Umbria Italy – 10 Fun Facts - Digging Up Roots in the Boot

Umbria Italy – 10 Fun Facts

Ciao tutti! Welcome to The Best of Italy, a video series on Digging up Roots on the Boot’s YouTube Channel. Alessia is going to share 10 fun facts about Umbria, Italy. It is one of 20 Italian Regions in Central Italy. Watch the video and continue reading below. Also, be sure and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss out on new video posts. 

1 - Umbria Italy - The Green Heart

Umbria is called the Green heart of Italy for its abundance of woodlands, meadows, and pastures. It is the only region that doesn’t have a coastline or border another country. It lies in the heart of Central Italy surrounded by Lazio, Tuscany, and Le Marche.

2 - Truffle Hunting in Umbria Italy

Truffle hunting in Umbria is an age-old tradition. Proudly, the region produces the highest quantity and quality of black truffles in Italy. Historically, pigs were used to hunt the truffles. Today, most people use dogs.

You must have a permit to hunt truffles in Umbria and night hunting is forbidden. Also, there is also a limit of one kilo of truffles per person.

3 - Norica, Umbria

Norcia is a small town in Umbira that has been famous for centuries for its butchers and cured meats. It is the pork capital of Italy and the birthplace of pork processing. The belted black pigs of Norcia are bred locally and naturally, and are the source of high quality prosciutto and sausages.

Traditional Umbrian pork dishes include ‘salami mazzafegati’, a pork liver sausage made with orange peel, pine nuts, and raisins, and 'porchetta', an herb-stuffed pork roast sandwich.

4 - Umbria Italy - The Land of Saints

Umbria is referred to as the land of saints because of the large number of saints born in this region. The most famous is St. Benedict who is the founder of the Benedictine order of monks. Another popular saint is St Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan order. Also, there is St Valentine whose name is synonymous with celebrating love.

5 - Saint Uboldo Day in Gubbio, Umbria

Saint Uboldo Day is held in Gubbio in May. It is known as La Corsa dei Ceri. The day starts at 5am with drummers in the streets.

The Alzata is when the statues of Saint Ubaldo, Saint Giorgio, and Saint Antonio are mounted on large wooden pedestals.

In the afternoon, the saints are leisurely carried around town by three teams of eight people called Ceraioli while neighbors socialize and share homemade food and wine on the streets.

The procession begins at 5pm and lasts an hour. When it arrives at the church, the race begins. The three teams run with the saints as quickly as possible through a hilly 4.3 kilometer course. Since the pedestals are so heavy, they must change Ceraioli every 100 meters or so. At the end of the day, the families of the Ceraioli organize a dance for the town and tourist.

6 - The Papal State of Umbria

Umbria was a Papal state until 1860. During the Italian unification, the people of Perugia destroyed the Rocca Paolina which was the symbol of the Papal oppression.

In 1861, the unitarian region of Umbria with Perugia as its capital became part of the Kingdom of Italy. Today, there are two provinces. There is the province of Perugia in the north.  It is three times the size and population of the province of Terni in the south.

7 - Orvieto's Hidden Secret

The city of Orvieto has a hidden secret. There is an underground city below. A labyrinth of man-made caves and tunnels that date back to 700 BC. There are more than 1200 tunnels, galleries, wells, stairs, quarries, and cellars carved into the volcanic stone beneath city.

The caverns tell the story of time. One of the largest caverns has been used over the centuries as an olive oil mill. Other caverns were used to raise pigeons that fed Orvieto for centuries. One of the caverns in recent history was used as a world war two bomb shelter. The labyrinth below Orvieto is the true soul of the city.

8 - The Saint Patrick Well in Orvieto

Saint Patrick’s well in Orvieto was commissioned by the Pope in 1527 and took 10 years to build. It is 54 meters deep and 13 meters wide. There are two spiral staircases that allowed pack animals to carry water up and down the 248 steps without interruption. Today, it is open to tourists. If you make it to the bottom of the well, you should toss a coin into the water to guarantee a return visit to Orvieto.

9 - Perugia's Chocolate Festival

People have been coming to Perugia since the mid 1990s to celebrate Eurochocolate which is Perugia’s annual chocolate festival.

On the first Sunday of the festival, artists create sculptures from giant blocks of chocolate.  Also, the Perugina chocolate factory, located outside the city, offers tours and a chocolate school. Eurochocolate has even expanded to other cities such as Rome and Torino.

10 - Deruta Pottery

The town of Deruta has been known for its high-quality and beautifully decorated terra-cotta vases since the early middle ages. Deruta pottery is characterized by its intricate designs and rich colors.

There is a ceramics museum in the town hall and ruins of ancient ceramic kilns scattered throughout the town. There are over two hundred ceramic workshops in Deruta today.

Do you know any other fun facts about Umbria, Italy? Let’s talk it out in the comment section below. Thanks for watching the best of Italy. A presto!

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