Umbria Blog | The caves of Monte Cucco

Many people know the famous caves of Frasassi in the Marche. These are impressive caves visited by many tourists during their holiday in the Marche or in Umbria.

Not many people know that also Umbria has some beautiful caves: the caves of Monte Cucco. The mountain ‘Monte Cucco’ is located in the natural park of Monte Cucco where in the valley are the villages of Fossato di Vico, Sigillo, Costacciaro and Scheggia. This is a beautiful area that is less known and has many opportunities for active holidaymakers.

We visited the caves, but you can also go hang gliding, trekking, canyoning, cycling, horseback riding and more. You can find a lot of information on the website of the park: Discover Monte Cucco.

For the more adventurous tourists the caves are well worth the effort. You need to be fit and healthy and will have to bring good walking shoes and warm clothing. After a walk uphill from about 2 km you arrive at the entrance to the caves where you enter via long and steep stairs descending into the caves. There is a constant temperature of 6 °C and the humidity is 90°.

It is a beautiful experience and impressive to quite literally walk in a mountain where also others left their traces throughout the centuries. There is an inscription found from the 15th century. Today one walks through the caves which are lit and where stairs and bridges are made to be able to pass the most difficult tracks, but at the time one only had a torch and ropes …

We did the “Discovery Trail”, but you can also walk a longer route and even have an introduction to caving. You will be accompanied by experienced guides and can make a reservation via the website: https://www.grottamontecucco.umbria.it

The Discovery Trail you can do without a reservation. In June and September on Saturdays and Sundays and in July and August every day, at 10 am and at 3 pm. At the parking lot is a information kiosk from where a guide leaves for the caves. Also read the instructions on the cave’s web site underneath the price list.

We had problems to find the place, but in the end, it’s easy to find. About halfway the village of Sigillo is a road up the mountain. Somewhat hidden is a brown sign that points to the Monte Cucco. Go up the mountain and keep driving. If you’re near the top, there is a road to the right which you do not take but keep following the same road up and you’ll arrive at the parking lot.

Umbria Blog | The world’s smallest theatre “Teatro della Concordia”

Near Todi is Monte Castello di Vibio. This small hamlet is on a hill top of 422 meters. It is also called the balcony of Umbria because of its position and unique views of the hills of Umbria and the Tiber valley. Monte Castello di Vibio counts 1600 citizens. 

The village still looks like a medieval walled hamlet. Of course it has a main square with its church but there are also small alleys with some local shops, a bakery, a butcher, a post office and one bar. 

The smallest theatre of the world, il Teatro della Concordia is the soul of Monte Castello di Vibio. Its inhabitants are proud of their theatre. After the latest restorations in 1993, the municipality called the theatre officially “the smallest museum of the world”. 

This theatre has a capacity of 32 spectators on the main floor and 67 in the stalls. Il Teatro dell Concordia has been designed in 1789, during the French post revolutionary period and it was finished in 1808. The theatre is made entirely from wood: the foyer, the ceiling, the walls and the back drop of the theatre. 

The interior of the theatre has been decorated by Cesare Agretti, originally  from La Spezia. Years later in 1892, Luigi Agretti, the son of Cesare, frescoed the masterpiece on the ceiling and the foyer in the theatre. The frescoes on the ceiling are the eye catcher of the museum. It took him 3 months to finish the paintings.

Nine rich families of the town owned the theatre. They wanted to give their people more cultural activities. In the central area the decorations with names on the boxes aren’t the names of the families but the names of famous theatre players and actors. The families didn’t want to have their names on it, because they changed boxes at every concert or show.

On stage many famous actors and stars performed, even during the Second World war. Since 1951 the theatre has been closed for a considerable time. It had deteriorated and for safety reasons the theatre wasn’t able to reopen.

In 1981 small companies, (local) families and municipalities decided to invest in the reconstruction of this small wooden theatre. Since 1993 the theatre has been reopened to the public.

It is still an intimate and unique place. Shows, conferences, concerts and weddings are  held here. One can also visit the theatre with a local guide. During the low season the theatre is only open on Saturday and Sunday. In the high season the theatre is open every day. The price is 5 Euros per person, and children under 18 years old are free. If you come with a group of more than 15 people, the price will be 4 Euros per person. 

Outside the city walls is free parking from where it is a 200 meter walk to the centre of Monte Castello di Vibio. The signs show you the way to the smalles theatre of the world: Teatro della Concordia.

The theatre is worth a visit, you’ll be surprised about its masterpieces and the intimacy of this place. 

Teatro della Concordia
Piazza del Teatro della Concordia 4
06057 Monte Castello di Vibio (PG)
Tel: +39 (0) 75 8780737

Umbria Blog | visit museum Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria in Perugia

Perugia is a lovely city with many cosy squares and tiny alleyways. It is the chocolate-capital of Umbria. In the historical centre you can’t miss the antique churches, parks and medieval buildings with nice boutiques, good coffee bars and many shops.

Perugia houses the most important art history museum of Umbria: La Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria. This museum has magnificent works, including important paintings ranging from the 13th to the 19th century. A visit to this museum is a must for Renaissance art lovers.

The museum is in the medieval building “Palazzo dei Priori” on the main street Corso Vannucci 19 in Perugia. The entrance is on Corso Vannucci through a thirteenth-century portal, decorated with the symbols of the town of Perugia, the statues of the griffin and the lion.

The Palazzo dei Priori is built between 1293-1443 in Gothic style. This building houses the City Hall, the Sala dei Notari and the museum itself is on the upper floors. To get there one can take the stairs, but there also is an elevator.

The entrance is 8,00 Euro, but every first Sunday of the month, the museum is open with free admission for al visitors. One can get the entrance tickets on the ground floor. All national museums in Italy have free entrance on the first Sunday of the month, it can be quite busy that day.

The museum in Perugia includes various masterpieces from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Much space is given to Umbrian painters: Il Perugino, Pintoricchio and Caporali. The works range from painting on wood, canvas and murals, to sculptures in wood and stone to goldsmith’s art and fabrics. The itinerary starts with the collections of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

A wonderful masterpiece created by Bartolomeo Caporali “Madonno col Bambino e Angeli entro una ghirlanda” which means “the Virgin with child and Angels in a Garland”. This painting is completed between 1470-1479.

Painting (1467 – 1469) “Polittico di Sant’Angelo” from the early Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca. Piero della Francesca is born in the decade between 1410 – 1420 in Borgo San Sepolcro. He has spent a lot of his time in Arezzo and in San Sepolcro Tuscany.

If you want to see some other masterpieces of Piero della Francesca, in the museum Uffizi in Florence one can admire the famous portrait panels of Battista Sforza and Federico da Montefeltro.

The itinerary in the museum continues with paintings and sculptures from the 17th, 18th and 19th century in Umbria. It is a wonderful museum “La Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria” and worth a visit when you’re in Perugia. During the year there also are special exhibitions, keep an eye on the museum’s website to know more about these.

After a visit to the museum we have a nice tip for an authentic espresso: the “Sandri” bar. Sandri is in the city centre and has a long history dating back to 1860. It originally was a Swiss family. Their chocolate and coffee are of high quality. Sandri is just on the opposite side of the museum in the Corso Vannucci 32. Don’t forget to look above your head in the bar. The paintings on the ceiling are amazing!