Information about The Centre of Umbria

Information about Umbria pages - central UmbriaThe Central Umbria page contains information about the towns:
Perugia (in a pdf file), Torgiano, Bastia Umbra, Bettona, Cannara, Collazzone, Giano nell'Umbria, Bevagna, Montefalco, Castel Ritaldi and Massa Martana.

Go back to the general page for sightseeing in Umbria.

The information about Perugia is in a pdf file.

Visit our Villa in Umbria blog for more information about things to do at the Centre of Umbria:
Foligno Pasta event I primi d'Italia
Mercato delle Gaite

TORGIANO

Torgiano in Umbria

Located 9.5 km from Deruta (via roads SS3Bis, SP318 and SP403), the town of Torgiano was a medieval stronghold traditionally known for its wines; in fact, the municipal coat-of-arms shows a tower encircled by a scroll with bunches of grapes.

What to see

Church of S. Bartolomeo (13th-14th c.), with fine 16th- and 17th-century paintings. Wine Museum, established by Giorgio and Maria Grazia Lungarotti in 1974, situated in the Baroque-era Palazzo Graziani-Baglioni. The museum houses a large and fine collection of ancient and modern objects, manuscripts, printed texts and engravings that recount the millenary history of vineyards and wine-making.
Olive Oil Museum. Also created by the Lungarottis, the museum recounts the long history of olive oil, already known at the time of the Etruscans, with documents, etchings, antique oil storage receptacles, and other historical objects.

What to taste

Honey, olive oil, schiacciata (flatbread) with olive oil and onions, cheese pie, rice fritters, maccheroni dolci (eggless tagliatelle) with walnuts and honey, and naturally the wines, in particular Torgiano Rosso Riserva DOCG.

Events

Appuntamento con i “Vinarelli”, in August, an original art event where the painters dilute their paints with wine instead of water.In November, the wine-tasting event BAVI (Banco d’Assaggio dei Vini d’Italia).


BASTIA UMBRA

Bastia Umbra in Umbria

Bastia Umbra was an important medieval stronghold.

What to see

Porta Sant’Angelo, an important medieval relic.
Church of S. Croce dating to 1295, housing a triptych by Niccolò Alunno (1499).
Church of S. Paolo (11th c.) in Romanesque style, part of a Benedictine monastery where St. Clare of Assisi was sheltered in 1212 to escape from family members who wanted to prevent her from joining the Franciscan movement.
Church of S. Rocco, built in the 17th century in commemoration of the escape from the plague.

What to taste

Porchetta (spit-roasted suckling pig), for which Bastia Umbra is considered to be the birthplace. A special dish is porchetta with fennel.

Events

National Antique Show, held in the spring, one of the most eagerly awaited events of antique art that gathers antique collectors and enthusiasts from all over Italy.


BETTONA

Bettona in Central Umbria

Bettona is located about 10 km from S. Maria degli Angeli (SP 404). The only Etruscan settlement east of the Tiber in Umbria, it is encircled by the walls of the 8th-7th c. B.C. and has medieval vestiges.

What to see

Palazzo del Podestà (1371), site of the Pinacoteca Comunale with works by Perugino, Dono Doni, a fresco by Fiorenzo di Lorenzo, and a statue of S. Antonio by Luca della Robbia.
Church of S. Crispolto (13th c.), which houses the relics of the patron saint.
Oratory of S. Andrea (12th c.), with a fresco of the Giotto school, The Passion of Christ (1394).

What to taste

Bruschetta with goose livers, tagliatelle with goose sauce, mixed roast meats, Umbrian porchetta (spit-roasted suckling pig) and, naturally, roast goose, to which an annual festival is dedicated. All accompanied by the local wines: Grechetto, Trebbiano, and Sangiovese.

Events

Feast of the Patron Saint S. Crispolto, 12th May.
Roast Goose Festival, July-August.
Tasting of local specialties, some rare, made with goose.


CANNARA

Cannara in the centre of Umbria

Cannara is just 9.5 km from Bettona (SS 75, then SP 410). Founded in the Roman era, the town is situated on the left bank of the Topino river. An impressive cylindrical tower remains of the old enclosure walls, erected in 13th-14th c.

What to see

Town Hall, where numerous Roman ar chaeological finds are exhibited.
Church of S.Matteo, built in the 14th c. and reconstructed in 1786, where you can admire the triptych Madonna con i Ss. Francesco e Matteo by Niccolò di Liberatore, known as Niccolò Alunno.
Church of the Buona Morte, which holds effigies of the Madonna di Loreto.
Church of S. Sebastiano, with numerous frescoes from various epochs removed from the walls of churches and mona steries of the zone.
Church of S. Giovanni Battista, with an important painting by Niccolò Alunno, Madonna con i Ss. Battista e Sebastiano, 1492.

What to taste

Cannara onions, a typical product of this area, now recognised as a Slow Food “Presidio”. Not to miss: the local soup and cipollata (a traditional rural antipa sto made of onions, egg, and tomato). Delicious maccheroni dolci (eggless tagliatelle with bread crumbs, walnuts, nutmeg, anise liqueur and alkermes cordial) and rocciata (puff pastry covered with fresh and dried fruit, rolled and baked). Recommended wine: Vernaccia di Cannara.

EVENTS

Festival of the Cannara Onion, a series of events and performances, the occasion for tasting the much-prized onion in various dishes.
Processione della Rinchinata, a cere mony on Easter Sunday evoking Christ’s meeting with the Madonna.


COLLAZZONE

Collazzone in Umbria

Collazzone is a tiny town perched at 500 metres above sea level, it still retains the characteristics of Lombard military architecture with its medieval walls, ramparts, buttresses, and towers, and its narrow streets.

What to see

Monastery of San Lorenzo, where Jacopone da Todi, the Franciscan poet excommunicated by Pope Boniface VIII, took refuge and died on Christmas night of 1306.
Church of Sant'Angelo, incorporated in the Clarisse Convent of the same name.

What to taste

Olive oil and sunflower oil. Asparagus and mushrooms. Roast and grilled meats. Various types of egg pasta dressed with sauces of entrails. The local wines, strong and full-bodied, are ideal for accompanying this rustic cuisine.


GIANO DELL'UMBRIA

Giano dell'Umbria

Located approximately 70 km from Perugia in the direction of Todi, Giano dell'Umbria sits on a hilltop amidst expanses of olive groves. An ancient Roman settlement and a castle contested between Todi and Spoleto in the Middle Ages, this lovely town - from its altitude of 546 metres - offers a spectacular view over the Clitunno river valley and Monte Martano.

What to see

The castle, though quite small, has a complex structure based on the union of two fortified elements grafted onto which are the Palazzo Pubblico and the 13th-century parish church of S. Michele. Just outside Giano is the abbey of S. Felice (12th c.), a masterpiece of Romanesque art. The church is a typical example of Umbrian Romanesque architecture with Lombard influences and shows affinities with numerous churches of the same period in the Spoleto area. In the surrounding countryside, worthy of visiting are a number of oil pressing facilities, some centuries-old, witness to the economic importance of olive oil production.

What to taste

The superior quality olive oil with its centuries-old tradition. In the vicinity of Giano is the abbey of S. Felice where the monks in the 12th century selected a particular quality of olive that since then has gone by the name San Felice, characterised by a sweeter taste than the more robust moraiolo olive.

Events

Le Vie dell'Olio, in December, the olive oil festival that features an extraordinary itinerary for discovering the local gastronomic specialties.
Festa della Frasca, in December. The festival owes its name to the olive branch, in Umbrian dialect called "la frasca", on which gifts were hung on the occasion of the "buonfinita", the end of the harvest.


BEVAGNA

Bevagna in Umbria

Just 14 km from Spello (following the SS75, SR 316 and SS 316) lies Bevagna, the ancient “Mevania” situated on the Roman consular road Via Flaminia and encircled by medieval walls. In numerous niches of this lovely town, between narrow lanes and small squares, you can still find artisan-made products. Traditional techniques are used for working cord, iron, and paper.

What to see

Museo Civico, with important archaeological finds and a rich collection of historical and artistic items. Palazzo dei Consoli, built around the year 1200. Houses the 19th-century Francesco Torti Theatre, finished with elegant decorations. Church of S. Francesco, built in the late 1200s at the highest point of the town. Church of S.Silvestro, 13th c. Church of S.Michele Arcangelo, 12th-13th c. Roman bathhouse, an interesting vestige of everyday life in Roman times with mosaics from the 2nd c. B.C.

What to taste

Cheeses, cured meats, local first course dishes. Legumes (barley, chickling peas). Olive oil and prized red and white wines.

Events

Mercato delle Gaite, late June, a historical representation of everyday life in the Middle Ages. The people of the four town quarters, or “Gaite”, compete in setting up artisan workshops, taverns, and markets typical of the epoch and in the organisation of theatrical performances, concerts, exhibits, conferences, and archery competitions.


MONTEFALCO

Montefalco

From Perugia 52 km (SS 75, then SP 44).

A very important crossroads of the wine-making zone, with a wealth of art treasures, Montefalco also boasts the designation “Balcony of Umbria”. From its vantage point, in fact, you can enjoy a unique panorama of the region ranging from Perugia, Assisi, Foligno, Trevi and Spoleto to the Apennine crests, Monte Subasio, and Monti Martani.

What to see

Museo Pinacoteca di S. Francesco. Built in the mid-1300s and site of the Museo Civico since 1895, it houses pictorial works from the 13th to the 17th centuries, including depictions of the life of St. Francis by Benozzo Gozzoli, a Nativity by Perugino, and works by Niccolò Alunno and other illustrious painters. Former Church of S. Filippo Neri (18th c.), now a theatre. Church of Sant’Agostino, with works by Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Bartolomeo Caporali. Church of Sant’Illuminata (16th c.), with frescoes by Francesco Melanzio.

What to taste

A very special pecorino cheese, the so-called ‘‘mbriaco” obtained by immersing wheels of aged pecorino in barrels of red wine for two months. Absolutely not to miss: the local wines, including Sagrantino di Montefalco, renowned among Italian wines and internationally, and the excellent Rosso di Montefalco.

Events

Agosto Montefalchese, with crossbow and flag-throwing contests, music, performances, and food and wine tasting in the atmospheric spaces of the historic district.
Settimana Enologica, held in September with an important trade show featuring the wines of Montefalco and Umbria in general.
Terre del Sagrantino, during the Easter season, a fair featuring the typical products and artisan traditions of the Strada del Sagrantino.


CASTEL RITALDI

Castel Ritaldi in Umbria

From Giano, about 13 km in the direction of Spoleto (SP 240), you reach Castel Ritaldi, a town of Roman origin that conserves the structure of a medieval village and castle.

What to see

The castle (13th c.) and the medieval centre of the village. Parish church of S. Marina, with a Madonna col Mantello by Lattanzio di Niccolò (1512), a collaborator of Niccolò Alunno, and a fresco by Tiberio d’Assisi (1512). Church of S. Nicolò, with a portal of 1486 and inside a fresco of the Spagna school. Just outside the town is the parish church of S. Gregorio (1141), a Romanesque edifice with unusual bas-relief decorations on the façade and on the portal, with garlands of plant motifs intertwined with figures of monsters, not comparable to other Umbrian works.

What to taste

Bruschetta, the typical poor food of Umbria, enhanced in this zone by the prized quality of the local olive oil. In November you can taste bruschetta with the “olio novello”, new oil.

Events

Feast of the Patron Saint, in the second half of June, with the commemoration of the miracle of the Madonna della Bruna, described in a chronicle of 1715.
Sfida di Albornoz, in the last week of June. A historical re-enactment of the Albornoziano period, with a parade in period costume with horses, knights and ladies.
Palio del Fantasma, in the last week of July. A medieval event in costume featuring contests between the five “frazioni” of the Municipality.
La Giostra dei Cavalieri, which evokes an ancient tournament devised by Count Ritaldi in August 1499 to honour the hospitality of Lucrezia Borgia. The strongest knight, the knight-errant, will become the colour-bearer of Madonna Lucrezia Borgia.
Frantotipico, in the last week of November, a fair featuring the local olive oil and typical food and agricultural products.


MASSA MARTANA

Massa Martana

Massa Martana is situated at the foot of the Monti Martani, one of the major attractions of the area. The territory has a wealth of testimonies of the Roman and paleochristian epochs and is characterised by the presence of ancient churches that constitute a rich and interesting architectural heritage.

What to see

Ponte Fonnaia, an imposing bridge built by the Romans around the year 1000. Christian Catacombs, the only one of its type discovered in Umbria (3rd-4th c.). Church of Santa Maria in Pantano (7th-8th c.), one of the oldest and most interesting in Umbria. Abbey of San Faustino (11th c.), built on the ruins of a Roman villa and dedicated to the saint who was the disciple and companion of San Felice, Bishop of the Civitas Martana. Abbey of Saints Fidenzio and Terenzio (9th-10th c.), founded by a community of Benedictine monks. The façade in red and white rows of squared stone has a single portal with round arch.

Events

Giornate Massetane, the first ten days of August, with a succession of theatrical and musical events, photography and art exhibits.
Presepi d'Italia, December-January, the National Crèche Exhibition with more than one hundred artistic crèches from every region of Italy made with all types of materials.

What to taste

Nociata: the typical Christmas sweet made with walnuts, honey, egg whites, orange peel and then wrapped in bay leaves; extra-virgin olive oil, excellent for bruschetta or to accompany a sumptuous meat dish cooked on the spit, roasted, or poached.


GUALDO CATTANEO

Gualdo Cattaneo

The small village of Gualdo Cattaneo is an ancient stronghold perched on a hilltop at 447 metres and enclosed by medieval walls.

What to see

Parish church of S. Andrea (13th c.). Following its complete renovation in 1804, the church conserves the crypt and a number of sculptures on the façade in the original Romanesque style. Inside, a painting of the Last Supper by Ascensidonio Spacca.
Church of S. Agostino, from 1136, with frescoes of the Foligno school.

What to taste

Gnocchi with goose sauce, porcona, lamb Sagrantino, rocciata (a fruit and nut roll), cheese pizza. Olive oil, legumes, and tozzetti (almond biscuits) with Sagrantino.

Events

Agosto Settembre gauldese. Food and wine stands, music, performances, including an impressive re-enactment of the attacks on the Castle of Gualdo Cattaneo in the 15th-16th centuries.