About Umbria: Umbria is one of the only landlocked regions in Italy. Situated more or less in the centre of Italy, it is bordered by Le Marche, Lazio and Tuscany. Umbria is divided into two provinces, Perugia and Terni. Perugia is the capital of the region.
Umbria covers an area of approximately 8,500 square kilometres and has a population of 867,878, the fourth lowest of all the regions in Italy. It’s beautiful scenery of woodlands and gently rolling hills has led it to be called the “Green Heart of Italy”. Umbria is ‘Picture Postcard’ Italy.
Although most visitors are drawn to Umbria for the beautiful scenery, they soon discover that the region has many wonderful artistic and historical relics as well. Almost every town hosts beautiful examples of Medieval and Renaissance art. Wonderful frescos such as those in the famous St. Francis Basilica in Assisi are lovingly preserved by the people of the region. Churches, ancient buildings, and roman theatres still stand virtually unchanged by time as a testament to the artistic and scientific achievements the inhabitants. Visitors can also enjoy a glimpse of ancient hand-crafting techniques in ceramics and pottery that are still in use today. Umbria is also home to many fascinating museums and cultural centres.
Culture and history of Umbria
Inhabited by the ancient Umbrians, the region was in the first millennium BC under the influence of the Etruscans, then was conquered by the Romans in the 4th century BC and later became the Sexta Regio of the Roman Empire.
With the barbarian invasions and the destruction that followed the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the region shared the destiny of great part of Italy: the beautiful flourishing cities were plundered and destroyed, the population took refuge in the mountains, where later the Lombards, giving finally some political stability, built castles and citadels and established the Duchy of Spoleto in 571, including also parts of Marche, Abruzzo and Latium.
The Lombards were in the late 8th century defeated by the Franks, though Spoleto maintained its dominant position in central Italy still for centuries. The rise of the Communes brought along intestine wars in Perugia and Assisi, and then coalitions against the Emperors Frederick I and Frederick II.
The region fell more and more under the influence of the Church State, which was practically in power since the 15th century until 1798, when the region was occupied by Napoleonic Army and a Republic established in Rome. With the Restoration of 1815 Umbria was returned to the State of the Church, though the movement of the Italian Risorgimento was strong among the population, which was finally united to the Italian Kingdom after a referendum in 1860, at the time of the Second War of Italian Independence.