Umbria

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Regione Umbria
Image:Umbria flag.gif
Capital Perugia
President Maria Rita Lorenzetti
(DS-Union)
Provinces Perugia
Terni
Comuni 92
Area 8,456 km²
 - Ranked 16th (2.8 %)
Population (2006 est.)
 - Total

 - Ranked
 - Density


867,878
17th (1.5 %)
103/km²
Image:Umbira Heart of Italy.jpg
Map highlighting the location of Umbria in Italy

Umbria is a region of central Italy, bordered by Tuscany to the west, the Marche to the east and Lazio to the south. The region covers 8,456 km² and has a population of 867,878(2006 census).

The region is named for the Umbri tribe, who settled in the region in the 6th century BC. Their language was Umbrian, a relative of Latin. The modern region of Umbria, however, is essentially a different region of Italy than that bearing the same name in Roman times (see Roman Umbria), which extended through most of what is now the northern Marche, to Ravenna, but excluded the west bank of the Tiber — and thus for example Perugia — which was in Etruria, and the area around Norcia, which was in the Sabine territory.

Contents

[edit] Geography

Umbria is mostly hilly or mountainous. Its relief is dominated by the Apennines to the east — accounting for the highest point in the region at the summit of Mt. 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).

The Tiber forms the approximate border with the Lazio; although the remainder of its course northwards from its source just over the Tuscan border does lie in Umbria, the river is mercurial and thus over the centuries very few towns have been situated on it: the Tiber itself thus is not a major factor in the history and human geography of Umbria. The same cannot be said of the Tiber's three principal tributaries, each flowing in a generally southward course: they are responsible for much of the landscape of Umbria. Most of the course of the Chiascio takes it through relatively uninhabited areas until Bastia Umbra, and about 10 km later it flows into the Tiber at Torgiano. The Topino, cleaving the Apennines with passes that in Antiquity made the Via Flaminia possible and the main successor roads even today, makes a sharp turn at Foligno to flow NW for a few miles before joining the Chiascio below Bettona. The third river system is that of the Nera, flowing into the Tiber much further south, at Terni: its valley, called the Valnerina, is widely considered by Umbrians the most scenic area of Umbria. While the Nera flows more or less in isolation between rather high mountains, the lower course of the Chiascio-Topino basin widens out into a fairly large floodplain, which in Antiquity was actually a pair of shallow, interlocking, swamp-like lakes, the Lacus Clitorius and the Lacus Umber. They were drained a first time by the Romans over a span of several hundred years, but an earthquake in the 4th century and the political collapse of the Roman Empire resulted in the reflooding of the basin, which was drained a second time over a span of five hundred years: Benedictine monks from various abbeys in the region started the process in the 13th century, and it was completed on the private initiative of an engineer from Foligno in the 18th century.

Image:UmbriaPanorama.jpg
A panorama of Umbria

[edit] The "green heart of Italy"

In tourist literature one sometimes sees Umbria called il cuor verde d'Italia (the green heart of Italy). The phrase, taken from a poem by Giosuè Carducci — the subject of which is not Umbria but rather a specific small place in it, the source of the Clitunno river, treasured since Antiquity as a beauty spot — is to a certain extent appropriate since the modern administrative region is the only one to have neither a coast nor a border with a foreign country, and, except for August and September, is notoriously green.

[edit] Provinces and towns

Image:Umbria Provinces.png
Provinces of Umbria

The regional capital is Perugia. The region is divided into two provinces: Perugia, with 59 comuni, and Terni, with 33 comuni.

Notable towns and cities:

[edit] Archaeological sites and ruins

[edit] The People of Umbria

The physical characteristics of the Umbrian people are what scholars believe[citation needed] to be very close to those of the ancient people of the Italian peninsula. While Umbria, like most of Italy has had a turbulent past. Most of Umbria’s conflicts were with neighboring rival communities. Due to the construction of hilltop towns, outside invaders were rare[citation needed]. The lack of ports have also allowed Umbrians to remain unaffected by sea traders[citation needed], resulting in a homogeneous people[citation needed].

[edit] External links


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