Bellaugello’s luxury gay vacation rentals are located in the beautiful Umbria region of Italy - a stone's throw from Gubbio, Assisi, Todi, Orvieto, Perugia, all medieval cities rich in delightful treasures and each holding an annual festa. All are filled with quaint streets, family run shops, enoteca, restaurants, churches and museums. Umbria once spoken of as the land of saints and hermits, has a lot to offer those in search of a relaxing holiday yet still with much to see, to do, and to buy!
Fresco work abounds in Umbria, from the simple 12th. century pre-Giotto to the wonders of Pietro Vanucci known as “Il Perugino” through to Pinturricchio, famous for his use of gold and rich colours.
Several small villages have simple churches adorned with frescoes from the masters, and many abbeys scattered in the countryside abound with delightful altar-pieces and quirky architecture.
Not to be missed is the The Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria in Perugia with paintings by Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico and Pinturricchio.
Luca Signorelli created six amazing frescoes for the catherdral at Orvieto. With its 52 metre facade resembling a giant tryptich, and alabaster windows, it’s my favourite cathedral here in Umbria.
The Burri Collection Umbria in Citta di Castello brings Umbrian art up to date with a visceral reaction to the horrors of the second world war.
Music is an essential part of Umbrian life with concerts ranging from small intimate concerts of early music in historic venues, winter music festivals, through Jazz and World to contemporary, rock and pop in Perugia’s stadium.
For an up to date list of the festivals held in Umbria check out our Blog, meanwhile here is a brief listing of the best.
Norcia celebrates its produce with a gastronomic truffle fair every February.
Todi hosts a huge antiques fair the first three weeks in April.
Assisi is filled on Easter week with pilgrims from all over the world for the annual torchlight processions.
Gubbio’s must see event is the annual Festa dei Ceri on 15th. May when three teams race around the town in relays each carrying a ‘ceri’ or large candle topped by a saint. The spectacle is on par with the Palio in Siena, however the Eugubines tend to keep this festival for themselves. It concludes a week of partying and merriment.
Spello is bedecked with streets carpeted in flowers in late May.
Spoleto hosts the “Festival of the Two Worlds” between the end of June and mid-July. This music festival inaugurated in 1958 by Gian Carlo Menotti incorporates dance, music, prose and lyrics.
Perugia is the principal city of Umbria and host every July to Umbria Jazz, which attracts an international selection of bands in concert as well as free stages in the main Corso.
Autumn sees towns filled with fairs celebrating summer harvests of chestnuts, wine, lentils, potatoes, chocolate and edible fungi notably truffles including the rare white truffle. Each town has its own speciality and flavour.
At Christmas, Gubbio erects “the largest Christmas Tree in the world” rising from the old town walls to the top of the hill behind the town, a precursor to many Christmas craft markets and end of year celebrations.
What good a holiday without a bit of retail therapy? Whatever your passion, Umbria has a fine selection of shops and retail outlets. Historic town centres have a vast array of family owned speciality shops, often selling their own hand-made products such as ceramics, lace and linens, and the newer peripheries an array of larger stores from garden stauary to haute couture.
All Umbrian towns hold a local market on a weekly basis where you find the finest fruit and vegetables, a range of gadgets and local produce.
Local specialities include D.O.C. wines from the growers such as Lungarotti, Antinori, and Caprai, light crisp wines from Orvieto, and deep intense Sagrantino di Montefalco.
A vast array of cured hams and prosciutto particularly from the area around Norcia, combine with wild mushrooms, truffles (both the finest quality black truffle; tuber meangosporum Vittadini and the exceedingly rare and expensive white truffle; tuber magnatum Pico), and finest quality D.O.C. olive oil.
Losani near Perugia have an outlet shop for their finest cashmere, which is conveniently just off the road to the Valdichiana outlet village where you will find all the Italian designer fashion brands from Armani to Zegna at discount prices up to 70% of retail prices.
Wanting a new piece of Italian design, perhaps a new kitchen, a cutting edge piece of furniture, a new bathroom suite, much is manufactured here in Umbria and neighbouring Le Marche and factories have retail outlet showrooms and ship world-wide.