Behind these walls a lost world is hidden. Around its cities an autumn of thousand colours is in blossom. This is Umbria for me.
I’m a stranger to Italy and have to admit, not without being ashamed of it, that this is one of those Italian regions the notion of which never produced any effect on me. The reason for it is very simple: I didn’t know anything about it. But things change, it does happen at times, and it did happen to me: I fell in love with the Umbrian autumn, the perfect time of the year to visit this part of Italy.
It is a world that lives its own life and, changing constantly, remains the same. It is like a boat in the middle of a vast lake of deep mysterious waters. The boat is there, you can see it, but it is beyond your reach. And nobody knows how the boat got there and why and whether it is going to be back to the shore or not. The boat stays there, so distant, so lonely, almost an illusion. Like medieval Umbrian boroughs that seem a mystic reflection of the long gone past, lost for so many years but so alive behind these grayish walls.
This is the land for those who search for peace. It is not about relaxation or having fun, it’s all about the peace of thoughts and emotions, the peace that has the flavour of autumn, Umbria’s synonym season.
It is here that forests still breathe in some fresh air. It is here that rocky hills look at themselves in the infinite blue of the sky. It is here that burning sunset illuminates the olive gardens not disturbed by nasty winds. It is here that life flows without noise, covered with scents and colours of mother-nature, governed by that invisible ancient force, unknown and inexplicable, the force that carries the boat to the middle of the lake of dark and at the same time clear waters.
The borough. It is the centre of the city’s life and activity, the meeting point, the place where vital decisions are taken and inspiration is found. It is a net of paths that cross each other for centuries, run up and fall down, it is where there is a never-heard story hidden behind every corner. It is where every crossroads offers the infinity of choices never easy to make.
The borough is the heart, the constant, the point of reference, a box of thousand entrances, exits and contents, the nucleus of wisdom and the cause of every mistake. It is life and it is destruction. It’s the tomb of the past that gives immortality. It is the very paradox of existence.
The medieval Umbrian borough is to discover, it is to admire. It has the spirit of autumn, the same magical vibration, the same overwhelming calm and sincere beauty. Umbria is even more beautiful wearing those colours of autumn: the gold of numerous churches, the red of the fire in the fireplace of a paternal house, the brown of fertile fields, the green of hunting forests and the blue of the deepest sky. It’s like a poem written a while ago that it seems to you to have read before and loved forever.
Umbria is the land of many secrets, all to discover and share with the entire world.
Special thanks to Machs Gut © for the pictures he took during our trips to Bevagna, Assisi, Perugia, Spoleto, Gubbio e Todi.