I’ve put a new Gallery on Flickr – Umbria, a series of photographs taken by Simon Moss last June.
I’ve chosen some favourites to give you a flavour. Not the best photographs, necessarily, but the photos that say ‘Umbria’ the loudest. If you click on any of the photos below you’ll see a larger image.
You can see the whole gallery here . Thanks Simon, they’re terrific and I’m very grateful.
1. Cypress Trees.
Umbria is basically green, and there is no more classic symnbol of this part of the world than a row of Cypress trees. I don’t know where this was taken, but it represents Umbria perfectly.
2. The Duomo of Orvieto.
This is a beauttiful, staggering building. But it’s almost impossible to get a good photo. It sits in the centre of the tiny piazza at the very top of Orvieto, a volcanic plug that sits 1,000 feet above the surrounding plane. There is just no space to get the whole Duomo in shot, it’s as if the Duomo was air-lifted into place. But I like this shot, taken from down one of Umbria’s narrow streets. You get a perfect view of the vast doors that make up a tiny part of this beautiful building.
We start our Umbria tour in a hidden quarter of Southern Tuscany called Maremma, close to the Umbrian border . There are 3 towns all dating back to Etruscan origins: Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano. All three are truly striking. The prettiest is tiny Sovana, which is why we start our Umbria tour there, but the most spectacular is the largest, Pitigliano.
4. The Vale of Spoleto.
Between Perugia to the north and Spoleto to the south is a vast flat plain that inclines gently upwards as it heads south towards Montefalco. This used to be a lake that was drained by the Romans, and the valley that Hannibal marched through to Spoleto to ask them to join him in his war against Rome.
It’s hard to get a true picture from a photograph of how big it is, how wide, and how flat. If you’ll forgive a spot of plagiarism, a river runs through it – the River Tiber, the original river of blood. Along the base of Mount Subasio in the distance are Spello and Assisi. The weather conditions weren’t very kind to Simon, but this is just pure Umbria, the Vale of Spoleto.
5. The Basilica of Assisi .
St Francis is the Patron Saint of Italy (along with Saint Catherine of Siena). He was once described as ‘the first instigator of evil, and behind none in foolishness’. Follwing a spell in a Perugian prison, plain old Frank ran away to live as a hermit on the slopes of Mount Subasio. He preached to the birds and apparently lived in a cave. But there is absolutely no link between St Francis’ cave and the enormous Basilica at Assisi where his remains are entombed.
There is literally a Cathedral on top of another Cathedral. Not a little crypt beneath a Church, but a huge Cathedral built underneath a huge Cathedral. This is a picture of the outside wall taken from the road to Perugia. You can’t really get an idea of the scale of the place – you never can. Anywhere you can fit the whole Basilica in shot is so far away that you can’t include anything that gives an idea of scale. Just imagine a really big building, and then imagine a building that’s quite a lot bigger than that!
I hope you’ll go and have a look at the rest of the gallery .
Here’s a link to more photo collections from all our bike tours.