Located at the heart of the scenic Apennine Mountains, Umbria is the smallest, least populous and most sparsely populated region in Central Italy. The region is named after the Umbri, an ancient Italic tribe absorbed by the expansion of the Romans.
Umbria is one of the wildest Italian regions, an idyllic blend of lush rolling hills and forested mountains enjoying a similar climate to that of Tuscany, and dotted with immaculate Medieval towns. Umbria has no industry and few famous natives, apart from Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Italy, after whom San Francisco in California was named.
The region's three top destinations are the beautifully preserved historic towns of Assisi and Orvietto and the university town of Perugia, but Umbria has many more great places to explore. The main natural attraction is the Marmore Falls, the tallest man-made waterfalls in the world, and the flower fields of the Monti Sibillini National Park.
Forget about seafood in this landlocked region. Here everything is about a good roasting with olive oil and herbs. Traditional dishes are heavy on game (wild boar, hare, pheasant, goose, pigeon) and sausages. Frogs and snails are local delicacies. Norcia is particularly renowned for its black truffles, but also for its cheeses (pecorino) and cured meat products (prociutto di Norcia, budellaccio di Norcia, mazzafegati). The Tiber and Lake Trasimeno are rich sources of freshwater fish such as trouts, perches, pikes, carps, eels, barbels, graylings, and tenches.
Typical Umbrian dishes include agnello scottadito (grilled lamb chops), fagiano in salmì (sautéed pheasant sliced and reheated in sauce), galantina (boneless chicken stuffed with beef, boiled eggs, cheese, pistachios, nutmeg and pepper), piccione alla ghiotta (roasted pigeon with the entrails cooked in a sauce), and porchetta (a fatty boneless pork roasted with herbs). Common varieties of pasta are strangozzi (shaped like shoelaces; typically eaten with truffles), pappardelle (wide tagliatelle), umbricelli (thick spaghetti), and cappelletti (a sort of tortellini).
Umbria has 14 DOC wines, 70% of which are produced in the province of Orvieto. The region is mostly renowned for its white wines, although its two DOCG, Sagrantino di Montefalco and Torgiano Rosso Riserva, are red wines, and both from the province of Perugia.