Week 4… our trip to Umbria!!
Known as Italy’s green heart, the region of Umbria is full of medieval hill towns, dense forests, & delicious local cuisine. The best food and wine I’d had yet!! It is geographically unique from all other regions because it’s the only region that borders neither the sea nor another country. Umbria provides 45% of Italy’s supply and 20% of the international supply of black truffles. Black Truffles are the most expensive edible truffles in the world. The region is also known for their white wine and olive oil. There is an abundance of olive trees in the region.
Our first day began in Assisi. The little hill town of Assisi is one of the most visited sites of Umbria. It is most famous for it’s hometown boy, St. Francis, patron saint of Italy. Assisi’s medieval art masterpieces, such as the Basilica of St. Francis and frescos by Cimabue, Lorenzetti, Martini, and Giotto, have made Assisi a fundamental reference point for the development of Italian and European art and architecture. The Basilica of St. Francis was my favorite thing we visited. The frescos and the overall interior aesthetic of the basilica was vividly colorful. Lots of vibrant colors, religious art, and flat architecture make the basilica a great example of the medieval period.
A fresco is a painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling so that the colors penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries.
It was a beautiful day in Assisi! We left Assisi that afternoon and went to Perugia. We had the evening to do as we pleased in the quaint university town of Perugia.
**side note: You may of heard of Perugia from the Amanda Knox trial. We all watched the documentary on her story before we went because Spencer and Emma were obsessed with the mystery of the trial. During our free time they wanted to find the house where her roommate was murdered, but they didn’t end up doing it thank goodness.
Our day in Perugia was filled with touring artisans studios. We went to Anna Fornari’s goldsmith studio first. It was very unique jewelry. Next we went to Brozzetti hand-weaving studio. It was amazing! So cool to see the ancient looms and they demonstrated for us how they worked. The designs were beautiful. After lunch, we went to Studio Moretti Caselli stained glass studio. I love stained glass so to see a studio was very cool. It reminded me of The Last Song when the son and the dad remake the stained glass window for the church. It was incredible to see all the pieces of glass stained then put together perfectly.
We departed Perugia and headed for Orvieto. Orvieto was my favorite of the three towns we visited in Umbria. Its hard to have a favorite when all three were so amazing, but Orvieto stood out to me. We went to a pottery and woodworking studio here. The pottery was amazing! The Orvieto Duomo exterior was very ornate and gothic. It had rose windows, crockets, pointed arches, and vivid colors. I really enjoyed this duomo. From the outside, it reminded me of a storybook pop up because it was so flat. The interior is black and white striped created by basalt and travertine. The catherdral’s chapel is famous for the fresco cycle with stories of the last days. When we were walking through the streets of Orvieto, there was an elementary school having a music parade for Carnival. It was adorable and the confetti everywhere was very festive.
We finished our tour of Umbria by visiting the Civita di Bagnoregio, the “dying city”. It is over 2,500 years old. In 1695 an earthquake made the town collapse and only a portion of the city remains. It is in constant danger of destruction due to the erosion that is slowly killing the city. I loved that we got to visit this city on a hill. We had to walk a long bridge to even get to it. It was a total ghost town in the city but we had fun exploring and seeing the views.