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Delicious devotion

Land of saints, poets and gastronomic delicacies

Delicious devotion

This itinerary take us on a journey through some of the greenest landscapes in the whole of Italy, where a number of Umbria's most famous gastronomic products are produced. We start in Norcia, Saint Benedict's birth town. This first Christian monk was responsible for the founding of the order based on the principles of "Ora et Labora" (pray and work). The town's church dedicated to the saint is a veritable masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Another religious building worthy of note is Norcia's cathedral. Built in renaissance style, the appearance of the church was extensively altered during the baroque era. The imposing Rocca della Castellina, designed by Vignola, is now home to the Diocesan Museum. No visit to Norcia can be considered complete without having first paid visit to one of the inviting Norcinerie, where to purchase some of the town's famous spicy sausages or a jar of black truffles.

From Norcia we make a brief detour so as to visit the little town of Castelluccio, one of the gateways to the National Park of the Sibillini Mountains, a park which extends for over 70 thousand hectares between the Marche and Umbria. This is where to find the Piani di Castelluccio, and the largest karst depression in Italy. Here, in spring time, visitors are treated to the colourful display of the Castelluccio's legendary lentils in flower.

Back on the main road, we head for Cascia. Fields of purple flowers indicate that the area's highly prized saffron is blossoming. Cascia is famous, above all, for the Sanctuary of Santa Rita, built in honour of the nun who died here in 1447, beatified over four hundred years later, in the year 1900. Inaugurated in 1947, the sanctuary has a decidedly modern appearance, and a stunning altar by Giacomo Manzù.

We make our next stop at Spoleto, famous for its Festival dei Due Mondi, a fortnight long arts festival held in the town each summer. Guarding over the town, the imposing Rocca Albornoziana was once a papal fortress, and used as a prison right up until the 1980's. Today, the stronghold is home to the European School of Book Restoration and the Dukedom National Museum, this latter containing historic documents from the 4th to 15th centuries, tracing Spoleto's transformation from Roman to Medieval city.

Like Spoleto, Massa Martana is a medieval town with an ancient Roman past. The town, famous for its clear mineral waters, was once traversed by the Via Flaminia road, and offered a welcome port of call for weary travellers. The Parish Church of San Felice and the 16th century Palazzo Comunale take pride of place in the historic center of Massa.

Our journey draws to a close in Todi, Umbrian city where the famous medieval poet Jacopone was born. At the heart of the city, lies the magnificent Piazza del Popolo, where all of Todi's most important buildings are located: the Cathedral, the Palazzo dei Priori, and the Palazzo dei Capitano.


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Useful links
Umbria (all hotels)
Cascia Hotels
Spoleto Hotels
Norcia Hotels
Todi Hotels
Massa Martana Hotels