Valnerina, is an unforgettable sight, especially in May and June, when it blazes with hundreds of species of flowers in bloom.
The Monti Sibillini National Park, straddling the Umbria-Marche border, offers many possibilities for hiking, biking, horseback riding and skiing all throughout the year, and discovering the many plants and animals that populate the Park.
Following the road from Spoleto to Terni one comes across the enchanting Marmore Falls, created by the ancient Romans as part of a hydraulic engineering work, with the waters of the Velino River plummeting 165 meters before joining the Nera River.
Fine wines and hundreds of years of olive oil tradition, heightened by wine and food journeys along the Wine Routes and the Olive Oil Route. A rich variety of salamis and prosciutto, lentils, cheeses, honey, and white and black truffles, the precious subterranean fungi that grow in the underbrush of the Umbrian hills. Umbria enters the heart of its visitors through their stomachs, and teaches them the secrets of how to best enjoy these delights at the Università dei Sapori ("University of Flavors") in Perugia. Along with its art treasures and beautiful landscapes, Umbria offers simple, delicious foods that one can enjoy in the delightful restaurants and trattorias located in the vaulted cantinas of old buildings in the villages and historic centers, or by purchasing them directly from those who have been producing them with expert skill for years.
In Umbria there are countless quality shops for purchasing all types of traditional regional products. For those interested in fashion, there are charming boutiques in the historic city centers and scores of outlet shops operated by producers of fine cashmere products and high fashion clothing. Lovers of fine food and wines will find many opportunities to stock up on wine and typical local products at the region's wineries, farms and traditional shops.
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