Umbria is very aptly described as the gentle soul of Italy. Aside from the beautiful ancient cities, picturesque hilltop villages, exquisite frescoes, and as well as producing more than 40% of the nations pasta, the best olive oil in the country and black truffles that are sought after all over the world, Umbria is above all home to wonderfully down-to-earth and friendly people.
The Umbrians are isolated from everyday life by encircling mountains and inhabit a timeless world of natural beauty, historic sunsets and a gastronomic paradise that consists entirely of fresh local produce. Specialities such as risotto with grated truffles, mazzafegati (chopped liver) or Castellucio lentils are followed by rare ewes milk cheeses and tasty pinoccate cakes, and enjoyed with a delicious Colli del Trasimeno white wine or the unique Sagrantino red.
Umbria is still an adventure into the undiscovered, a medieval backwater that is remembered for its stillness, unbroken on a walking or cycling tour of the Umbrian countryside. There is, of course, bustle too. Perugia has one of Italys finest art collections, Gubbio is a complete memorial to the medieval period and Assisi is famous for St Francis. But every little town and village has its own unique charm or hidden treasure. A magnificent fresco by Gozzoli in Montefalco, delightful Majolica ceramics in Deruta or the immaculate Etruscan walls in Bettona. And the ancient skills of lace-making, linen weaving and wood-carving, as well as a host of local antiques, make for absorbing wanderings through even the remotest hilltop community.