The region is pretty small and it is surrounded by the regions of Marche, Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Lazio. The most important traces of Umbrian prehistory are collected in the Archaeological Museum of Perugia and speak of the human presence in this area as early as the Neolithic age. Subsequently, the Umbrians and the Etruscans lived in this region, the latter not only in Umbria. Umbria was later under the rule of the Roman Empire and the Umbrians became their allies. In the 5th century Umbria was the scene of clashes between the Byzantium and the Goths of Totila's army. Then, Umbria became a region under papal rule until the unification of Italy (1861). The bombings of the Second World War hit Foligno, Umbertide and Terni. In 1997 an earthquake disaster affected the southeastern part of the province of Perugia, causing damage to the artistic and cultural heritage of the region, including the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
In Umbria, in addition to the Etruscan and Roman arts, we find prevalently the art in Romanesque and Gothic style. Here there were the great masters working for the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi as Cimabue and Giotto, the Sienese artists such as Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti and so on. Sculptors like Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, Arnolfo di Cambio first and Duccio di Boninsegna later were active here as well.
During the Renaissance period artists such as Fra Angelico, Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino, Domenico Veneziano, Raphael, Luca Signorelli, Pinturicchio, Filippo Lippi and Piero della Francesca created marvelous works of art in Umbria.
In the Contemporary period a great well-known artist, famous all over the world for his rustic and informal art, Alberto Burri, was born in Citta di Castello and died in Nice. He donated an important collection of works of art to his birthplace.