Umbria is named for an ancient group of peoples known as the Umbri. Along with the Etruscans, they inhabited the region and made the most of its natural resources [source: ItalianMade]. As with many regions in Italy, Umbria was conquered by the Romans in 295 B.C. After the Roman Empire collapsed, the region was no stranger to invaders. Eventually, the Longobards took control and held onto Umbria until the 16th century, when Pope Paul III brought Umbria into the fold of the Roman Catholic Church. Umbria enjoyed this status until the unification of Italy in the mid-1800s [sources: UmbriaItaly, Trips2Italy].
Two stunning cathedrals are located in the region, the Basilica di San Francesco (Assisi), and Orvieto Cathedral (Orvieto). Both were first under construction in the 1200s and honor notable people in the Roman Catholic Church: Saint Francis (who began the Franciscan order of monks) and a visiting priest who is said to have experienced a miracle [source: Italian Cooking & Living]. Catholic cultural traditions mingle with pagan history and rural pride. Events include music festivals, religious celebrations, culinary events and sports competitions. The most popular events celebrate chestnuts, chocolate, jazz, Catholic holidays and the olive oil harvest [sources: Discovering Umbria, Delicious Italy].
The culture of Umbria is well-represented by multiple museums. Located throughout the region, they hold ancient and modern treasures:
- National Gallery (Perugia)
- National Archaeological Museum of Umbria (Perugia)
- Gallery of Contemporary Art (Spoleto)
- Civic Museum (Gubbio)
- Archaeological Museum (Folgino)
- Pinacoteca Civica (Folgino)
Now let's head to wine country. Read on to learn about Umbria's agriculture and wine production.