In May, Umbria’s countryside becomes garlanded with flowers and vines creating a spring haven of Italian culture. The traditions of the past are prominent in the inviting towns of Umbria that are dotted among the rolling hills and lush valleys. The food and wine are to die for, as are the narrow cobbled lanes and the sweeping pastoral views. Everything combined, a trip to Umbria this May is a tranquil way of delving into Italy’s romantic culture
Assisi is nestled gracefully into the green hills, a pocket of history in Umbria. The streets are narrow and winding, with hidden surprises on every corner. Traditional Italian life thrives and is enchanting to explore. Every turn you take there appears a church, often constructed in the appealing pink stone that characterises the town. The pride of Assisi is without a doubt the Basilica di San Francesco. Visible for miles, this supreme building is a spectacular bi-level church built to honour the praised saint. The church remains a major place of pilgrimage, but you don’t need to be a pilgrim to be entranced by its intricate art and air of intense spirituality. Another eye-catching church is the 16th-century Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli, the world’s seventh largest church.
Situated atop a giant chunk of volcanic stone, Orvieto rises majestically high above the valley floor. The charming cobbled lanes, medieval piazzas and fine wine combine to make a hill-top town defined by culture. Its dominant feature is certainly the awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral. The Duomo di Orvieto is a colourful work of mosaics, stained glass and sculpture. The cathedral not only took 30 years to plan but also a whopping three centuries to complete. You only have to step inside and see the wonder of its vibrant colours to appreciate the time spent constructing this masterpiece. Venturing beneath Orvieto, you can explore the 440 caves that have been used throughout history for an wide variety of purposes. World War II bomb shelters, refrigerators and much more stretching back to Roman times. A tour of the medieval caves offers a glimpse of how Italians once lived back then and even showcases them being used as a pigeon coop where the birds were reared for roasting. Leaving the caves, head to a restaurant and you’ll see ‘piccione’, the pigeon dishes nodding back to this history.
Todi is often a favourite of visitors who explore the Umbria region. A true fantasy town, it’s completely authentic. The elegant medieval town sits upon a hill overlooking the picturesque Tevere Valley. The wildflowers and vines that bloom across the Valley below are just part of the charm of Todi that makes visitors fall in love with it. Todi is defined by three rings of walls, each presenting a layer of history. Moving from the Estruscan influence of the interior walls, to the Roman history of the middles walls and then back to the medieval walls on the outside that portray the status of Todi’s wealth during the Middle Ages. Todi is home to one of Italy’s most wonderful piazzas, the Piazza del Popolo. At one end are the rose-tinted windows of the grand Cathedral with prime photo opportunities from its long set of stairs. Todi’s wine culture is special so nestle yourself into a seat in this fairytale town and enjoy the perfectly paired crisp wine and scrumptious Umbrian dish. A Todi speciality is ‘palomba alla ghiotta’, slow cooked pigeon, skewered on a spit above coal.
Spoleto is hugged by hills, olive groves and vineyards. Its interior is as attractive as its exterior, with an abundance of palaces and medieval buildings amongst a rich cultural life. The Roman amphitheatre is just one of the examples of the town’s exquisite history as well as two atmospheric Roman arches. Take time to wander round the circle of the summit, the views of the countryside are tranquil and provide the perfect spot for a picnic. Spoleto has become famous for its festival that stretches from the end of June into the beginning of July. The Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi is a long summer celebration with opera, dance, music and art in an other-worldly setting.
Visiting Umbria allows you to be surrounded by the rich and lively Italian culture and heritage. For your trip, style your look with a tribute to some of Italy’s luxury designers.
These new metal round sunglasses by Prada feature in a stunning and unsual white Havana frame. The classic round lens is modernized through the unique colour scheme and gold metal finish.
Another prominent name in fashion is Italy’s Fendi. These sunglasses mirror a work of art in their multi coloured design that splashes across the white frame. The thick frame is striking with a unique deep curved brow-line.
Umbria is an Italian idyll. Share your best-loved part in the comments below?