Cultural cities & charming villages
Usually you will find yourself looking up, if you tour around Umbria. Because many of the charming little towns are situated on top of a hill. This strategical position now offers modern tourists the most beautiful views of the area. Take your time to stroll around the small roads and discover, just like us: La vita in Umbria è bella!
Città della Pieve
Only 6 kilometres from Casa San Carlo, you will find the lovely small city Città della Pieve, where the painter Pietro Vannucci, also known as Perugino, was born. This Renaissance painter was the teacher of the young Rafaël. His work is at display in many places in Città della Pieve, one of which is of course the cathedral of the city in the main square.
Città della Pieve has many small streets and typical charming alleys, many fine restaurants, cafés and outdoor terraces, small shops and enoteca's. You can also do your grocery shopping there (there are a number of supermarkets) and there is an ATM machine.
Perugia is the capital of Umbria, and consists of two parts: the old city on top of the hill, and the newer and lower part of town, which is its business centre. Perugia lies at a distance of 40 kilometres of Casa San Carlo.
Perugia looks like many other mideaval cities, but is known for its modern and lively 'cosmopolitan' inhabitants. A lot of foreign students take their summer course Italian language at the Università per Stragnieri ( the University for Foreigners). Each year in July, Perugia is the stage for an international jazzfestival which many famous musicians attend.
At the Piazza IV Novembre, at the top of the main street Corso Vannucci, you'll find the two main monuments of Perugia: the Palazzo dei Priori and the Fontana Maggiore, dating back to the year 1278. The Palazzo dei Priori houses the impressive Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria. Perugia is a beautiful, fun and interesting place to visit, it has numerous designer shops and a weekly market (Saturday). There are many good restaurants and plenty of ice cream shops!
Assisi hardly needs an introduction. This world-famous city has been a tourist magnet since centuries. From Casa San Carlo you can reach Assisi in 70 minutes by car. Thousands of people come here every year to admire the frescoes of the young Giotto in the Basilica of San Francesco and to visit the grave of Santa Chiara, St. Claire. The life of Francis is still, 800 years after his death, a source of inspiration for many believers. The non-believers are also fascinated by the city, not least because of the impressive fortress that towers high above the city and gives a beautiful view over the valley
The medieval town of Orvieto – 25 kilometers from Casa San Carlo - is built on a tuff plateau. The road winds all the way up into the center. The old town with the magnificent cathedral ('Duomo', which you can reach by bus from the station) has hardly changed during the past 500 years. The beautiful Duomo dates from 1290, but was only completed 300 years later. The facade is 52 meters long and shows a beautiful rose-window and colorful mosaics. Inside the cathedral itself is the Chapel of Madonna di San Brizio with striking frescoes by Luca Signorelli. It is known as one of the most beautiful cathedrals of Italy, together with the Duomo of Siena.
In addition to the cathedral, there are many other churches and bell towers to visit. You can take a very unique ‘underground tour’ through the cellars of the city, constructed by the Etruscans, centories ago. Throughout the years, these caves have had many different functions, a guide will tell you alla bout it!
Orvieto is also a welcoming city with many small shops, restaurants and magnificent views over the valley. Its famous and delicious white wine is called Orvieto Classico Superiore!
In the winter – at the end of December or in early January - the Umbria Jazz Winter Festival takes place in Orvieto. This is the winter version of the Jazz Festival of Perugia.
San Casciano dei Bagni
San Casciano dei Bagni is also known as "Uno dei borghi più belli d'Italia": together with other small villages like Cetona and Panicale is named as ‘One of the pretiest villages of Italy’. You can reach it from Casa San Carlo within 30 minutes by car.
It is well-known for the 42 hot water springs that were discovered by the Etruscans and further developed by the Romans. Nowaways the Fonteverde Spa Resort uses some of these hot water springs for their outdoor swimming pool. But you can also walk into the woods and enjoy the hot water springs like the Romans did: take a bath in the open air!
The old centre offers you small cobbled streets and alleys that lead up tot he city hall. The Santa Maria della Colonna Church, just outside the village, dates back to the 5th Century. From the Castle of Fighine, 4 kilometers away from San Casciano, you have a tremendous view of the Val di Chiana (Chiana Valley) and you can even see as far as the Appenines.
Montepulciano is a only half an hour drive from Casa San Carlo (20 kilometers). Sometimes it is called ‘the 16th Century Pearl’. The Piazza Grande with its beautiful Renaissance buildings attracts many tourists – and while they are there they of course drink the famous Vino Nobile (red wine).
Nearby, you will find, Pienza, another lovely little town. You will probably recognise the scenery between Montepucliano to Pienza from the typical Tuscan postcards: if you do not like cipresses, don’t take this route! Pienza is the city of the Pecorino cheese: make sure you order a nice cheese plateau with a glass of red wine!
After a one hour drive from Casa San Carlo you’ll reach Siena. You can never get tired of this famous city! The unbelievably beautiful main Piazza, the cathedral, the nice shops, the Palio horse race in August… it’s worth a visit. But make sure you don’t go there when it is too hot.
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