Uncovering Italy’s Superlatives in people, places and things

Syncopated in Umbria with Umbria Jazz

Italy’s Green Heart is full of Jazz

Umbria is synonymous with melody and jazz, a fact some might find slightly off beat with its rich cultural history that takes us from the epic Etruscan civilisation and medieval monasteries to Renaissance masters and Baci kisses in the early 20th century. But music fans know that the region is a symphony of music festivals, and conducting it is Umbria Jazz Festival, and its epicenter is Perugia

Introducing Umbria Jazz

Since its 1973 founding, Umbria Jazz has solidified the region as a musical destination for the world’s very best musicians. Every summer, the hill town of Perugia is a mecca for jazz artists and all genres of musicians as they take part in an ongoing soundtrack that accents the technicolor landscape of il cuore verde d’Italia (the green heart of Italy) for the ten-day July Umbria Jazz Festival.   

“Umbria jazz is an Italian excellence,” Renato Arbore, Umbria Jazz president, once said, and more than excellence, it is part of Italian cultural heritage. With names like B.B. King, Chet Baker, Burt Baccharach, Natalie Cole, Miles Davis, Enrico Rava, Stefano Bollani, Tom Jones, John Legend, Mika and even the Purple One, Prince, on its bills, Umbria Jazz is far bigger than a festival, it is a fact of life.

The Festival, Concerts and More

The ten-day program is keystone to a series of concerts and events that take over the summer and spill into cooler months, and jump cities. Starting in March, posters are plastered around the towns and roads throughout the region, announcing the event, and by June, a walk down Perugia’s Corso, main thoroughfare, gives a sneak peek at what’s to come. Melodic syncopations fill the air, accompanying musical aperitivi, lunches and dinners.    

Arena Santa Giuliana – Courtesy of Umbria Jazz

Headlining events focus on a two-week period in mid-July with a series of organized ticket-only and free concerts. And there is no other more perfect moment than the hot Umbrian summer sun, and the incredible backdrops of Perugia itself. Unforgettable locations like Piazza IV Novembre and Giardini Carducci are stage for performances, along with a bunch of open-air and closed venues that satellite around the town including Arena Santa Giuliana, Pavone Theatre, Teatro Morlacchi Theatre and Hotel Sina Brufani.   

Just like jazz, Umbria Jazz’s program is a bit of tradition and freestyle. Along with the kind of jazz you know and expect, music fans of all kinds have an opportunity to enjoy performances of rock and roll, world music, Cuban salsa, African tribal, and more. Jazz never stops and neither does Umbria. 

Umbria Jazz is scheduled for July 9 to 18. Tickets by reservation.

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