The Largest Tree in the World in Gubbio

Officially, the date of birth of the project and the construction of the tree that lies on the gentle slopes of Monte Igino in Gubbio dates back to 1891, receiving in 1991 the Guinness Book of Records as the largest Christmas tree in the world.
Today, as per the thirty-year tradition, the largest tree in the world of Gubbio is lit at the beginning of December and turned off on the second Sunday of January.

It is certainly among the most impactful Christmas attractions not only for Umbria, arriving to welcome visitors who flock to admire the largest tree in the world from all over Italy and abroad.

Located along the slopes of Monte Igino, it is made up of about 800 lights powered by renewable sources and therefore not only a project with a great tourist impact but also an eco-sustainable one.
The Tree of Gubbio is 450 meters wide and 750 high and measures 13,000 square meters, reaching the Basilica of Sant’Ubaldo on the top of the mountain.

Gubbio’s Christmas
The Committee which since 1992 (the year of its legal foundation) has been involved in the creation of the Tree and in a certain sense also in the tourist promotion of the city of Gubbio at Christmas, is dedicated, and takes its name, to Mario Santini, the creator of the project. Every year the Tree is lit by important personalities such as that of Pope Francis but also by important “places” such as in 2017 lit by Paolo Nespoli directly from the Space.

Gubbio and the Magic of Christmas can be accessed not only with the lights of the largest tree in the world, with its charm, its majesty, attracting the curiosity of the little ones and the wonder of the grown-ups, but it is adorned with the Christmas atmosphere also thanks to the Christmas Land initiative with markets, the tour on Santa’s train, Santa’s Village and many themed initiatives.

Marmore’s Fall

The Marmore’s Fall, formed by the Velino and the Nera, tributaries of the Tiber, is one of the most visited natural attractions in Umbria, although it is an artificial waterfall, it has very ancient origins that date back to Roman times, in 271 BC: it is in this given that the Roman consul Manio Curio Dentato, with an ingenious hydraulic intervention, had a canal built in order to drain the stagnant waters of the Velino in the Sabina (plain of Rieti), dangerous for the nearby population, towards the Nera river. The intervention was thus called and known over time as “Cavo Curiano”.
Other interventions made to counteract flooding during periods of flooding date back to 1422, by the engineer Aristotile Fioravanti and entrusted by Braccio Fortebraccio da Montone. On this occasion a new channel called “Reatino” was built. Other interventions date back to 1547 by Antonio Da Sangallo, commissioned by Pope Paul III with the construction of a third canal. In 1601 the architect Giovanni Fontana created the “Clementine” canal in honor of Pope Clement III. Finally, in 1787 the architect Andrea Vici made the last intervention which gave the Marmore Falls its current appearance.

To date, the Marmore Falls is the highest artificial waterfall in Europe.

CURIOSITY

• The name derives from the richness of calcium carbonate on the rocks which resembles white marble.
• Today the waterfall is not only an important tourist and naturalistic attraction due to the richness of flora and fauna, from algae, mosses, ferns, insects, fish, reptiles, birds and small mammals, but it is also used for hydroelectric production.

• The waterfall is not always open at full capacity (Be careful of the opening hours so as not to miss this fascinating moment!!), and this allows you to admire the beauty and richness of the vegetation that is shown when the water flows from the waterfall it’s close. Its opening is announced by an acoustic signal. The view of the water that flows forcefully and creates a wonderful rainbow on sunny days is wonderful. The Falls can be accessed from both the Upper and Lower Belvedere.
• At night the waters of the waterfall, when open, are illuminated by a LED lighting system.
• The beauty of the Marmore Falls Park is also given by being able to admire along the way the caves that the water has dug over the centuries with stalactites and stalagmites in the travertine: some can be visited and the most famous is the LOVERS’ CAVE.

 

A ROMANTIC LEGEND

The Gnefro, a fairy and legendary creature of Umbrian popular culture, tells the story of the nymph named Nera who is in love with the shepherd Velino. The goddess Juno, who did not accept a love between a nymph and a human being, transformed the Black nymph into a river. Velino, believing that the Black Nymph was drowning in those hitherto unknown waters, threw himself into it. However, Jupiter, softened by pure love, also transformed the shepherd Velino into a river. Since then the Nera and Velino rivers could stay together for eternity.

DID YOU KNOW THAT

  • The soprano Gina Palmucci, deeply in love with her territory, being of Terni origins, chose Nera Marmora as her stage name;
  • The Cascata delle Marmore was painted by several painters and narrated by important literals such as Lord Byron;
  • He is present in many films such as Federico Fellini’s Interview in 1987, Dario Argento’s Stendhal Syndrome in 1996, and again in fiction such as Don Matteo;
  • In 2011 it was the location for the concert with the orchestra
  • “I Filarmonici di Roma” and in 2012 the concert for the “Tribute to Sergio Endrigo” by Simone Cristicchi;
  • In 2017 he starred in the advertising campaign for the promotion of Tourism in Umbria together with the former Italian diver Tania Cagnotto;
  • In January 2023 it was the location for the outdoor test of the MasterChef broadcast.

Discover Marmore's Fall

Waters Of Umbria

Discover Campello sul Clitunno

The Campello sul Clitunno district is divided into Campello Alto and Campello Basso: the first fortified around the Castle dating back to the 9th-10th century and wanted by the knight from Burgundy, Rovero di Campeaux and the second near the Fonti del Clitunno.

A natural jewel: the Fonti del Clitunno
Crystalline springs at the foot of Mount Brunette, with bright colors that shine with the sun’s rays, creating plays of light, shadows and reflections of the vegetation that is reflected in these waters, sending an image of absolute purity and spirituality.

Already known in Roman times and many poets and writers such as Pliny, Virgil, Propertius, Juvenal, extol their praises in their legacies, speaking of an absolutely suggestive place. The river was revered as a natural element personified by the God Clitunno: its waters so pure as to make those who immersed themselves in it immaculate.

Again the Sources taken up in Corot’s paintings and praised again by Lord Byron in the fourth canto of Child Harold dedicated to Umbria:

“But you, or Clitunno! from your sweetest wave of the brightest crystal that ever sheltered a river nymph, to look inside and bathe her limbs where nothing hid them, you raise your grassy banks along which the milk-white bullock grazes; O thou – purest God of mild waters, and most serene of aspect, and most limpid, indeed thy current was not desecrated by carnage – mirror and pool for Beauty’s youngest daughters”

The very rich vegetation and biodiversity make the Fonti del Clitunno a small paradise among cypress poplars and weeping willows which with their foliage adorn the landscape and frame the waters, are strongly linked to Napoleon: in fact, it is said that they come from the place where the ‘Emperor on Saint Helena. The vegetation on the seabed is also rich such as: wild sedanine, aquatic horsetail and aquatic nasturtium.

Temple of Clitunno
Not far from the Fonti del Clitunno, there is the small but wonderful Tempietto del Clitunno, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011.
Built in the early Christian era (it is assumed between the 5th and 7th centuries) with salvaged elements from the pagan sacellums (from the Latin sacellum, dim. of sacrum “sacred enclosure”) of the god Clitunno, today it is part of the seven jewels of ” The Lombards in Italy. Places of Power”.
On the tympanum it is still possible to see the decorations showing pomegranate and a bunch of grapes: if the first symbolizes fertility, grapes and more particularly wine is the symbol of the Eucharist.

“And on your happy shore a Temple, of minute and delicate structure, still keeps the memory of you on the gentle slope of a hill; beneath it flows your placid current; often leaps forth from it the darting fish with glittering scales, which dwells and plays in your crystalline depth; while perhaps some lost water lily flower floats by where the less deep wave still repeats its bubbling tales”
Lord Byron

In Green painted Green
In addition to the natural wonders, the historical ones and still those linked to Trebbiano Spoletino, the hills of Campello are adorned with green olive trees which are still cultivated today with traditional methods and make Campelli one of the paths of the olive grove.
The olive tree has Etruscan origins and was later spread by the Romans as a luxury item. Pliny the Younger himself had several hectares in Umbria dedicated to the cultivation of olive trees.

What remains of this story is the hope of being able to experience a place absolutely full of beauty accompanied by a glass of Trebbiano Spoletino and a slice of warm bread with local oil and admire, as Lord Byron, Carducci did and Pliny, the marvel of Campello sul Clitunno.

Discover Campello sul Clitunno Couple emotions on the road

Gualdo Tadino: a “forest” of Museums

The city of Gualdo Tadino, originally known by the Umbrian name of Tarsina, fell under Roman rule and was given the name “Tadinum”, becoming an important trading center and point of reference along the Via Flaminia. During the Roman period it experienced many wars following the conflicts for power between Caesar and Pompey.
Other known devastations are those related to the figure of Hannibal and the resistance against the Goths fighting against the Lombards in the famous battle of Tagina.
The name GUALDO derives from the reconstruction dating back to 996 after the destruction of Otto III of Saxony, Emperor of the Eastern Franks and Roman Emperor since 966; starting from the reconstruction of the 11th century, the city assumed the Longobard name of Gualdo, “forest, wooded place” – from the German “Wald”. The formal recognition of the name “Gualdo Tadino” will only take place in 1833 by Pope Gregory XVI.
In 1237 it was destroyed again by fire and rebuilt by Frederick II and the Benedictine friars, mainly around the large structure of the Rocca Flea, on Colle Sant’Angelo.
In order to be able to experience Gualdo Tadino immersed in time, in the marvelous stories of the Gualdo citizens, in the architectural constructions and in the culture that has distinguished the Umbrian town, the City of Gualdo Tadino Museum Pole has enclosed the entire legacy of the city in a circuit of museums .
Not to be missed are the Rocca Flea Civic Museum, the Ceramics Museum, the Emigration Museum…Discover them all HERE

But let’s look at some of them in detail:

Rocca Flea
On the top of Colle Sant’Angelo, stands Rocca Flea, an exquisite military architecture dating back to the XII century and rebuilt by Frederick II in 1247. Inside, since 1999, there is the Rocca Flea Civic Museum.
“Its name, derived from the nearby river Flebeo, later called Feo, already appears in documents from the 12th century. With the succession of different dominations imposed on the city, the militias of Federico Barbarossa first settled there, then those of the pope and in 1208 those of the Guelph Perugia. Damaged by many conflicts, it was restored by Frederick II around 1242. In the 16th century it became the residence of the papal legates, while in 1888 the Rocca became a prison. Restored to its previous appearance thanks to recent restorations, the fortress has become the seat of the civic museum since 1999 “

Museum of Ceramics
“The Ceramics Museum of Casa Cajani is part of a large project which aims to exhibit and enhance the city’s heritage: the civic collection of ceramics, coming from the public, from acquisitions and donations. A project linked to the artistic, productive and economic history of this area, which documents the prestigious goals achieved over the centuries by the Gualdo ceramic manufacturers.
Some rooms of the Museum are entirely dedicated to Alfredo Santarelli, a tribute to his majestic work with artefacts from important factories born in the 1900s from the imprint of Santarelli, such as Luca della Robbia, the Mastro Giorgio Ceramic Society and the Angelo Pascucci Ceramic Industry. Another section is dedicated to the prestigious manufacture of Paolo Rubboli who reintroduced the technique of gold and ruby ​​lustres of the Mastrogiorge tradition in Gualdo Tadino”.

Emigration Museum
“The Pietro Conti Regional Museum of Emigration was created to underline the historical, cultural and human heritage linked to the great emigration exodus that involved Italy from the end of the 19th century and which involved more than 27 million departures. Made with the video projection technique, it involves the visitor in an exciting backward journey: the arrival, the journey and the departure. Documents, images and stories from all regions of Italy. A choral journey that has the emigrant as its protagonist: the farewells, the meeting and the clash with the foreign country, nostalgia, the daily joys and sorrows, the integration into the new reality, the defeats and the victories, the confrontation and reflection on today’s immigration”.

On the Path of Ceramics

Discover Gualdo Tadino

The madman’s license in Gubbio

To feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland, a bit like the Hatter, we take you to Gubbio, one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Umbria, also known by the Roman name of Iguvium, rich in history, monuments, architectural works and … also famous for being known as the City of Fools!
Well as such, in the Gubbio city you can also take the Fool’s License complete with Parchment. Everything starts and revolves around the Bargello Fountain, built around the 16th century, located in front of Palazzo Bargello in the heart of the historic center of Gubbio and renowned for being the Fools’ Fountain! 

It all dates back to an ancient practice of 1880 and still in use today for the citizens of Gubbio but also for all the tourists traveling to Gubbio!
Attention! The Madmen’s license also requires requirements and is based on strict regulations:
1. It must be a genuine Eugubino to apply for the Madman’s License on your behalf
2. Pay a contribution to the Maggio Eugubino Association
3. Make 3 laps around the Fontana dei Matti in the presence of a genuine Eugubino Matto!
4. Being “baptized” by the spray of water from the Fontana dei Matti itself.

After passing the test, the same Association will grant you the Parchment of the Fool’s License written in medieval style.
The tradition of the Matti is linked to the laps, the “birate”, which take place around the main flagpole of Piazza Grande during the famous and folkloristic Ceri festival which is held every year on May 15th.

EUGUBINI, ROCKY CRAZY!
According to some geological studies, around the city they would have detected rocky conformations contaminated by a highly toxic chemical substance, iridium, which could in some way explain the “madness” of the Gubbio inhabitants.

Pozzo di San Patrizio: a pioneering hydraulic work

It was the year 1527 when the Florentine architect Antonio da Sangallo the Younger was commissioned to build a Well in the heart of the city of Orvieto, a work that would later prove to be a real pioneering and avant-garde enterprise.
The task was ordered by the then Pope Clement VII, during the Sack of Rome, who wanted to give the city that gave him refuge (after having arrived there disguised as a greengrocer), a supply of water that was always available, especially during difficult periods such as sieges (or famines). A medal was also minted later, now kept in the Vatican Museums, with the engraving “ut populus bibat” – “for the people to drink”.

Initially the Pope had imagined the Pozzo for use in the fortified fortress of the Albornoz Fortress (hence the name “Pozzo della Rocca”). We have to wait for the 1800s for the current name Pozzo di San Patrizio.

Renaissance avant-garde
The architect Sangallo designed the cylindrical well, 58 meters deep, starting and taking inspiration from the spiral staircase of the Villa del Belvedere in the Vatican with a helicoidal design of steps (248) designed so that no traffic jams were created. and in fact whoever went down and whoever went up had their own “way” free, especially those who went there with mules.
There are 72 windows that illuminate the well until it reaches the semi-darkness in depth, where there is a small bridge connecting the two stairways.
The Well, completed in 1537, was built by digging into the tuff (Orvieto is famous precisely for its tufaceous soils and tuff tunnels where many famous Orvieto wines are kept and refined today) and then into the clay up to the aquifer of natural origin.
At the entrance you read “quod natura munimento inviderat industry adiecit – what nature had not given, industry procured”, a clear celebration of human ingenuity at the service of nature.

The Well and Ireland
As mentioned, the name Pozzo di San Patrizio, arrived in the 1800s at the behest of the friars of the Convento dei Servi who were aware of the legend of the “Irish saint”, St. Patrick, guardian of a cave so deep that it did not have a bottom enough to be recognized as St. Patrick’s Purgatory (and once it reached the bottom by overcoming the “tests” it was then possible to enter Paradise) and that the well was even connected to Ireland, where the Saint did the work of evangelization, and often found in the Well a time for reflection and prayer. Thus it was that the Pozzo became a sacred rather than a military destination. Today a tourist and cultural destination of great impact and emotion.

UmbriaSì tells about “Il Perugino”

UmbriaSì racconta il Perugino, Il Meglio Maestro d'Italia


There has been great excitement in recent months in Umbria for the preparations for the great exhibition dedicated to Perugino the Divine Painter.
From 4 March the exhibition for the 500th anniversary of the death of Pietro Vannucci will be held in Perugia at the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria until 11 June, with the name “the Best Master of Italy” as defined in 1500 by Agostino Chigi, great art connoisseur and patron of his time.

Let’s retrace Perugino’s life together, his artistic works, to let you experience the art of the Divine Painter that echoes not only throughout Umbria and Italy, but throughout the world.

Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci
Born in 1448 in Città della Pieve and died in 1523 in Fontignano, from a wealthy and important family in the Umbrian political panorama; in fact Perugino’s father, Cristoforo di Pietro di Giovanni, held the position of Prior of Città della Pieve in 1459.
The name Vannucci, as the family was known, derives from the name of the great-grandfather, Giovanni, known by the diminutive of Vannuccio.

Many names that distinguished his art, production and fame beyond the definition of “Best Master of Italy”, of Divine Painter, as we read in the verses of the Painter Giovanni Santi, Raphael’s father, of whom he was master, and “Il Perugino” outside the regional borders. Perugia, in fact, was much better known and thriving from the point of view of artistic productions, compared to other Umbrian cities.

Pietro Vannucci, in his early twenties, began his artistic training in Città della Pieve, in the workshops of Sienese painters. In 1460 he was already recognized for his talent so much that he was an apprentice accompanist in Arezzo to Piero della Francesca. Ten years later, he frequented the most famous workshop in Florence, that of Andrea Verrocchio where the art of goldsmithing, sculpture and painting was practiced. The Florentine environment gave Pietro Vannucci the opportunity to know and come into contact with other artists such as Botticcelli, Filippo Lippi and Leonardo.
In 1472 Perugino finished his apprenticeship and began his career as a painter after enrolling in the Compagnia di San Luca as a “painter“.

An important work of his lost, but testified by the payment made in his favour, was the commission of the decoration of the Great Hall of the Palazzo dei Priori by the Municipality of Perugia in 1475.

Perugino’s fame continues to grow and from 1478 he will be engaged in Rome, by will of Pope Sisti IV, for the decoration of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican first, and then the Sistine Chapel, with the famous scene of the “Delivery of the Keys” (in which a self-portrait of the Painter is visible). On this occasion he will come into contact with other painters such as Cosimo Rosselli, Bernardino di Betto Betti known as Pinturicchio and Luca Signorelli.

In 1493 he marries in Fiesole the woman who will be his great inspiring Muse for him, above all for the faces of the Madonnas he painted (such as the Madonna with Child and Madonna with Child between Saints John the Baptist and Sebastian), Chiara Fancelli, daughter of sculptor and architect Luca Fancelli, a pupil of Brunelleschi. From their marriage 5 children were born, and she decided to settle in Florence, also in consideration of the fact that the Divine Painter had his workshop in Florence, as well as in Perugia.
In 1498, the Divine Painter was called to fresco the Hall of the Collegio del Cambio (seat of the money changer) with the Cycle of the Virtues.
Since 1500, Perugino has dedicated himself to creating works in his native Umbria, evidenced by the presence of the typical features of the region such as rolling hills and landscapes full of greenery in Città della Pieve, his native land, but also Spello Foligno, Panicale, Trevi and Perugia.
The Divine Painter died in 1523 of the bubonic plague in Fontignano, and was buried under a tree. In 1925 his remains were found next to small pots of paint. In 1929 it was placed in the urn with the epigraph PETRVS-PERVSINVS-PICTOR and transferred to the church of Santa Maria dell’Annunziata, also in Fontignano, where Perugino was probably painting “The Madonna with Child” commissioned in 1521 by the confraternity of the Announced.


Credit photo:
Nation Gallery of Art

 

Big Bench in Umbria

The much discussed and loved “Giant Benches” have also arrived in Umbria with five installations respectively in Colle Umberto, Città di Castello, Bevagna, Preci and Montefalco

What exactly are Big Benches?

The Big Benches are installations, works of art that meet man, conceived and designed by the American architect Chris Bangle and his wife Catherine.
Giant benches on which it is possible to climb while admiring the panorama from another perspective, feeling like a child in front of the immensity of the beauty that life offers every day and that perhaps, caught up in the rhythms of everyday life, we forget. The Big Benches, a bit like the Little Prince, remind us that perhaps everything we need seems far away, big, difficult, if only we remember to look with our hearts.

Let’s see specifically how they are born
They were born in 2010 when the aforementioned architect and designer Chris Bangle, who moved to the Langhe, in Piedmont, decided to create the first oversized bench in Clavesana.
From the enthusiasm of many, a project ensued that was born as a non-profit and without public funding, aimed not only at bringing together art, nature and man, but also a concept of eco-sustainable tourism, installing the Big Benches in small or little-known villages, encouraging a flow of curiosity and tourism, supporting excellent craftsmanship and local communities.

Currently the benches built are 273 and 66 under construction, and the Big Bench Community Project has become a non-profit and non-profit foundation with the will, not only to expand the idea of the Big Bench as a project linked to tourism, the territory and to nature, even to donate the proceeds deriving from marketing and promotional actions to the
municipalities in which the Big Benches are located, with particular attention to schools or cultural institutions. The places of preference for these works of modern art accessible to all and shareable by all to arise are panoramic points, completely immersed in greenery, among lavender fields, vineyards and olive groves.

Who can build them?
Naturally the Big Benches are covered by copyright but Designer Chris provides the project and installation methods for free after making a request, presenting the place where the Big Bench is thought to be born, built without public funds but with voluntary donations , provided that nature, local communities are respected and above all they are a source of sustainability and cultural and relational exchange. Even the color is designed according to the place, in order to have an installation that is all one with nature, in complete harmony.

Passport of the bench tourist 
The Big Benches are a constantly expanding phenomenon, from Piedmont they have arrived in almost all of Italy and with some installations also abroad. This explains the collective sentiment that has been released in search of the Benches and above all the breathtaking landscapes: hence the need to create a “Passport” which is stamped every time the “Panchinista” tourist discovers, lives and shares the experience of Big Bench.
All the benches are naturally indicated on the official website or via a special free App.

The Big Benches in Umbria
A moment for yourself, but also to share, to admire the landscape, listen to nature, live an experience sitting on a Giant Bench.
The two Big Benches installed in Umbria, among the countryside and centuries-old olive groves, represent, together with all the others installed around Italy, a real quality tourist engine and a symbol of landscape, craftsmanship, food and wine and cultural excellence.