Information about The West of Umbria

Information about Umbria pages - the Western part

The Western Umbria page contains information about the towns: Orvieto (pdf file), Todi (pdf file), Marsciano, Montecastello di Vibio, Fratta Todina, San Venanzo, Monte Gabbione, Monteleone d'Orvieto, Ficulle, Porrano, Fabro, Allerona, Castel Viscardo, Porano, Castel Giorgio, Citta della Pieve.

Go back to the general page for sightseeing in Umbria.

There are two pdf files with information about Orvieto and about Todi.

Visit our Villa in Umbria blog for more information about things to do at the West of Umbria: 

A good restaurant in Orvieto Umbria

MARSCIANO

Marsciano

Approximately 30 km from Perugia (SS 317), Marsicano is one of the most productive towns of the Tiber valley. The roof tiles and bricks of much of Umbria are produced in this zone. The small city was founded around the year 1000 and for centuries was linked with the events of Perugia and the Papal State, of which it has ancient vestiges.

What to see

The historic district which is undergoing a complete restoration. Torre Bolli and Torre Boccali, two of the seven towers that constituted the ancient walls. Parish church (12th c.), completely renovated in 1896, with numerous frescoes. Abbey of San Sigismondo, from 1010, ancient property of the Knights of Malta. Museo Dinamico del Laterizio e delle Terrecotte, a museum dedicated to brick-making and terracotta which offers an interesting exhibition route on the territory, with visits to the ancient kilns. The museum documentation is held in Palazzo Pietromarchi, a 14th-century building situated in the centre of town. Luigi Salvatorelli Public Library, housed in an old palace of the historic district. Palazzo Battaglia, built between the late 17th and early 19th centuries, decorated both inside and outside by Gerardo Dottori in 1925. Church of the Madonna delle Grazie, 15th c., with a Madonna della Misericordia from 1479.

What to taste

Cured meats, torta di Pasqua (a cheese pie), torta al testo (a kind of focaccia) with ciccioli or with prosciutto and sausages, schiacciata, panzanella. Pasta and legumes. Tagliatelle, strangozzi, pappardelle or gnocchi with sauces of goose, game, or mushrooms. Barbecued pork livers and sausages, spezzatino di coniglio all'arrabbiata (rabbit in a spicy sauce), peperonata scafata with fresh fava beans. Local sweets including torcolo with candied fruit and sultanas, cialde, struffoli, rice fritters, pinocchiata, amaretti, torciglione, roccia (rolled pastry filled with cream, chocolate, and alchermes cordial). White, red, and rosé wines of the Colli Marscianesi.

Events

Fiera verde, in April, a horticulture and garden show in the streets of the town.
Giugno marscianese, performances and cultural and religious events to celebrate San Giovanni Battista, the patron saint of the town (24th June).
Musica per i Borghi, June-July. Musical festival with participants including important names on the musical scene in Italy and abroad.
Manu-facti, November, show of terracotta products in the streets of the historic district.


MONTE CASTELLO DI VIBIO

Monte Castello di Vibio   Smallest theatre of Monte Castello di Vibio

Monte Castello di Vibio is a town with late medieval characteristics nestled in the greenery of the Tiber River Park.

What to see

The medieval and Renaissance palazzi of the town and the Teatro della Concordia (1808), considered to be one of the smallest theatres in the world, made of wood in Goldoni style, with just 99 seats between stalls and boxes. Chapel of the Madonna delle Carceri, situated just outside the town walls, reopened for worship in 1971 following complete restoration.

Events

Theatre and musical season at the Teatro della Concordia.
Festival of the Madonna delle Carceri, between the end of June and the beginning of July.

What to taste

Chestnut and chick pea soup, potatoes with pork rind, handmade pasta with rabbit sauce.


FRATTA TODINA

Fratta Todina

About 5 km from Monte Castello di Vibio, on a hill at the confluence of the Faena stream with the Tiber, lies Fratta Todina, probably in the territory where a village existed that Pliny, in his Naturalis Historia, called Tudernum.

What to see

Palazzo Altieri, situated within the ancient castrum inside the town walls, has an important and rich gallery of frescoes from the Roman school depicting scenes from the Bible. Monastery of Santa Maria della Spineta, just a few kilometres from the town, is one of the oldest Franciscan monasteries.

What to taste

Torta al testo (a kind of focaccia) with prosciutto and sausages.

Events

Fair of San Michele Arcangelo, May; open taverns, exhibits, guided tours, tasting of typical products, historical procession.


SAN VENANZO

San Venanzo in Umbria

On the slopes of Monte Peglia lies a territory largely covered with woods. The first settlements date back to the Palaeolithic period, and the Etruscans also left substantial traces of their presence. The town rises on land that in ancient times was occupied by volcanoes, and is now a volcanological park, interesting for the presence of a unique mineral known as venanzite.

What to see

Volcanological park and Centro Museale di Vulcanologia. Parco naturalistico dell'Elmo, Parco dei Sette Frati, and the Environmental Documentation Centre of Monte Peglia. The villages of Civitella dei Conti, Ripalvella, and Rotecastello.

What to taste

Charcuterie and woodland products, chestnuts, game, olive oil, umbricelli pasta, saffron of Monte Peglia.

Events

Guided nature hikes, from April to September.
Umbricelli Festival, in May and June, in the hamlet of Poggio Aquilone.
"Volcano Sundays" and Umbrian Parks and Flavours, in July and August.
Chestnut Festival, end of October in Ospedaletto.


MONTEGABBIONE

montegabbione

Perched on a high hill in a strategic position overlooking the main communication routes. Etruscan and Roman vestiges have been found in the surrounding area.

What to see

Church of the Madonna delle Grazie. Torre di Montegabbione. Castle of Montegiove and Castel di Fiori. Monastery of the Scarzuola and Città Buzziana. The monastery was founded by St. Francis of Assisi, who is said to have brought forth a spring here that still exists today. Next to the monastery, 20th century Milan-ese architect Tommaso Buzzi designed and built his "ideal city", composed of a series of seven theatres with artificial and natural set elements, surrounded by gardens divided into "rooms" with different colours.

What to taste

Charcuterie, prized beef and pork, olive oil and wine.

Events

Pig Festival, January.
Exhibition of Life-size Crèches, in December, in the streets of the town.
Antiques and Crafts Fair, mid-August.
Chocolate Festival, October.


MONTELEONE D'ORVIETO

Monteleone di Orvieto

A medieval town perched on one of the hills that separate the territories of Orvieto and Città della Pieve. The town is characterised by the extensive use of brickwork.

What to see

Medieval town, Church of S.S. Apostoli, Church of SS. Crocifisso. Teatro dei Rustici, built in 1732 and recently renovated.

What to taste

Not to miss: the pears of Monteleone, cooked in wine. Prized olive oil, wine, honey. Charcuterie, potato gnocchi with goose and liver sauce.

Events

Gnocchi Festival, June.
La Rimpatriata, in August (Historical procession and Palio del Giglio).
Honey Festival, October.
Live Crèche, in December.


FICULLE

Ficulle castle

Situated atop a ridge immersed in the vegetation of the STINA Park (which comprises three nature reserves). Enclosed by a wall with two towers in stone from the 13th century, the town is a maze of tiny lanes and lovely small squares.

What to see

Medieval complex of Castelmaggiore, the nucleus of the old castle. Parish church of Santa Maria Vecchia (1200). Church of Santa Maria Nuova (early 17th c.). Just 5 km from Ficulle, the Castle of Sala (12th c.), preserved in excellent condition, where wines of international prestige are produced.

What to taste

Crostini with liver, fettuccine with goose sauce, arrabbioni (mixed roast game), mutton, walnut cake, and DOC wines, including IGT Orvieto.

Events

Via Crucis (procession in the costumes of the Confraternities).
Spring Festival and Cantamaggio (propitiatory songs on the evening of 30th April).
Feast of the Patron Saint S. Eumenio, with opening of the taverns, in September.
Chestnut Festival, in November.


PARRANO

Parrano in West Umbria

Historic district with 11th-century castle. The town is known for its sulphur-magnesium springs.

What to see

Fortified town and medieval castle. Territorial Documentation Centre. Forra di Parrano and Tane del Diavolo (caving and canyoning sites).

What to taste

Rigatoni with goose sauce, spiced roast goose, beef and pork dishes, truffles, olive oil.

Events

Good Friday Procession.
Il Castello del dolce, in November.
Live Crèche, in December.


FABRO

Fabro

A small town situated on a hilltop in a strategic position.

What to see

The castle (11th c.). Church of San Martino (19th c.) with a fine wooden bas-relief of 1930. Palazzo Comunale. Castle of Carnaiola, in the nearby village of the same name, a medieval manner fortified in the 16th-17th centuries.

What to taste

White truffles. The traditional torta con friccioli (a sort of focaccia with bits of pork). Excellent vegetables, wines, and olive oil.

Events

Cantamaggio, 30th April.
National Fair of Truffles and Quality Food Products, second weekend in November
Sagra della torta sotto il fuoco con salsicce, castagne e vino, for the Feast of S. Martino, second weekend in November.
Festa dell'uva and pan col mosto, October, in Carnaiola.


ALLERONA

Allerona

Located about 80 km from Perugia (SS 220, SS 71 in the direction of Orvieto, SP 49). A small town of Roman origin situated on a hill overlooking the STINA Park, a territorial system of naturalistic and environmental interest that comprises the protected areas of Selva di Meana-Allerona, Bosco della Melonta, and S.Venanzo.

What to see

Castle of Allerona (12th c.), with remains of the ancient feudal walls. Church of Santa Maria della Stella (12th c.), renovated at the end of the last century, with paintings by Sienese artist A. Viligiardi (1896). Church of the Madonna dell'Acqua, attributed to Sangallo. Villa Cahen, a unique example of Art Nouveau architecture in Umbria with Italian garden, situated within the State-owned Selva di Meana reserve. Villalba, a public recreational park of over 20 hectares.

What to taste

Simple and genuine dishes tied to the rural traditions. Typical dishes include umbrichelli, pici, and cardelle with wild boar sauce. Excellent Orvieto DOC wines, olive oil, pecorino cheese, porchetta (spit-roast suckling pig), and white truffles.

Events

Organised nature hikes, from March to September.
Feast of S. Isidoro, third Sunday in May (historical procession in 19th-century costume and 'Pugnaloni', small decorated floats that represent scenes of country life, which can also be viewed in a permanent exhibit).


CASTEL VISCARDO

Castelviscardo castle Umbria

A town of Etruscan origin on the SP 49 just 8 km from Allerona. The town developed around a castle with moat, drawbridge, and imposing perimeter wall. Known for its position within the STINA Park and for its copious production of bricks, dating back to the 16th century, as attested by the remains of kilns that produced raw material for the restoration of important monuments such as the Coliseum and Piazza del Campo in Siena. In the vicinity, the picturesque villages of Monterubiaglio and Viceno, which grew up around the castles of the same names. The zone is characterised by sulphur springs, known since the times of the Roman Empire.

What to see

Medieval castle of the Dukes of Montevecchio, a fortress of the Monaldeschi family up to the 16th century and then feudal estate of the Spada family. Necropolis of Caldane (6th c. B.C.), with some thirty tombs visible. Multimedia terracotta museum.

What to taste

Panettuzzi di S. Antonio. Polenta with pork sauce. Buione (lamb, chicken, and pork pan-fried with garlic, rosemary, and chilli peppers). Sweets include galletto and palomba (biscuits with animal shapes), fave dei morti (biscuits made for the Day of the Dead). Also tortucce (fritters made with flour, water, yeast, and beer), white truffles, and in Viceno prized olive oil. The area has a historical vocation for the production of the DOC wines Orvieto and Rosso Orvietano.

Events

Festa del Solleone, in July, the traditional festival of bread bakers.
Agosto Castellese, games and events during the month of August, including the Cannelletta Festival in honour of the prized local wine, and the prestigious Calici di Stelle on 10th August, with a journalism prize, guided tasting of local wines and other fine wines.
Re-enactment of the distribution of the Fave dei Morti, on 1st November.
In Monterubiaglio, "La Vecchierella", the Tuesday of Carnival, "Alla ricerca del piatto perduto", first weekend in August, and "Festa del Bigonzone", first weekend in November, celebrating the end of the grape harvest.


PORANO

Porano castle in Umbria

The town of Porano rises on a hill at the slopes of the Volsini mountain range, from which it enjoys a splendid panorama of Orvieto. On the border between Umbria and Latium, the town can be appreciated for both the beauty of the natural landscape and the important Etruscan remains. The historic district retains the typical appearance of a medieval town, with enclosure wall and towers. Nearby are the impressive fortification of Castel Ribello and Villa Paolina, which houses the research laboratories of the Institute of Agricultural, Environmental, and Forestry Biology of the CNR (National Research Council).

What to see

The Golini Etruscan tombs, displayed at the National Archaeological Museum in Orvieto, and the Hescana tomb, still on site, are the only frescoed tombs in the territory (4th-3rd c. B.C.). Villa Paolina (1600), surrounded by a splendid historical park, and Castel Rubello (1200), with towers and castle. Church of S. Biagio (1300-1400).

What to taste

Olive oil and wines. First course dishes with goose sauce and chicken giblets, chick pea and bean soup. Game (hare and boar), meats from the local farms.

Events

National Horse Show, in May, held at Villa Paolina; Porano has traditionally been tied to the world of horses and horse trading.
International Dog Show, in June.


CASTEL GIORGIO

Castel Giorgio

Located 7 km from Castel Viscardo (SP 45). The town was founded by Bishop Giorgio della Rovere in 1477, but the history of the territory dates back to the Etruscan period, attested by finds of various necropolises still undergoing excavation and study. Castel Giorgio is situated within the STINA Park on the Alfina plateau that overlooks Lake Bolsena, near the Umbrian borders with Latium and Tuscany.

What to see

Castle of Montalfina, (12th c.), with exhibits of weapons, old coins, objects and archaeological finds.

What to taste

Pumpkin fritters, lombrichelli, gnocchi, and tagliatelle with mushroom, boar, or game sauce. Pizza di Pasqua, made with flour, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, yeast, and lard. Not to miss: the charcuterie, honey, legumes (lentils), and woodland products.

Events

L'arzata e la Rancata del Maggio, 11th and 12th May


CITTÀ DELLA PIEVE

Citta della Pieve

Città della Pieve is a quiet and enchanting town that was the birthplace (1450) of artist Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino, the most important representative of Umbrian painting of the 15th century. Surrounded by Monte Cetona, the hills of Montepulciano and the hills of Lake Trasimeno, the town offers a panorama of rare beauty from its 508 metres elevation.

What to see

Cathedral of Saints Gervasio and Protasio. Erected in the 8th century and renovated and enlarged with Gothic accents in the first half of the 13th century, it has numerous frescoes and paintings including, in the apse, a Madonna with Child by Perugino. Palazzo della Corgna, the most important of the noble residences of Città della Pieve, built in the mid-1500s and now housing the library and temporary exhibitions. Oratory of Santa Maria dei Bianchi, which houses an extraordinary fresco by Perugino: The Adoration of the Magi, considered one of his finest works. Pozzo del Casalino, a medieval well constructed to ensure a water supply in the event of a siege. The well is 32 metres deep and is connected via an underground aqueduct to the Fontana delle Cannelle, also known as Fonte Dentro, once situated in the vicinity of the ancient Church and Monastery of the Fior di Maggio, and later demolished. Casa del Perugino (now private property), situated between the town hall and the current Via Roma (previously Via Vecciano). The façade holds a stone tablet laid in 1923, the fourth centennial of the death of the artist.

What to taste

Honey, cheeses, and DOC wines, including Grechetto, Vin Santo and Novello. Not to miss: saffron, the production of which was recently reintroduced in the local territory.

Events

Palio dei Terzieri, in August, a re-enactment in period costume of the life of the town in the Renaissance. The contestants parade in a procession through the streets of the town along with some 700 participants in costumes inspired by the works of Perugino. The Palio concludes with the "Caccia del Toro", an ancient and rudimentary bullfight with the Chianino bull, now simulated with archery on revolving targets with an outline of a bull.