Affectionately known as the "Green Heart of Italy", the region of Umbria straddles the Apennine Mountains in the centre of the country, hemmed in by Tuscany, Marche and Lazio. Landlocked on all sides by a combination of hills, mountains, valleys and plains, Umbria's topographical enclosures have ensured the preservation of its traditions that are among the oldest in Italy. The region is named after the Umbrii tribe who dominated the area from around 1,000 BC before the Etruscans or the Romans.
- Umrbia is Perugia
The terrain is largely dominated by rolling hills, many of which are topped by medieval towns that are full of intrigue. Umbria's capital Perugia is the largest expression of a successful hill town where dark, steep alleyways give way to expansive piazzas and glorious medieval architecture. Perugia dates back to the ancient Etruscans yet paradoxically retains an air of youth as it's the home to some 35,000 students who attend its university, a large chunk of its overall population of 170,000.
- Umbria is Castelluccio di Norcia
Umbria is bordered to its east by the region of Marche, with which it shares one of Italy's national parks: Monti Sibillini. A drive or a hike through the park offers spectacular scenery, but none more so than at Castelluccio di Norcia. Although the town itself is tiny and recovering from a recent earthquake, at certain times of the year it becomes one of the most popular destinations in Italy as the plains that surround it take on an incredible multi-coloured spectacle. Among the flowers that combine to form this semi-natural phenomenon are lentils and poppies, carpeting the plains in an array of colours.
- Umrbia is Natural Beauty
The north east corner of Umbria is home to another sight of natural beauty. The expansive Lake Trasimeno is the largest lake in central Italy and with its ferry system open during the summers, you can access its lake islands: Isola Maggiore and Isola Polvese. The lake is also fringed by the beautiful lakeside towns of Passignano sul Trasimeno and Castiglione del Lago. On Umbria's southern border with Lazio, the smaller Lake Piediluco offers a more intimate contrast to its northern counterpart.