The district of Lake Trasimeno is ideally located in the center of Italy, between Tuscany and Umbria.
The harmonious coexistence of green rolling hills, typical of the Umbrian countryside, with the charming panorama of the lake, its islands and the small old towns rich in history, art and culture, make this an area of considerable charm that is becoming increasingly popular with both Italian and foreigner tourists.
Passignano sul Trasimeno
An ancient fishing village nestled between the blue waters of Lake Trasimeno and the surrounding green hills, Passignano is a veritable gem and a must-see between Umbria and Tuscany.
Lake Trasimeno and its small villages
The Trasimeno is a unique area, rich in art and culture. Spectacular vistas and enchanting glimpses born of the harmonious intertwining of the green Umbrian hills with the lovely panoramas of the lake and its islands and ancient towns. Castiglione del Lago, Città della Pieve, the lovely villages of Panicale and Paciano make this an area of considerable charm that is becoming increasingly popular with both Italian and foreigner tourists.
Perugia is one of the most beautiful Etruscan cities in Italy. Its warmly coloured stones, its majestic palazzi and its climbs and descents have fascinated poets and artists throughout the centuries. The old town is set on a hill and the other hills, visible in many places along the city streets, surround it. The ancient heart of Perugia is a kaleidoscope of shapes, sizes and colours: brick, travertine, marble, columns, arches, doors, walls that trace its long history and that of the peoples and civilizations that have inhabited it: Etruscan, Roman, the wealth of the Papal States.
Must-sees: the National Gallery of Umbria, which contains, among others, works by Pinturicchio, Piero della Francesca and Perugino, the Capitulary Museum of San Lorenzo, National Archaeological Museum; Museum of the doors and walls of the city; The Etruscan Arch, one of the seven gates of the Etruscan walls of Perugia.
Built in the second half of the third century B.C. it was restored by Augustus in 40 BC after his victory in the war of Perugia. It is the most intact and monumental of all the Etruscan city doors. The Fontana Maggiore (also known as Fontana di Piazza), is a symbol of Perugia located in the center of Piazza IV Novembre. Built at the end of 1200s, to celebrate the new city aqueduct, it has two marble basins decorated with representations of the months of the year, rural tradition and the Bible.
Palazzo dei Priori, an impressive thirteenth-century Gothic building: today it is the town hall and also houses the National Gallery of Umbria. The rooms of this building are truly magnificent, the Sala dei Notari and the Council Room are filled with frescoes and ancient ornaments, including a work by Pinturicchio.
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Piazza IV Novembre is one of the most famous basilicas, as well as the Church of San Severo, with its unique frescoes that bear the signature of Pinturicchio and Raphael. The largest and most impressive basilica of all of Umbria is set on the hill of Perugia: the Basilica of San Domenico, which also boasts one of the largest Gothic windows built in the fifteenth century.
Cortona was a free Medieval City with an imposing Medici Fortress and the Palazzi of the old town center, whose walls are covered with the coat of arms of the most important Capitani del Popolo. Many churches are located within the old city walls, sometimes hidden in its characteristic small alleys.
The Monastery, dedicated to Santa Margherita, the matron saint of Cortona, is located on the highest part of the city; from here you can enjoy a vista that includes Valdichiana and part of Lake Trasimeno. Walking through the characteristic ancient streets of Cortona, you can feel the art, culture, gastronomy in the air. Numerous art galleries as well as typical trattorias offer the classic dishes of Tuscan cuisine, always paired with the excellent traditional Tuscan wines.
A stopover in wine shops that offer a wide selection of wines from Tuscany and Cortona is a must for wine connoisseurs.
We recommend a visit to the MAEC – Etruscan Academy Museum established in 1727 and which houses archaeological evidence found in the area.
There are a succession of events throughout the year, from the music of Cortona Mix festival, to the Mostra del Mobile Antico (Exhibition of antique furniture), to the Festivals of steak and porcini mushrooms.
The city of pink stone set on the slopes of Mount Subasio is the home of the Umbrian spirituality. The story of its great saints, Francis and Clare combines with the work of the most famous painters of the Middle Ages. You can begin your tour from the highest part of the city, so you can take the easier downhill route.
The Basilica of Saint Clare: Founder of the Poor Clares, St. Clare is buried in the church which also houses the crucifix that spoke to Saint Francis. Piazza del Comune. Austere and elegant public buildings of the Medieval city: the Palazzo dei Priori, Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo and the Torre del Popolo. A remarkable Roman temple known as the Temple of Minerva is set between them.
The Basilica of St. Francis: the Center of Franciscan spirituality and cradle of medieval European art, it was built over the tomb of the Saint of Assisi. The double Papal Basilica founded by Gregory IX, is an architectural masterpiece that embodies the best of Italian Medieval art, from Cimabue to Giotto, from Simone Martini to Pietro Lorenzetti, from Jacopo Torriti to Pietro Cavallini. The frescos of the Old Testament and the Gospels are interspersed with Franciscan scenes depicting the peak of medieval theology at the time of the greatest historical growth of the Franciscan order.
The Cathedral of San Rufino. A splendid Romanesque façade dominates the upper part of Assisi, which preserves the charm of its medieval alleys. San Damiano. An important location in the lives of Francis and Clare, Eremo delle Carceri, an oasis of peace and a symbol of the great spirituality of St. Francis, the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Known throughout the world for its artistic heritage Siena is one of the most beautiful cities of central Italy.
It owes its fame to the renowned Palio and its popular wines that are renowned all over the world such as the Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Piazza del Campo is the heart of the city and the location chosen to host the traditional Palio, a historic event that takes place July 2 and August 16 of each year.
It is a bareback horse race during which the various city districts, that lead an intense associative life throughout the rest of the year, compete for several days.
Montepulciano is known primarily for its imposing Renaissance palaces, the elegant beauty of its churches and for the “Vino Nobile”, a Tuscan wine that is appreciated all over the world.
The city center is arranged along the main street that goes up the hill all the way to the main square, Piazza Grande, located at its summit.
Must-see: the Church of St. Augustine, the majestic Piazza Grande with the Duomo, the town hall, the Palazzo Nobili-Tarugi and the Well of Griffins and the Lions.
The town of Pienza, a rare example of Renaissance urban planning, declared a UNESCO world heritage site on account of the importance of its monuments and its town layout, it can offer concrete solutions to man’s desire of peaceful, industrious and civil coexistence. Located in the center of Val d’Orcia, a beautiful and pristine valley from a scenic point of view, Pienza has always been considered the “ideal city” or “utopian city”.
Must-see: the magnificent Cathedral, located in the main city square; Palazzo Piccolomini (the summer residence of Pope Pius II, who was the main commissioner and artificer of Pienza) the masterpiece of Rossellino; the Diocesan Museum, housed in the Palazzo Borgia (now the bishop’s palazzo), which houses one of the most prestigious collections of wood paintings of the province of Siena (P. Lorenzetti, Vecchietta, L. Signorelli, Fra ‘Bartolomeo etc.); the Town Hall.
Montalcino e la Val d’Orcia
Pour le rendre célèbre le Brunello, l’un des meilleurs vins rouges du monde. Mais Montalcino est aussi une magnifique ville d’art, qui domine du haut de sa colline les 3000 hectares de vignobles (1500 h dont à Brunello) qui ont donné la gloire et la richesse.
À cheval entre les bassins de l’Ombrone et de l’Orcia, le centre est surveillé par la Forteresse construite en 1361 pour sceller l’entrée de Montalcino dans les possessions de Sienne. Avec la Forteresse, Montalcino symbolise la tour étroite de l’Hôtel de Ville, érigée entre le Deux et le Trois Cent. À ses pieds il y a la Piazza del Popolo et la Loge gothique.
Dans le centre historique il faut faire une visite aussi aux églises de Sant ‘Agostino et de Sant ’Egidio (XIV siècle) et le Musée Civique et Diocésain qui conserve des peintures et des sculptures du 300 au 900 et des terre cuites rouges.
Des rues tortueuses entre les vignobles portent à Torrenieri, Sant ’Angelo in Colle et Poggio alle Mura. À partir de Castelnuovo dell’Abate on rejoint l’abbaye de Sant’Antimo, l’un des chef-d ’œuvres du romanesque en Italie.
Authentiques trésors de la nature et des paysages, la Val d’Orcia accueille certains centres historiques plus intéressants de Sienne et de l’entière Toscane. À partir des rues, aux places, aux églises, le regard ouvre vers le grand horizon des collines.
Des châteaux, des villages, des tours et des monastères isolés complètent l’image d’une fascinante. Même l’art du Val d’Orcia, comme ses parfums et ses saveurs, l’économie et le développement, est fortement liée aux activités agricoles. C’est un exemple significatif le Théâtre Povero di Monticchiello.
Gubbio was important Umbrian town (which was mentioned in the records of the Tables of Gubbio, or Iguvine tables). Allied with the Romans since the early 3rd century. B.C., at the end of the social war they declared it a municipality (Iguvium; later Eugubium). Destroyed by Totila (552) during the war greek-Byzantine war, in the Middle Ages it became a densely populated and flourishing municipality; despite the internal struggles and its participation in the wars between the Papacy and the Empire, it extended its jurisdiction over a vast territory.
In the 13th century the Guelph faction prevailed and the City’s importance was confirmed by the fact that the mayors and capitani del popolo in many Guelph cities of Tuscany and Umbria where from Gubbio. The city was the signory of Giovanni Gabrielli, when Albornoz conquered it for the Church, around 1360; it rebelled against papal authority in 1376, for three years it was a free city. In 1384 it became, of its own accord, a signory of Montefeltro: since then its history blends with that of the Duchy of Urbino where it enjoyed special privileges.
Rich in Roman archaeological finds, Gubbio preserves its medieval layout: Palazzo dei Consoli (1332-37, Angelo da Orvieto and Gattapone), now home to the City Museum and the Municipal Art Gallery; the Pretorio and Bargello palazzi (13th c.). Among the churches, St. Peter (13th c.); the cathedral (13th century; façade dating to the 16th century, with sculptures from the 13th century); St. Francis (1259, rebuilt in the 17th century.); St. Dominic (the old St. Martin’s, 1287); St. Augustine (13th cent.). The palazzo of Montefeltro (or Ducale, 1480) may have been built according to designs by Francesco di Giorgio Martini. A G. flourished in the 15th century, the art of maiolica, with Giorgio da Gubbio.
One of the many traditional events worth mentioning is the characteristic ‘Corsa dei Ceri’, which takes place each year on 15 May, the eve of the feast of St. Ubaldo, the city’s patron saint.
Cascata delle Marmore
The Cascata della Marmore (Marmore Falls), whose beauty has been extolled throughout the centuries, appears as a roaring column of water divided into three sections.
Enshrouding the flora in a cloud of white foam, it covers a vertical drop of 165 meters.
The visitor is regaled with a scenario that is the result of over two thousand years of work by man who has, since Roman times, attempted to channel the waters of the river Velino to make them fall into the Nera river below.
Grotte di Frasassi
The Grotte di Frasassi (Frasassi caves), discovered in 1971 by a group of CAI speleologists, are underground caves located in the municipality of Genga, in the province of Ancona. The cave complex is set within the Regional Natural Park of Gola della Rossa and Frasassi.
The complex is formed by a series of caves, the Ancona Abyss is the first and may visited through the current entrance: it measures 180 m x 120 m and has a height of 200 m; is it so large (more than 2 million sqm) that the Duomo of Milan could easily fit within it. Since 1972 it is protected by the Frasassi Consortium, consisting of the town of Gengae of the Province of Ancona, whose objective is to safeguard and enhance its scientific and touristic attractiveness.
Since September 1974, part of the caves are open to the public, in time becoming one of the major tourist attractions of the Marches; it is estimated that since then more than 12 million people have visited them.