Umbria, A place you can't miss

 

The region of Umbria, located in the heart of Italy, offers visitors several medieval artistic, archaeological and spiritual attractions. One of the main destinations recommended to anyone wishing to escape the noise of the city to enjoy a moment of relaxation in nature, is  Scarzuola: situated in the woods of Montegiove, in the municipality of Montegabbione.

Here, in the twentieth century, the artist and designer Tomaso Buzzi, built a city-theater as a personal interpretation of the concept of an "ideal city", where you can feel free in all aspects. Here, at the Scarzuola, we find ourselves in front of a cave dug out of rock, where, according to the medieval chronicles, it is said that St. Francis made a fountain gush after planting a rose and a laurel leaf. Here, by the cave, we are faced with three gates: the gate of Mater Amoris leading to Cupid; the door of the Gloria Dei leading to the divine; the door of the Gloria Mundi instead leads you back to the starting point. Entering inside the city-theater that Buzzi left voluntarily unfinished, one has the impression of being in a maze formed mostly of stairs and ladders of different sizes, monuments, bush statues, and some disproportions that the artist wanted, in order to create contrast between the sacred city provided by the Franciscan monastery, and the profane city designed and built in Buzzi’s style.

A city in Umbria you certainly can’t miss is Perugia, the region’s capital city, founded by the Etruscans in the sixth century B.C., and known for having founded the first Italian University for foreigners. One of the most iconic buildings in the city is the Palazzo dei Priori, built between 1293 and 1297, where you can see two bronze statues depicting a lion and Il Grifo, the symbol Perugia on the façade. The chains on the of the palace doors, are those that were removed by the citizens of Perugia from the gates of Siena after the battle of Torrita.

Going back into the woods, not far from Todi, Monte Castello di Vibio isa must-see: one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. Towards the end of 18th century, Monte Castello was named "capocantone" (a term attributed to all places with a strategic locations, both administratively and militarily). To increase the city’s prestige, several local families decided to build the Concordia theatre,  producing a miniature version of the great Italian theaters (in fact, it only has exactly 99 seats). The name of the theater comes from the decoration of the main stage representing two hands clasping each other, symbol of concordance. In conclusion, we can say that what makes this region special is not only its artistic and historical heritage, but also the contrast between often very large and busy urban centers and the surrounding towns, which are totally immersed in nature.