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»» Christmas in Umbria: Things To Do

Living Nativity Scenes are among the major attractions for visitors Umbria has to offer during the Christmas season. Visitors have a chance to experience the flavour of a real Christmas of the past when visiting one of the many historic towns and villages in Umbria featuring living Nativity Scenes.

Gubbio's Christmas Tree

Among the medieval towns hosting a Nativity Scene worth to see, are Corciano (just 10km from Perugia) and Gubbio.
Gubbio, which boasts a wealth of Christmas traditions and historic sites to visit, also has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for having the largest Christmas tree in the world.
It is not a real tree, it is a mountain — Mount Ingino — which through Christmas decorations takes the shape of a Christmas tree (800-metre high, 400-metre wide tree). There are 12 kilometres of extensive Christmas decorations illuminating all the way running from the center of the town to up the slopes of Mount Ingino.

Those who love good music,should consider a visit to Orvieto.
This historic hill town, one of the most visited historic centers in Umbria, offers a major jazz festival, Umbria Jazz Winter, from Dec 28 through Jan 1st.
Umbria Jazz Winter is the sister event of Perugia’s summer jazz festival. Visitors can enjoy afternoon and evening concerts, jazz lunches and dinners and many more jazz events also including a New Year’s Day ceremonial mass in the cathedral featuring a gospel choir.


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»» Where To Buy White Truffle in Umbria and The Marches

Those who are looking to buy white truffle while visiting Italy, should not miss some major truffle events taking place between late October and November.
A number of truffle festivals and fairs, held in October and November in the most important areas of the country for truffle hunting, offer the best chance to buy the most valuable of the tubers.

This piece of advice is for people who are visiting Rome or tourist areas in Umbria and Marche — those who are visiting Piedmont or surrounding areas in Northern Italy can visit the Alba International White Truffle Fair and the many more minor festivals taking places in the area (here you can find out more about it).

In Umbria, just a day trip away from Rome, you have a major truffle fair in Gubbio, worldwide well known travel destination because is one of the historic centers most visited in Umbria.
The annual fair, “Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco e dei prodotti agro-alimentari“, starts late October (2011 edition goes from Oct. 28 to Nov 1st). The program for the 2011 Gubbio’s truffle fair is here.

Just a few km from Gubbio, you have “Il tartufo bianco“, another major truffle fair, taking place in the Renaissance town of Città di Castello. The fair, featuring an important white truffle market, is held early November (2011 edition goes from Nov. 4 through 6. Here you find the 2011 program).

If you cross the Apennines mountain chain, around 50 km away from Città di Castello, in the Marches, you have “Fiera Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco Pregiato di Acqualagna” — the National Acqualagna White Truffle Fair — held in the town of Acqualagna.
Located at the heart of one of the most important areas for truffle-hunting in Italy, Acqualagna hosts one of the two most important truffle fairs held in the country.
The fair starts the last week of October and goes on the first two week-ends of November. You can find the program for the 2011 fair here.


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»» Major Historic Festivals in Umbria: Ceri Festival in Gubbio

The medieval town of Gubbio, in Umbria, hosts its “Festa dei Ceri” festival on May 15.

The festival reaches its climax with the Ceri race — the festival is also known as Corsa dei Ceri (The Ceri Race). The event, that may appear weird to visitors, is surrounded by an incredible festive spirit. Below a video of Corsa dei Ceri.

When: May 15 (annual)
Where: Gubbio (Umbria)


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»» Planning Day Trips From Umbria to Siena

Many people vacationing in Umbria usually tend to consider Siena as a destination to plan a day trip.

However, Siena is not so well connected to Umbria by public transport, so a day trip from the towns of Umbria — Perugia, Assisi, Gubbio, Todi etc… — would not be a so good idea.

Siena

As an example, traveling from Perugia to Siena — the shortest and best connected route you could consider when planning a trip to Siena from Umbria — it will take you 3 to 4 hours if you make the trip by train, also requiring you to change a couple of trains.

Better if you go by bus. A bus trip from Perugia to Siena will take you one and half hours.
However the timetable does not fit your trip needs. Bus leaves Perugia 5.30PM. For return trip, it leaves Siena at 11.40 AM.
That means you’ll have to spend a night in Siena — or in Umbria if you are planning a day trip in the opposite direction.

Bottom line: a day trip to Siena from Umbria is not a possibility.


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»» Major Historic Festivals in Italy: Festa dei Ceri in Gubbio

If you happen to be visiting Umbria in May, the “Festa dei Ceri” is an event not to be missed. It’s a festival also known as Corsa dei Ceri — Ceri race — held on May 15 in the medieval town of Gubbio, in Umbria.

It offers a chance to visit one of the best preserved historic towns in Italy, while also attending a very spectacular and exuberant ritual.

The festival reaches its climax with the Ceri race, when three teams of 20 fit men assemble amidst complex ritual procedures to race three heavy wooden statues on palanques up through the city to the cathedral on top of Mount Ingino.
(View a video of Ceri Race of Gubbio)

When: May 15 (annual)
Where: Gubbio (Umbria)
- View Gubbio on the map.


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