Umbria sits in the heart of Italy, right in the centre, making it the only region of Italy to neither border another country nor the coastline. As such, Umbria is brimming with lush landscapes, historical towns and rich culture. To help you get the most out of your holiday, we give you our top tips for staying in this area!
When to visit:
Umbria is often dry in the winter and warm in the summer making it a great holiday destination year round, yet it must be said that spring and autumn are the perfect seasons to visit. July and August are, of course, peak tourist times, but the heat levels at this time of year can prove a little too much in this region, especially with no seaside spots to cool off in the ocean! With so much countryside, Umbria is at its best in May, when all of the flowers and greenery are in full bloom, decorating the hillsides, forests and fields. Although the scenery is a big draw for the area, there are plenty of indoor attractions, including churches, museums, galleries and restaurants, which can be enjoyed on the colder and rainier days.
How to Get Around:
As a landlocked region, boats are clearly a no-go for getting around Umbria! Luckily, the region has its own small, private railway, linking many of the areas within it, and even runs through to Tuscany. If you are travelling by train from within Europe, then the state railway, Trenitalia, offers a number of direct trains each day. With many rural areas in Umbria, the bus services are also excellent, connecting many small towns and villages with the bigger cities. Be careful if driving in the area, as the extensive mountainous areas, with steep slopes and deep valleys, make for a challenging drive.
Where to Visit:
There are two provinces in Umbria, Perugia, which is the capital, and Terni. Perugia takes up two-thirds of the region, so you’ll be quite likely to visit here as it has an extensive collection of cultural interest, from medieval palaces to Roman amphitheatres. Terni, with a number of rivers, has a large number of artificial lakes, making it a tranquil area to spend time relaxing by the waterfront, or getting an adrenaline boost with some watersports! Terni is also home to Marmore’s Falls, a waterfall man-made by the ancient Romans. Paths alongside the falls allow you to hike to the top for some great views over the valley, although you’re bound to get soaked, so wear your waterproofs!
While some of the bigger areas may have a lot going on, the smaller towns and villages are equally exciting and boast spectacular views. Montefalco, in Perugia, has incredible scenery and is home to the Museo di San Francesco, a gothic-style, former Roman church which has now been converted into an art museum. Another must-see town is Assisi, where the Franciscan architecture has been dubbed a World Heritage Site. With a monastery, amphitheatre and two medieval castles that dominate the town, among many other fascinating historical locations, Assisi is a cultural haven.
For unparalleled sights, head to the Sibillini National Park, with vast expanses of floral fields, the breathtaking peaks of the Sibillini Mountains and mystical caves to explore. The area is home to some incredible flora and fauna, with porcupines, deer, wolves and owls all found here. Travelling from the town of Norcia, head to the Piano Grande, a stunningly large and beautiful plateau between the mountain’s peaks. In the spring, the Piano is bursting with life, as wildflowers take over the land.
What to Eat:
When scanning the menus of places to eat in Umbria, truffles will pop up time and time again. As truffles are known as a delicacy, you may think of them as a rarity, yet these prized treats are seen growing abundantly throughout the Umbrian countryside. They’ll be sprinkled over pasta, delicately placed atop meats and provide flavour for cheeses, so if you want to give truffles a try, then Umbria is certainly the place to be.
Italy is renowned for its cured hams, such as prosciutto, and the butchery offerings in the Umbrian town of Norcia are the best of the best. In fact, the slices are such good quality that the term ‘Norcineria’, is now synonymous with excellent meat products throughout the whole of Italy!
Umbria is also known for its legumes, with plenty of lentils, beans and chickpeas filling the plates (and tummies!) of the locals. Making for a hearty and homely meal, these ingredients are typically used in soups, such as the beloved Imbrecciata.
If you’d love to explore all that Umbria has to offer, then take a look at these incredible holiday villas in Umbria, perfect for your next family-getaway or couples retreat!