Art cities in Umbria
In Umbria you will find hundreds of intact medieval hamlets reachable by car in few minutes in non trafficked roads. Some of them are very well known worldwide for their history, traditions and gastronomy as well.
Assisi(6km/10min from Villamena)
Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis , is one of the most spiritual places in Italy. Assisi is an eternal destination for pilgrims wanting to the see the places where Saint Francis was born, where he worked, and where he died. In the year 2000v Assisi was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, described as constituting a unique example of continuous history: a city-sanctuary beginning with its Umbrian-Roman origins, through the Medieval Age and up until today.
Gubbio(42km/50min from Villamena)
A masterpiece of medieval town, rich in historical and artistic heritage as well as in ancient traditions, that can be found intact in its folklore and products. This is Gubbio, the oldest town in Umbria region, as shown by the Tables of Gubbio, housed in the City Museum, and the Roman Theatre’s ruins. The medieval district was outlined mainly during the fourteenth century, which marked the utmost developing period of the city, as shown i.e. by the magnificent Palazzo dei Consoli (Consular Palace), designed by Angelo from Orvieto.
Cascia(90km/1h 27min from Villamena)
Cascia was founded during Roman times, even if nothing remains which remembers those times, due to devastation by barbaric tribes and the earthquakes which have always disturbed the town and the neighbouring cities.
Cascia experienced its period of major splendour during the Middle Ages. At the beginning of the 16th century, Cascia surrendered to the Papal State under whose rule it remained for less than 30 years. The most important turist destination is the Basilica of St. Rita of Cascia. The church was founded to replace an earlier one, rebuilt in 1557 and already dedicated to St. Rita. The Augustinian nuns, the Sisters of Rita, still live in this place of cloistered. In the Basilica’s chapel, there is the body of the saint.
Città della Pieve(78km/1h 24min from Villamena)
Along the ancient route of Via Romea rises Città della Pieve, the home of Perugino. Città della Pieve is a town high up on a hill striking for its intense terracotta colour. At the highest point the fortress dominates with its five square towers, while the town centre is Piazza del Plebiscito, which has as its historical and architectonic fulcrum in the cathedral, the ancient church, with works by Perugino. From the square the terzieri towns take form: the “Castle”, with Piazza XIX Giugno dominated by the Fargna Palace, the “Casalino” with the oratory of S. Mary of the Bianchi, precious for the fresco of the Adoration of the Magi by Perugino, and the “Borgo Dentro”.
Orvieto(96km/1h 38min from Villamena)
Beautiful Orvieto rises on a tufaceous hill in the middle of the Umbrian countryside. Home to an impressive Cathedral, one of the most important in Italy, a well-preserved medieval town center and a very interesting underground network of tunnels.
Orvieto is also famous for St. Patrick’s Well (175 feet deep, 45 feet wide, and 496 steps down). Thanks to its natural hilltop fortification, Orvieto served as a 16th-century place of refuge for the pope. Wanting to ensure he had water during a time of siege, he built this extravagant well, with two spiral stairways leading down to a bridge from which people could scoop up water. The double-helix design was crucial for allowing efficient traffic flow.
Todi(63km/1h from Villamena)
The town of Todi rises up above a hill, more than 400 metres high, in the middle the Tiber Valley.
The origin of the name seems to be uncertain, but many believe it originated from the Etruscan name “Tutere” that means boundary. Todi, in fact, from its lofty position, dominated the valley of the Tiber and bordered the ancient territory of the Etruscans.
In 1236 the town saw the birth of one of its most eminent citizens, the Franciscan poet, Jacopone. At the beginning of the 90’s, the University of Kentucky, based on a series of qualitative factors, elected Todi the “Ideal City”, a place in which nature and man, history and tradition combined to a point of world-wide excellence. Todi was unexpectedly chosen as the most livable city in the world.
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