Villas in Umbria
Often called the green heart of Italy, Umbria is a forested treasure trove of medieval villages, wonderful art and excellent restaurants. It has lakes, hills, rural landscapes, wonderful villages - and just a sprinkling of once-powerful cities that still command respect from their high volcanic cliffs. Not far from haughty Perugia and ancient Orvieto, both strongholds and refuge to 16th C. Pope Clement, lies the lovely hill town of Todi. Despite the town’s stark stone external structures whose sole purpose was defence, the surrounding green valleys and pastures of today persuade visitors that this is not really an urbanites mecca, this is a place to reconnect with nature, slow down and sip a good red wine.
Dan says: “I love visiting the double helix well in Orvieto, designed so that donkeys could travel both up and down drawing water without crossing path. It was dug with great effort and at great cost for Pope Clement, who was worried about being able to withstand a siege in the city, though never used in anger. I also enjoy the buried city of Perugia: if you park below the town there are escalators carrying you up the hill to an underground section of the medieval city, buried and built over to create a Papal fortress in the mid 16th century. From sunshine and views over the countryside you suddenly emerge into a medieval street covered by massive brick vaults – magical every time. And from here you carry on to emerge again in the main town square, it’s a delight. “
Umbria has been an overlooked area for a while when many visitors tended to prefer the more glamorous Tuscany, but it has recently become a popular tourist destination. Culture seekers won’t be disappointed, with its offering of ancient villages rich in monuments and history: Orvieto, Assisi, Todi, Spoleto and Perugia, just to name a few.