This day trip is to discover the real Italy, far away from the modern highways and large cities, where small ancient villages are waiting to be discovered in the heart of the Umbrian countryside and the town of Assisi and Orvieto. Enjoy one day long retreat through the Umbrian countryside with quaint medieval towns dotted along your route.
Assisi is an oasis of art and architecture and home of Saint Francis, one of Italy’s most loved saints. Stretches out on the slopes of the Monte Subasio, above the plain where the Topino and Chiascio rivers flow. Although it can boast Roman origins, its present-day appearance, because of the buildings and also the urban structure, is surely due to the city’s development during the Middle Ages. The most important site is the Basilica of St. Francis where the saint himself is buried. On the Town Square situated on the ancient Forum, you will find the Priors’ Palace (1337), the Palace of the People’s Captain (12th century) and the temple of Minerva, built during the augustan period with pronaos, columms and corinthian capitals which are still intact.
All those who have the good luck of visiting this splendid town have to agree with who says that the beauty of town goes beyond a short, and necessarily incomplete list of works of art more or less extraordinary, but is however to be found in the atmosphere of places which the story and the faith of the Saint have rendered unique all over the world.
Orvieto origins back to the Etruscan times, going back to the 9th Century B.C. Annexed in the 3rd Century B.C. to the territories of Rome, it remained under the Roman domination until the decline of the Western Roman Empire. After which it became a free municipality, and during the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines, was a valiant opponent of Barbarossa, remaining faithful to the Pope. Riding on the support of the Papal State, it was allowed to prosper through the entire Medieval Period, reaching the top of its development in the 13th Century with the constitution of the General Council of the 400 and the election of the Captain of the People.
It was during this period that one saw the fervent work of erecting palaces and holy buildings among which the very famous Cathedral stands out, dating back to 1263, undoubtedly the most important architectural landmark of the city, with its splendid Gothic facing and the richness of the ornaments and internal chapels.
During your day you have also time for a bit of wine tasting in either Assisi or Orvieto to have a complete understanding of this region before heading back to Rome in the late afternoon.