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Umbria, The Secret land of Italy


Umbria would seem to go almost unnoticed alongside its insolent neighbor, Tuscany, which devours its regional tourism. However, Umbria - authentic and somewhat secret - dazzles with its rural, its mountainous and very green environment, crossed by the mythical Tiber and dotted with numerous natural parks. These are the sublime landscapes celebrated by Renaissance painters, from which some millenary cities and ancient fortified villages emerge, where it seems to have remained in the Middle Ages. The Umbria of art will not disappoint you, and on this journey you will also meet one of the most famous Italian artists: Giotto.



"I was born in a family of farmers who owned land and animals in Tuscany. As a child, I spent my days in the fields, looking after the sheep. It was there that I discovered my passion for painting. I would take a piece of charcoal and delight in running it over the stone until I drew an 'O', without ever lifting my hand.


One day, while I was sitting on a stone, I decided to paint one of the sheep I was looking after; I must say that it came out beautifully, so much so that the artist Cimabue, who would later become my teacher, was there by chance, and noticed my work and called me to his workshop in Florence.

I learned so much that, as they say, I surpassed my master... and here I am today, in Assisi, in the magnificent Basilica dedicated to the Saint, painting his life.

I must say that I put a lot of effort into all twenty-eight frescoes, but my two favourites are The Preaching to the Birds and The Gift of the Cloak. In the first one, which I set in a clear spring, where the blossoming trees can be touched, you see birds opening their beaks, flying over Francis' tunic. One would expect them to take flight, leaving the portrait. In the second fresco, I decided to use a lot of orange and red, warm colours that give light to the painting; the cloak given by the saint is red, like his heart.


Even though my fame has taken off in recent years, I always want to keep my humility, following the example of the saint of Assisi.


An Italian art historian, engaged in the restoration of the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi, discovered the figure of a devil hidden in the details of the clouds in a fresco painted by Giotto in the 13th century ...

By Simonetta, author of the tour "Umbrian horizons. Spiritus Antiquitatis."



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