Mar 13th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Visit Home of St Francis of Assisi

The local paper in the Valley (AZ Republic) had a recent article on Umbria: The Green Heart of Italy.  I like “green hearts” and nature so this blog will focus on an area that I have not visited, but would like to. I invite seniors to check it out. Umbria is covered by forests of chestnut trees and a lush and richly stocked flora and fauna. Umbria is located in Central Italy, bordered by Tuscany to the west, the Marche to the east and Lazio to the south. Its relief is dominated by the Apennines to the east — accounting for the highest point in the region at the summit of Monte Vettore on the border of the Marche (2476 m =  8123 ft) — and the Tiber valley basin, accounting for the lowest point at Attigliano (96 m = 315 ft). Umbria is one of the 20 Regions of Italy. The capital is Perugia, a notable artistic center of Italy.  The best cites to visit are numerous.

Umbria is less than three hours from Rome.  The principal attractions here include the cathedral in Orvieto, the home of St. Francis in Assisi.  The immense basilica built in his memory is a major pilgrimage site and a marvel of ornate frescoes, including Giotto’s “The Life of St. Francis.” Here you must dress modestly, no shorts or tank tops or you’ll be turned away.  And San Sisto, home of Baci hazelnut chocolates. Senior visitors, the chocolate may be reason enough to come and check out the sites. Perugia hosts the annual Eurochocolate Festival, held in October.

Seniors Discover Fortified Medieval Village

The article notes that Umbria plays the subtly gorgeous girl next-door to its more famous neighbor, Tuscany. This photo shows why it is so inviting.  It reminds me a great deal of the village called Gordes, in Provence.  I have told my wife many times…”If you can’t find me… look for me in Provence!”  What else might one expect from a former teacher of French who loves Provence?

Monte Santa Maria Tiberina (Monte) is a fortified village atop a hill and is recognizable from afar night and day by its watchtower and castle. You catch a glimpse of this wonderful view emerging from behind a hill or around a bend in the road long before you reach it… in fact, the intriguing hilltop is nestled in a green mantle of woods. This picturesque medieval village slumbers undisturbed in the arms of its castle walls. The lovely entranceway is watched over by the Madonna of Monte, to whom the village has been dedicated ever since its origin. Monte Santa Maria Tiberina used to be the ancient stronghold of the Bourbon Marquesses of Monte and, given its strategic position between the lands of Tuscany and those of the Papal State, has had a rather eventful past.

TripAdvisor has many suggestions for seniors such as the top-rated hotels, B&Bs, best things to do and great restaurants. If you like to cook, there seem to be many opportunities here. Frommers combines Umbria with Tuscany. If you have time, take in this 189 photo slideshow by Frommers. Ciao!  jeb

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