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—  Region of Italy  —


Coat of arms
Country Italy
Capital Perugia
 - President Maria Rita Lorenzetti (Democratic Party (Italy))
 - Total 8,456 km2 (3,264.9 sq mi)
Population (2008-09-30)
 - Total 892,351
 - Density 105.5/km2 (273.3/sq mi)
Citizenship [1]
 - Italian 91%
 - Romanian 2%
 - Albanian 2%
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
GDP/ Nominal € 20.6 billion (2006)

Umbria (Italian pronunciation: [ˈumbrja]) is a region of central Italy. Its capital is Perugia. It has an area of 8,456 km² and about 900,000 inhabitants.



A landscape near Norcia.

Umbria is a region of Central Italy, bordered by Tuscany to the west, the Marche to the east and Lazio to the south. This region is mostly hilly or mountainous. Its topography is dominated by the Apennines to the east, with the highest point in the region at Monte Vettore on the border of the Marche (2,476 m = 8,123 ft), and the Tiber valley basin, with the lowest point at Attigliano (96 m = 315 ft). It is the only Italian region which is both landlocked and with no common border with other countries.

A landscape of Umbria.

The Tiber forms the approximate border with Lazio; although its course northwards from its source just over the Tuscan border lies in Umbria, the river course is changeable and thus few towns have been built on it: the Tiber itself is not a major factor in the history and human geography of Umbria. The same cannot be said of the Tiber's three principal tributaries, each flowing in a generally southward course. The course of the Chiascio takes it through relatively uninhabited areas until Bastia Umbra, and about 10 km later it flows into the Tiber at Torgiano. The Topino, cleaving the Apennines with passes that the Via Flaminia and successor roads follow, makes a sharp turn at Foligno to flow NW for a few kilometres before joining the Chiascio below Bettona. The third river is the Nera, flowing into the Tiber further south, at Terni; its valley, called the Valnerina, is widely considered to be the most scenic area of Umbria. While the upper Nera flows more or less in isolation in the mountains, the lower course of the Chiascio-Topino basin is a fairly large floodplain, which in Antiquity was a pair of shallow, interlocking lakes, the Lacus Clitorius and the Lacus Umber. They were drained by the Romans over several hundred years, but an earthquake in the 4th century and the political collapse of the Roman Empire resulted in the reflooding of the basin, which was drained a second time over five hundred years; Benedictine monks started the process in the 13th century, and it was completed by an engineer from Foligno in the 18th century.

In tourist literature one sometimes sees Umbria called il cuor verde d'Italia (the green heart of Italy). The phrase, taken from a poem by Giosuè Carducci — the subject of which is not Umbria but rather a specific place in it, the source of the Clitunno river, treasured as a beauty spot — is to a certain extent appropriate since the modern administrative region is the only one to have neither a coast nor a border with a foreign country, and, except for August and September, is famously green.


Spoleto, the Roman Theatre

The region is named for the Umbri tribe[2], who settled in the region in protohistoric times (6th century BC): 672 BC is the legendary date of foundation of the town of Terni (Interamna). Their language was Umbrian, a relative of Latin and Oscan.

Archaeological evidence shows that the Umbri can be identified with the creators of the Terramara, and probably also of the Villanovan culture in northern and central Italy, who at the beginning of the Bronze Age displaced the original Ligurian population by an invasion from the north-east. It may be provisionally inferred that the Umbrians were closely related to the Achaeans of prehistoric Greece. Pliny the Elder's statement that they were the most ancient race of Italy is certainly wrong.

The Etruscans were chief enemies of the Umbri, and the Etruscan invasion went from the western seaboard towards the north and east (lasting from about 700 to 500 BC), eventually driving the Umbrians towards the Apenninic uplands and capturing 300 Umbrian towns. Nevertheless, the Umbrian population does not seem to have been eradicated in the conquered districts.

After the downfall of the Etruscans, Umbrians attempted to aid the Samnites in their struggle against Rome (308 BC); but communications with Samnium were impeded by the Roman fortress of Narni (founded 298 BC). At the great battle of Sentinum (295 BC), which was fought in their own territory, the Umbrians did not substantially help the Samnites.

The Roman victory at Sentinum started a period of integration under the Roman rulers, who established some colonies (e.g., Spoletium) and built the via Flaminia (220 BC), which became a principal vector for Roman development in Umbria. During Hannibal's invasion in the second Punic war, the battle of Lake Trasimene was fought in Umbria, but the Umbrians did not aid him.

During the Roman civil war between Mark Antony and Octavian (40 BC), the city of Perugia supported Antony and was almost completely destroyed by the latter.

In Pliny’s time, 49 independent communities still existed in Umbria, and the abundance of inscriptions and the high proportion of recruits in the imperial army attest to its population.

The modern region of Umbria, however, is essentially different from the Umbria of Roman times (see Roman Umbria), which extended through most of what is now the northern Marche, to Ravenna, but excluded the west bank of the Tiber. Thus Perugia was in Etruria, and the area around Norcia was in the Sabine territory.

After the collapse of the Roman empire, Ostrogoths and Byzantines struggled for the supremacy in the region; the Lombards founded the duchy of Spoleto, covering much of today's Umbria. When Charlemagne conquered most of the Lombard kingdoms, some Umbrian territories were given to the Pope, who established temporal power over them. Some cities acquired a form of autonomy (the comuni); they were often at war with each other in the context of the more general conflict between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire or between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines.

In the 14th century, the signorie arose, but were subsumed into the Papal States, which ruled the region until the end of the 18th century. After the French Revolution and the French conquest of Italy, Umbria was part of the ephemeral Roman Republic (1789–1799) and of the Napoleonic Empire (1809–1814). After Napoleon's defeat, the Pope regained Umbria until 1860. After the Risorgimento and the Piedmontese expansion, Umbria was incorporated in the Kingdom of Italy.

The borders of Umbria were fixed in 1927, with the creation of the province of Terni and the separation of the province of Rieti, which was incorporated in Lazio.


The present economic structure emerged from a series of transformations which took place mainly in the 1970s and 1980s. During this period there was rapid expansion among small and medium-sized firms and a gradual retrenchment among the large firms which had hitherto characterised the region's industrial base. This process of structural adjustment is still going on[3].

Umbrian agriculture is noted for its tobacco, its olive oil and its vineyards, which produce excellent wines. Regional varietals include the white Orvieto, which draws agri-tourists to the vineyards in the area surrounding the medieval town of the same name.[4]. Other noted wines produced in Umbria are Torgiano and Rosso di Montefalco. Another typical Umbrian product is the black truffle found in Valnerina, an area that produces 45% of this product in Italy[3].

The food industry in Umbria produces processed pork-meats, confectionery, pasta and the traditional products of Valnerina in preserved form (truffles, lentils, cheese). The other main industries are textiles, clothing, sportswear, iron and steel, chemicals and ornamental ceramics[3].


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1861 442,000
1871 479,000 8.4%
1881 497,000 3.8%
1901 579,000 16.5%
1911 614,000 6.0%
1921 658,000 7.2%
1931 696,000 5.8%
1936 723,000 3.9%
1951 804,000 11.2%
1961 795,000 −1.1%
1971 776,000 −2.4%
1981 808,000 4.1%
1991 812,000 0.5%
2001 826,000 1.7%
2008 (Est.) 892,000 8.0%
Source: ISTAT 2001

As of 2008, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 75,631 foreign-born immigrants live in Umbria, equal to 8.5% of the total population of the region.

Government and politics

Umbria is a stronghold of the center-left coalition The Union, forming with Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and Marche the famous Italian political "Red Quadrilateral". At the April 2006 elections, Umbria gave more than 57% of its votes to Romano Prodi.

Administrative divisions

Umbria is divided in two provinces:

Province Area (km²) Population Density (inh./km²)
Province of Perugia 6,334 660,040 104.2
Province of Terni 2,122 232,311 109.5



External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Central Italy : Umbria

Umbria [1] is a region in Italy. It is one of the smaller regions of Italy, has no large cities and a total population of less than a million but what it lacks in size it makes up for in the beauty of its agricultural land and in a large number of fascinating small towns to visit.

  • Perugia - the capital of Umbria, a lively university town with a fascinating medieval center.
  • Castiglione del Lago - picturesque lakeside town with many restaurants and shops.
  • Città di Castello - Burri Collection (modern art) and the Pinacoteca Comunale art galleries.
    The Cathedral at Todi
    The Cathedral at Todi
  • Gubbio - described as one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Italy.
  • Montone - beautiful hill town, birthplace of mercenary captain Braccio Fortebraccio.
  • Pietralunga - small town in beautiful countryside, famous for truffles and potatoes.
  • Umbertide - superb countryside around this market town with many rental villas in the hills.
  • Assisi - home of St. Francis and a major religious center, the Basilica has the world's best medieval art collection frescoed on the walls.
  • Bevagna - small but fascinating town.
  • Città della Pieve - Red-bricked town. Home of the painter, Il Perugino.
  • Deruta – a center for ceramics.
  • Foligno - home of Italy's first printing press.
  • Montefalco - Great red wine.
  • Spello - famous for its Infiorata flower festival on Corpus Domini Sunday when the streets are covered with intricate flower designs.
  • Spoleto – famous for its Festival of the Two Worlds.
  • Torgiano – a fascinating wine museum.
  • Trevi - close to the source of the Clitumnus River, a location much admired by the Romans and, among others, Byron.
  • Narni – has the largest Roman bridge ever built.
  • Orvieto - great cathedral, Etruscan sites.
  • Otricoli – old Roman town on the banks of the River Tiber.
  • Terni – the main industrial town of Umbria.
  • Todi – impressive hill town with much to see.
Church of St Francis in Assisi
Church of St Francis in Assisi

Get in

The A1 Autostrada that connects Rome and Florence provides impressive views of Orvieto, just to its west. However, most of the rest of Umbria is to the east of the Autostrada. The main access roads to Umbrian towns from the A1 are at Orte, if coming from Rome, and taking the Siena-Perugia highway if arriving from Florence.

Fontana Maggiore and Cathedral at Perugia
Fontana Maggiore and Cathedral at Perugia

The main Rome-Florence railway line has a station at Orvieto, but not all trains stop there. A line also connects Rome with Florence via towns such as Spoleto, Assisi and Perugia.

There is a small airport at Perugia.

Get around

All Umbrian cities are small and can be easily seen on foot. If you are into serious sightseeing then City Walks in Umbria [2] provides a detailed and fascinating guide.


Umbrian Wine

Over the last few decades the quality of wine from Umbria has been steadily going up. Umbrian wines are often better value than wines from neighbouring Tuscany because they are less well known. For example, when trying equivalently priced Montefalco Rosso (from Umbria) against a Rosso di Montalcino (from Tuscany), more often than not, the taster will prefer the wine from Montefalco.

Red Wine

Umbria has two red wines with the top Italian wine classification, DOCG (Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantita), Sagrantino di Montefalco and Torgiano Rosso. Both these wines are grown in the hills south of Perugia, Umbria's capital city. The Torgiano Rosso DOCG was created because of the superb wines being made at the Lungarotti winery in the town of Torgiano. Sagrantino di Montefalco is made by several cantinas (wineries) with vineyards in the hills near Montefalco. This powerful red wine is made from 100% Sagrantino grapes, a variety grown only in this area. The wine has to be aged in barrels for at least a year and can only be released 36 months after the harvest.

Montefalco Rosso is usually cheaper than Sagrantino, it has DOC status and is a blend of Sangiovese, Sagrantino and sometimes Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

There are many other superb red wines made outside these DOCG zones and again, the less well known an area is, the lower the price. Besides the usual Sangiovese blends many vineyards are producing superb "Super Umbrian" wines made with grapes not normally associated with the area.

White Wine

Orvieto Classico is the most famous white wine from Umbria, it's made from a blend of local white grape varieties and there are some really great wines being made. Most producers in Umbria make at least one white, often with Grechetto or Trebbiano grapes.

Winery Tours

If you are in the north of Umbria, the Cantina di Girasole near Umbertide runs an excellent tour in English. The winery is right on the Tuscany Umbria border and the tour includes a visit to the cantina, vineyards, wine tasting and dinner, in 2009, it's priced at €25 a head. [ Winery Tour, Tuscany Umbria] Border

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

UMBRIA ('Ot.e(percrl), the name of an ancient and a modern .district of Italy.

I. The ancient district was bounded in the period of the Roman supremacy by the Ager Gallicus (in a line with Ravenna) on the N., by Etruria (the Tiber) on the W., by the Sabine territory on the S. and by Picenum on the E. The Via Flaminia passed up through it from Ocriculum to Ariminum; along it lay the important towns of Narnia (Narni) Carsulae, Mevania (Bevagna), Forum Flaminii, Nuceria Camellaria (Nocera) and Forum Sempronii; and on the Adriatic coast Fanum Fortunae (Fano) and Pisaurum (Pesaro). To the east lay Interamna (Terni), Spoletium (Spoleto), Fulginium (Foligno - on a branch of the Via Flaminia which left the main road at Varina and rejoined it at Forum Flaminii) and the important town of Camerinum on the side of the Apennines towards Picenum. On the side towards Etruria lay Ameria (Amelia) and Tuder (Todi), both on the direct road from Rome to Perusia,' Iguvium, which occupied a very advantageous position close to the main pass through the Apennines, and Hispellum (Spello). Not far off was Assisium (Assisi), whilst far to the north in the mountains lay Sarsina. Under the empire it formed the sixth region of Italy. In earlier times it embraced a far larger area. Herodotus (iv. 49) describes it as extending to the Alps, and the irEpiobos ascribed to Scylax (a treatise which embodies material of the 4th century B.C. or earlier) makes Umbria conterminous with Samnium. Furthermore, place-names of undoubted Umbrian origin abound in Etruria and are also found in the Po valley. Thus in the early days of Italian history Umbria may be taken as having extended over the greater part of northern and central Italy.

The name Umbria is derived from the Umbri, one of the chief constituent stocks of the Italian nation. The origin and ethnic affinities of the Umbrians are still in some degree a matter of dispute, but their language proves them to have been an Aryan people closely allied with the Oscans and in a remoter degree with the Latins. Archaeological considerations further show with approximate certainty that the Umbri are to be identified with the creators of the Terramara, and probably also of the Villanova, culture in northern and central Italy, who at the beginning of the Bronze Age displaced the original Ligurian population by an invasion from the north-east. From the time and starting-point of their migrations, as well as from their type of culture, it may be provisionally inferred that the Umbrians were cognate with the Achaeans of prehistoric Greece. Pliny's statement (iii. 13, 19) that they were the most ancient race of Italy may certainly be rejected.

The process by which the Umbrians were deprived of their predominance in upper and central Italy and restricted to their confines of historic times cannot be traced in any detail. A tradition declares that their easternmost territory in the region of Ancona was wrested from them by the Picentes, a branch of the Sabine stock. It may also be conjectured that they were partly displaced in the valley of the Po by the Gaulish tribes which began to pour across the Alps from about 500 B.C. But their chief enemies were undoubtedly the Etruscans. These invaders, whose encroachments can be determined by archaeological evidence as proceeding from the western seaboard towards the north and east, and as lasting from about 700 to 500 B.C., eventually drove the Umbrians into that upland tract athwart the Apennines to which the name of Umbria belonged in historical times. In the course of this struggle the Etruscans are said to have captured 300 Umbrian towns. Nevertheless the Umbrian element of population does not seem to have been eradicated in the conquered districts. Strabo records a tradition that the Umbrians recovered their ground in the plain of the Po at the expense of the Etruscans, and states that the colonies subsequently founded in this region by the Romans contained large Umbrian contingents. In Etruria proper the persistence of the Umbrian stock is indicated by the survival of numerous Umbrian place-names, and by the record of Urnbrian soldiers taking part in Etruscan enterprises, e.g. the 1 The geographers make this road go round by Vettona (mod. Bettona) between Tuder and Perusia, instead of following the more direct modern line.

attack on Cumae in 524 B.C. Indeed it is not unlikely that the bulk of the population in Etruria continued to be of Umbrian origin, and that the Romanization of this country was facilitated by the partial absorption of the Etruscan conquerors into the Umbrian multitude.

Against the Romans the Umbrians never fought any wars of importance, a fact which may be explained partly by the remoteness of their position, but chiefly by the common hostility of the two nations to the Etruscans. After the downfall of the Etruscan power they made a belated attempt to aid their Samnite kinsmen in their decisive struggle against Rome (308 B.C.); but their communications with Samnium were impeded by the foundation of a Roman fortress at Narnia (298 B.C.), and at the great battle of Sentinum (295 B.C.), which was fought in their own territory, the Umbrians are not reported to have lent the Samnites any substantial help. It is perhaps on account of this defection that in 200 B.C. they received from the Romans a portion of the Ager Gallicus reconquered from the Senonian Gauls. They offered no opposition to the construction of the Via Flaminia through the heart of their country, and in the Second Punic War withheld all assistance from Hannibal. In the Social War (90-89 B.C.), they joined the rebels tardily and were among the first to make their peace with Rome. Henceforth the Umbrians no longer played an independent part in Italian history.

The material prosperity of Umbria, in spite of its unfavourable position for commercial intercourse, was relatively great, owing to the fertility of the numerous small valleys which intersect the Apennine system in this region. The chief products of the soil were olives, vines and spelt; the uplands harboured the choicest boars of Italy. In Pliny's time there still existed in Umbria 49 independent communities, and the abundance of inscriptions and the high proportion of recruits furnished to the imperial army attest its continued populousness. Among its most famous natives were the poets Plautus (b. at Sarsina) and Propertius (b. at Assisi).

Of the Umbrians' political and municipal organization little is known. In addition to the city (iota) they seem to have had a larger territorial division in the tribus (trifu, acc.) as we gather from Livy (xxxi. 2, "per Umbriam quam tribum Sapiniam vocant"; cf. xxxiii. 37) and from the Eugubine Tables ("trifor Tarsinates," vi. B. 54). Ancient authors describe the Umbrians as leading effeminate lives, and as closely resembling their Etruscan enemies in their habits (Theopompus, Fragm. 142; Pseudo-Scymnus, 366-368). It is almost certain that each race influenced and modified the other to a large extent. There is conclusive proof of strong Etruscan influences in Umbria. For instance, they undoubtedly borrowed their alphabet and the art of writing from the Etruscans. Their writing ran from right to left. The alphabet consisted of nineteen letters. It had no separate symbols for 0, G, Q; the aspirates and X were wanting; on the other hand, it possessed forms for Z and V, and had likewise the Etruscan f (8). It also had a symbol peculiar to itself for expressing the sound of palatal k when followed by either e or i. The fact that it is only in towns on the side next Etruria, e.g. Tuder and Iguvium, that a coinage is found indicates that they borrowed the art of minting from that quarter. The Umbrians counted their day from noon to noon. But whether they borrowed this likewise from the Etruscans we do not know (Pliny ii. 77). In their measuring of land they employed the vorsus, a measure common to them and the Oscans (Frontinus, De Limit. p. 30), 33 of which went to the Roman jugerum. See Strabo bk. v.; T. E. Peet, The Stone and Bronze Ages of Italy and Sicily (Oxford, 1909), pp. 492-510; B. V. Head, Historia numorum (Oxford, 1887); B. Nissen, Italische Lande.skunde; Biicheler, Umbrica (1883); R. S. Conway, Italic Dialects. (M. O. B. C.) 2. The modern territorial division is situated in the middle of the peninsula, between Tuscany and the Marches on the N. and E., and Rome and the Abruzzi on the S. and W., and comprising the one province of Perugia, with an area of 3748 sq. m.; pop. (1901), 675,352. Umbria and the two provinces of Ancona and Pesaro and Urbino taken together form an area slightly XXVII. 19.

more extensive than that of the sixth region of Augustus. The surface is mountainous, but affords good pasture, and there are numerous fertile valleys. Many treasures of art and architecture are preserved, and Umbria is in this respect one of the most interesting regions of Italy (see Perugia). Modern Umbria formed down to 1860 a part of the States of the Church.

Two main lines of railway run through the territory. That from Florence to Rome skirts the borders of the province on the west, running north and south, while the Rome-Ancona runs across the province from north-east to south-west. The cross communication is given by three branch lines. In the north a narrow gauge line from Arezzo to Fossato passes through Gubbio. Perugia, the capital of the province, stands on the line from Terontola to Foligno, while on the extreme south a line passing through Rieti and Aquila, and ultimately reaching Sulmona, starts from Terni on the RomeAncona line. (T. As.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:




Proper noun




  1. A region of central Italy.




Proper noun

Umbria f

  1. Umbria

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Simple English

Flag Coat of arms
File:Flag of [[Image:|75px|Coat of arms of Umbria]]
File:Italy Regions Umbria
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Country Italy
Capital Perugia
President Maria Rita Lorenzetti (Democratic Party)
Basic statistics
Area  8,456 km² (3,265 sq mi)
(Ranked 16th, 2.8 %)
Population 884,450 (12/2007)
(Ranked 17th, 1.5 %)
 - Density 105 /km² (271 /sq mi)
Other information
GDP/ Nominal € 20.6 billion (2006)

Umbria is a region in center Italy. The capital is Perugia. The population was about 815.000 in 2004.


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