Where is Umbria? According to Umberto Eco, the famous Italian writer, it is the center of the universe. Certainly for us at Umbria Bella, it is the focus of our lives. For visitors, it is a place where it’s still possible to experience what Italy is and what Italy used to be.
Art, history, cuisine, agriculture, design, religion — they are all here and can be enjoyed from many perspectives. The medieval hilltowns are among the best preserved in the world. Montefalco, Todi, Orvieto, Assisi, Terni, Spoleto, Spello. . .the list goes on and on. Each of them is different and each offers a glimpse of a history that set the stage for modern democracy and contemporary art.
The churches are the repositories for some of the most important art in the world. All over Umbria, from the smallest chiesa to the largest duomo, there are spectacular frescoes and paintings. These buildings are living museums, many still used today for religious services and containing extraordinary examples of the creative arts. They are often the sites of concerts and exhibitions, bringing visitors into the cultural life of modern Italy.
And then there is the food: the wineries across the region that produce some of the best vintages in Italy, the area around Norcia where cured meats are produced, the sublime olive oils, the wild game, porcini mushrooms, local pastas, legumes, truffles, chocolate. The best of it all is found in the small trattorias, where mamma cooks and the children serve while Papa makes wine and olive oil.
There is more: Majolica ceramics, which have been produced in Deruta for more than five hundred years, and fine jacquard linens, woven around Montefalco and Spoleto. There are impressive museums, from Perugia to many ancient villages, where festivals fill the summer with art and music. And, of course, there is dolce far niente, the sweetness of doing nothing, of listening to the birds sing, reading a book in the shade, snoozing in the sun.