Umbria – The Green Heart of Italy
Try to google “Green heart of Italy” and you will have more than a million results pointing at Umbria. Yet the epigraph is more than just a cliché.
I thought the expression was born in the head of some uninventive copy writer who could not come up with a better slogan for the landlocked central region of Italy. One of numerous clichés and nicknames that sticks to Italy and Italian places like ‘the boot’, ‘The Eternal City’, ‘La Serenissima, Bride of the Sea’, ‘The City of Lilies’, etc.
Numerous Shades of Green
But when I looked through our photo library, I had to admit the term was appropriate. Most pictures from different places in the Umbria are various shades of green. And when I googled the expression, I found that it was not the result of a recent marketing stunt, but a reference to a famous poem by Giosué Carducci ,who in 1906 became the first Italian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Green Heart of Umbria Poem
Carducci was Tuscan by birth and lived in Bologna most of his grown-up life, yet it is his poem about Umbria that is most familiar to Italians and Italian school children. The poem called Le fonti del Clitumno was written in 1876 and published as part of the Barbarian Odes.
Of the 38 odd verses the most cited is the 7th which reads:
Salve, Umbria verde, e tu del puro fonte
nume Clitumno! Sento in cuor l’antica
patria e aleggiarmi su l’accesa fronte
Meaning something like: Hey, green Umbria, and you the clean source of Clitumnus. I feel in my heart the ancient home, my fevered brow touched by the old gods of Italy.
I have not yet visited the Fonti dei Clitunno, but as the photos demonstrate I have felt the green heart of Italy in many other locations nearby.
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O that looks absolutely gorgeous… While we still don’t know exactly where we will be going in Italy later this year, Umbria is number one on our list. We’ve been to Tuscany and Emiglia Romana before and we figured Umbria might be a nice follow up on that with a bit less tourists hopefully. :)
There are tourists in Italy in summer. Full stop. But it’s a big country and there are secret, undiscovered places for all:)
Absolutely beautiful and love the mirrored views. Wow!
I likes it. And going playing around with the photos is like visiting again.
Great shots! and thanks for the Giosué Carducci story!
Happy New Year!
Thank you. And Happy New Year to you as well:)
Such an interesting story behind the expression. The pictures are beautiful and really portray an idyllic town I’d like to visit someday. Love those unique mirror shots.
Umbria is a great holiday spot in a quietly subdued kind of way.
Interesting where a little research takes you! Umbria looks green and very beautiful too. One day I’ll visit.
Gorgeous photos! I’ve never been to this part of Italy, but am very intrigued now! Looks like a great spot to get away from loads of tourists?
Thank you. Umbria is in every sense a very mindful holiday destination, where you don’t feel the pressure from mass tourism.
Umbria is so beautiful, isn’t it… driving across the country in that area, from one ocean to another, through Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche – that’s such a fabulous road trip.
So right and thanks for reminding me. It’s been a while since we went up that way – and at that time the roads were in a sad state. Maybe we should give it another try.
How dreamy!! Gorgeous, gorgeous photos…
We work and live in Umbria. How nice! There are so many places and things to discover. And what about the Umbrian food..delicious!
Greenery is always so uplifting for me and Umbria looks like such a tremendously beautiful place. The building themselves look well maintained and preserved.. Loved how the city is nestled at the base of the mountain! :)
I reckon most people living in the north long for the colour green this time of year. I certainly do:)