Umbria: sightseeing itineraries
Umbria is known as the 'green heart of Italy'. The extraordinary balance between nature and human activity has created impressive landscapes amongst the most beautiful in Italy. Crossed by the Apennines, a large part of the region is mountainous or hilly. With a limestone composition, these areas are subject to the “choreographies” of erosion: sinkholes, natural springs, rivers, streams and lakes embellish the expanses of woods, pastures, and fields cultivated with care.
The national park of the Sibillini mountains
The Park is situated in the middle-western section of the Apennines, inside a huge karstic tectonic plain between Umbria and Marche and called Altipiani di Colfiorito.
The plateau consists of seven basins which were once ancient lake basins, partially drained by a natural process and partially by man. The Marsh of Colfiorito is the most important entity of this particular phenomenon: it has a surface of about 100 hectares, and a thick aquatic vegetation.
The system of plateaus is enclosed by the calcareous ridges, divided by hill systems. The Altipiani di Colfiorito mark a great change in the landscape which from steep and harsh becomes sweet and undulating.
More information: Valnerina region ›
Situated near Trevi, the springs are immersed in an enchanting oasis of peace which has inspired generations of poets from Virgil to Carducci.
The waters surge in well-heads from cracks in the rocks and gather in a small lake no more than 4 metres deep. In ancient times there was a greater abundance of water and the river was deeper: the Emperor Caligola could travel on the river by boat, when he came to consult the worshipped oracles of Clitunno, the god of the river.
On the river banks there were, at that time, a small temple and other sacred places, magnificent villas and spas. There, every year, religious feasts with competitions, theatrical performances and gladiatorial matches took place.
From the east of Terni, there are the Marmore Waterfalls, the falls formed by the River Velino at its confluence with the River Nera. The falls were created by a Roman consul in 271 B.C. to prevent further marshiness of the area The falls plunge down vertically in three leaps, a total drop of 165m/545ft, and are illuminated in the period from May to August.
Its source is a portion of the waters of the river Velino (the rest of the river flows into a hydroelectric power plant), after flowing through Piediluco lake near the community of Marmore. It pours into the valley below formed by the river Nera.
Spoleto: the fascination of this city stems not only from its monuments, but above all from the relationship with the nature that surrounds it. The Monteluco not only acts as a scenographic backdrop, but as a protagonist in the story of the city, with its forest of ilex protected since ancient times. At the close of the 5th Century it was also a natural place of isolation for hermits, for meditation and prayer. It offers many excursions and long walks in a countryside suited to the exaltation of the sanctity of nature. Today Monteluco is considered an interesting natural and artistic heritage, enough to be inserted in the list of places observed by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.