In the green heart of Italy is Umbria, full
of rich history and breath-taking scenery. Nestled among the rolling hills are
many charming historic hilltop top towns, all worth visiting while staying at
our luxury villas in Italy. The area has remained relatively well
preserved from the millions of tourists the country sees every year and for
this reason, Umbria is one of Italy’s
most authentic places and makes for a
truly special holiday destinations. Here is our guide to five of the best towns
you should visit when on your holidays:
Its hilltop location above the River Tiber
and its medieval atmosphere have made Todi one of the most delightful towns in
Umbria, and it looks like it is something straight out of a fairytale. Narrow streets lead you to
beautifully preserved monuments like Palazzo del Popolo, built in 1213 it is
one of Italy’s oldest public buildings. The town is relatively untouched by tourism and offers a real slice of peaceful
Umbrian life. When you visit, be sure to try the culinary delicacies like
slow-cooked pigeon and the regional Grechetto di Todi, a dry white wine.
Spello In the foothills of Mount Subasio is the
walled town of Spello, which any history buff will be sure to love, with its
medieval streets and ancient churches. Founded by the ancient Umbri, Spello was
later colonised by Romans, whose legacy can still be seen in the town and
provides much of the character which still
stands today. The town is also famous for its flowers, winning the
Finestre, Balconi e Vicoli Fioriti (flowered
windows, balconies and alleys). Flowers line every street in pots and hanging
baskets, creating a rainbow of colour for those strolling through the town.
Surrounded by olive groves and vineyards,
olive oil and wine making are central to this sleepy, medieval town’s appeal.
Torgiano’s produce has gained worldwide fame and is the biggest draw for
tourists looking to sample the region’s best gastronomic offerings. As well as
being a haven for foodies, Torgiano is a place history buffs will enjoy too.
Some of the town’s most notable sights are the iconic Baglioni Tower. An
imposing guard tower, it dates to 1274 and can be found on the edges of this
charming, medieval town.
Built into the steep slopes of Mount
Ingino, Gubbio is one of Umbria’s best-preserved
towns regarding its historical and cultural heritage. Approaching the town, the
ruins of a Roman theatre built during the 1st century greets
visitors and you can then wind your way through the streets to the Piazza
Grande and enjoy panoramic views over the town. Since medieval times, Gubbio
has been famous for its ceramics, with many shops selling ceramic plates,
platters and vases in vibrant colours made by local craftsmen.
A few miles from Umbria’s capital Perugia
is the hilltop town of Assisi. Best known as the birthplace of Saint Francis of
Assisi, the town is home to the Basilica di San Francesco, built in his honour
between 1228 and 1253. It is one of the town’s must-see
sights and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many religious and historical
festivals are held in the town throughout the year, celebrating the history of
the town and the surrounding region. For any nature lovers, neighbouring Mount
Subasio Regional Park is the perfect place for a day out walking through the beautiful Umbrian countryside. Images by Pizzo Disevo, Zyance,Jim Linwood