Umbria and Marche
Perugia, Orvieto, Assisi, Gubbio, Urbino, Ancona, Ascoli, Castelfidardo
The charm of Umbria, set like a gem in the heart of Italy, comes from its perfect fusion of art, nature, gentleness to landscape and peace.
Perugia historic centre is rich in cultural and architectural masterpieces, with one of the largest museum collections in Italy. It is also famous thanks to chocolate: the world-famous “baci” Perugina were born here.
Orvieto, with its famous Duomo, a masterpiece of Italian Gothic art, and St. Patrick’s Well, a 62-meter-deep (203 feet) feat of engineering characterized by two spiral staircases that wind around the well, with 248 steps down to the water.
Following in the footsteps of the most celebrated citizens of the region, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare and St. Benedict of Norcia, walking along the Via Francigena path, enjoy boundless landscapes through an intimate perspective.
Visit Assisi, one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, to appreciate the beauty of its medieval churches, such as the great 13th-century Basilica of St Francis, a major Christian pilgrimage site (the saint is buried in the crypt), frescoed by the painter Giotto.
Gubbio, the oldest village in Umbria, attracts visitors with traditional festivals like the “Corsa dei Ceri” (Candle Race) and the “Palio Balestra” (a Medieval crossbow contest on horseback).
Spello, one of the treasures of Umbria, is rich in history and works of art such as those by Pinturicchio. For a change of pace, make for the sleepy resorts along the shores of Lake Trasimeno, Italy’s fourth largest lake, surrounded by the hills of the Umbrian countryside.
Montefalco is perfect for wine lovers, set amidst wine trellises and olive groves. Take a stroll along the enchanting streets and sample the delicious local vino “Sagrantino di Montefalco”.
Along the famous “wine trails”, discover the taste and traditions of Umbria. Visit an olive oil mill and enjoy the great olive oil culture of the region.
Umbrian “Norcinerie” are famous for their delicacies like sausages, tasty hams and salami to eat with unsalted bread.
The famous lentils of Castelluccio di Norcia, a tasty ingredient for soups, and truffles, both black and white ones, are enhancing traditional dishes. As dessert, you can try the typical “panpepato” or “torciglione”.
Far from the crowds of tourists attracted by the neighbouring well-known regions. The Marche are still a genuine and “noble” land. A peaceful but not shy territory, concrete and at the same time fairy-tale, it is like an immense treasure trove of naturalistic, historical and artistic beauties, which have forged the laborious and extravagant character of its inhabitants.
Not only great personalities such as the composer Gioacchino Rossini, the painter Raffaello Sanzio, the poet Giacomo Leopardi or the king of Sicily Frederick II were born here, but also those skilful artisans who then created important productions such as Guzzini and Fabriano or luxury brands such as Tod’s, Hogan.
Whatever route you choose at any time of the year, the Marche region will steal your heart away! Whether it’s a tour of ancient villages and castles or a breath-taking panoramic sea view, an excursion to a national park or to spectacular underground caves, a visit to a UNESCO World Heritage Site or a concert at the world-famous Rossini opera festival, each experience will bring unforgettable emotions.
Palazzo Ducale in Urbino, UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a fascinating example of the Italian Renaissance architecture.
The fortress of Gradara, famous for the tragic love story between Paolo and Francesca immortalized by Dante in his Divine Comedy, is a magnificent medieval military citadel.
Ancona houses the Cathedral of San Ciriaco, one of the most interesting medieval churches in the Marche region,
For religious tourism, The Sanctuary of Maria di Loreto is considered one of the main pilgrimage destinations of Catholicism.
Every year, in August, Pesaro hosts The Rossini Opera Festival.
On the first Sunday of August, the memorable Quintana takes place in Ascoli Piceno, where expert riders challenge each other at the Giostra del Saraceno.
Castelfidardo is still the largest accordions supplier in the world, Recanati is famous for the production of guitars while Ascoli Piceno is a thriving centre for luthiers. Last but not least, Offida is famous for the art of bobbin lace-making.
Regional Food is not limited to one particular dish or type, but rather blends the flavours of the entire region. The typical rustic flavours of the hinterland can be identified in meat dishes like roast suckling-pig and marinated lamb, as well as in truffles dishes – in particular those from Acqualagna. Among the first courses: “strozzapreti” (“priest stranglers”) and the traditional “vincisgrassi”, forerunner of lasagne throughout the Italian peninsula.