Introductions to various aspects of the history, languages and peoples of Tuscany in Italy
The church of San Giovanni Battista (St John the Baptist) is one of the most important monuments of the castle of Arrone. In addition, the nearby hamlet of Casteldilago is home to to the Church of San Nicola, with frescoes by Giovanni di Pietro, called ‘the Spaniard’, or a pupil of his, and the Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Round Rock.
One of the great pleasures of a visit to Italy is to stumble across a local festival or fair (festa, sagre, fiera). Although there are a great many of these events – fairs, costumed festivals, patron saints’ days etc. – so that your chances of finding yourselves participating by chance are good, it is nevertheless worthwhile to do a bit of research because some of these festivals are not to be missed.
Here’s an interactive map of Tuscany with links to the best websites for many of the most interesting cities, towns, villages and sights of Tuscany.
Lago Trasimeno, known historically as “the lake of Perugia”, is the largest lake in peninsular Italy, being slightly smaller than Lake Como. The lake has three islands, one inhabited, and several attractive villages on its circumference.
Gubbio is beautifully situated at the foot and on the slopes of Monte Ingino and Monte Calvo, with a wonderful view out over the Umbrian plains. Gubbio is austere in appearance because of the dark grey stone from which the majority of its buildings are constructed, as well as the narrow streets and Gothic architecture.
Castelluccio di Norcia is a small high-country village situated in the the Sibylline Mountains (Monti Sibillini) of Umbria. The geomorphology is dominated by U-shaped valleys and glacial plains formed by huge glaciers during the last ice age. The attraction of these high altitude valleys is the “Fiorita” or “Fioritura” (the Flowering) of Castelluccio di Norcia. Between the end of May and the beginning of July of each year, the plains change colour as millions of flowering plants burst into bloom.
Visitors to Orvieto should not miss the two small museums located on the Piazza del Duomo. These are the National Archaeological Museum which holds the most recently found archaeological materials from the city and surrounding area, and the Museum of the Faina Foundation, located on the opposite side of piazza which holds a number of older finds plus items bought on the antiquarian market. Of special interest are the Etruscan artefacts, since Orvieto is a good candidate to be the site of Etruscan Volsinii (Velzna or Velusna) which was known to stand on a steep height and was the location of the Fanum Voltumnae, the most important sanctuary of the Etruscans.
The Cascata delle Marmore waterfalls, which are located about 8 km from Terni, in Umbria, are not a natural phenomenon but were created by the ancient Romans. The water source of the falls is Lake Piediluco which is fed by the river Velino (the rest of the river flows into a hydroelectric power plant). The falls descend into the river Nera in the valley below. The falls are in effect turned on and off according to a fixed schedule, for the benefit of tourists and the power company alike.
The three sectors of Città della Pieve, called Terzieri (Borgo Dentro, Casilino, Castello) challenge each other to an archery competition, known as “The Bull Hunt” (inspired by the “Caccia del Toro”, a primitive bullfight that took place in the ancient Castel della Pieve in the 15 C and 16 C).