ABOUT THE ITALIAN REGION OF UMBRIA
Umbria is one of the twenty Regions of Italy. Surrounded by Toscana, Lazio, Le Marche and Abruzzo, it is located right in the middle of Italy - north and south, east and west.
With a population of under a million, Umbria is one of the least-densely-populated regions of Italy. The largest city, Perugia, accounts for a very large proportion of the population, leaving the rest of the Region reasonably sparsely populated.
The Tiber runs through the centre of Umbria, roughly north south, on its way down to Rome. On either side of the Tiber, for quite a few kilometres in both directions is a flat plain which is bordered on both sides by mountains, many of which are topped by medieval villages with their trademark cathedral spires piercing the clouds.
Umbria fairly drips with history, a lot of it, especially that of the Umbro-Oscans and Etruscans, lost owing to the ravages of time and invading conquerors. Nevertheless, what is left, especially that handed down from the Middle Ages, is amazing, whether you find it in the headline cities such as Assisi, Perugia or Orvieto or in quiet, unassuming villages such as Montone, Trevi, Piegaro or Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, to name but a few.
One often hears that 'Umbria is the new Tuscany'. Certainly, tourism in Umbria has increased in the past few years, as Tuscany has become more expensive, but the typical Umbrian countryside with its beautiful mountains flanking the plains is very different to the typical rolling hillocks of Tuscany. And, of course, the people of Umbria are generally a bit friendlier and more wedded to the old ways, with agriculture, horticulture and viticulture being still vitally important aspects of the local economy.