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Umbria

Umbria (ōmˈbrēä) [key], region (1991 pop. 811,831), 3,265 sq mi (8,456 sq km), central Italy. Perugia is the capital of the landlocked region, which is divided into the provinces of Perugia and Terni (named for their capitals). Crossed by the Apennines in the east, Umbria is almost entirely mountainous or hilly. The Tiber and the Nera are the main rivers; Lake Trasimeno is in the west. Farming, mostly on a small scale, is the chief occupation. Cereals, grapes, sugar beets, and olives are grown, and cattle and hogs are raised. In the 20th cent., industrialization has been facilitated by the construction of several hydroelectric plants, particularly on the Nera at Terni. Manufactures of the region include chemicals, iron and steel, processed food, and cotton and woolen textiles. There are a number of popular tourist spots, including Assisi, Spoleto, Perugia, Orvieto, and Castiglione. The Umbri were among the first inhabitants of the region, settling there by 600 B.C. Knowledge of them is derived mainly from inscriptions found in Umbria, especially the Iguvine Tables discovered (1444) at Gubbio. There are also many Etruscan remains from a later period. Umbria was conquered by the Romans in the 3d cent. B.C., and after the fall of Rome it passed to the Goths and then to the Byzantines. From the 6th to the 11th cent. it was usually included in the powerful Lombard duchy of Spoleto. In the 12th cent. free communes developed in most cities. Local autonomy and petty tyrannies prevailed until the 16th cent., when the popes conquered Umbria (except Gubbio); Perugia, the region's leading city, was the last to fall (1540) under the papacy. Umbria was held by France from 1798 to 1800 and from 1808 to 1814, when it was restored to the papacy. There were several revolts (1831, 1848, 1859) against papal rule, and in 1860 the region voted to join the kingdom of Sardinia. Art has long flourished in the region, and a school of painting (15th–16th cent.) founded by Niccolò da Foligno, included the masters Pinturicchio and Perugino. There is a university at Perugia.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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