Introductions to various aspects of the history, languages and peoples of Tuscany in Italy
The “old town” of Assisi is not very large and can easily be explored on foot. The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is the mother church of the Order of Friars Minor, commonly known as the Franciscan Order. As the burial place of St. Francis, the basilica is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Italy.
Città della Pieve in Umbria overlooks the Val di Chiana towards the western frontier of Umbria, about 20 km south of Lake Trasimeno and 8 km from Chiusi in Tuscany. Città della Pieve is more a town than a city and is an attractive, compact locality.
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.
Narni in Umbria is first referred to as “Nequinum”, a populated nucleus dating back to about 600 BC. By 299 BC, Narni had become a Roman colony named “Narnia”. The name comes from the nearby Nar river, which is called the Nera today.
Norcia, Italy is located on the flat floor of a valley around 600 m high in the Sabbine mountains of Umbria, Italy, between the Sordo and Torbidone rivers. Norcia has long been inhabited and gained political importance in Roman times, when it was mentioned quite frequently by Roman historians.
Orvieto, Italy is situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff, one of the most dramatic townscapes in Europe, rising above the vertical cliffs that are extended by defensive walls of the same stone. The facade of theDuomo of Orvieto, a masterpiece of Italian gothic art, is equally spectacular, consisting of bands of black and white stone decorated with bronze dragons, gold mosaics and marble bas-reliefs by Lorenzo Maitani.
Panicale is a charming, mostly mediaeval, walled town about 6 km from Lake Trasimeno over which it offers a splendid view. The islands of the lake are sharply visible on a clear day. The few streets form concentric ovals that lead to the main piazza, Piazza Grande, which is the location of a fine 15 C fountain.
Spello is vastly under-rated as a place to visit in Umbria, Italy. This quiet Umbrian hilltop (or, rather, ridge-top) town is a pleasure for those who love to explore the integration of Roman structures into a living town. Three well-preserved Roman portals form the entries into Spello.
Deruta is a major centre for the production of painted ceramics in Italy and this is the main reason to visit this attractive town in the Province of Perugia. Nevertheless, in Deruta there are a fine gothic church and an art museum housing a fresco by Perugino.
Perugia is one of the principal “art cities” of Umbria and indeed of Italy, and presents a rich feast of architecture, frescoes, paintings and historical artifacts. The location and climate of Perugia, as well as its reasonable size, add to the pleasure of a visit.