Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

A guide to Umbria: A Journey Through Italy's Timeless Heartland

A pratical guide to the Italian region of Umbria. 

Umbria, often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor Tuscany, is Italy's hidden gem. This enchanting region, known as the "Green Heart of Italy," is steeped in rich history, dotted with picturesque towns, and blessed with lush landscapes.

Umbria offers a quieter, more authentic Italian experience, away from the throngs of tourists. From ancient civilizations to medieval masterpieces and culinary excellence, Umbria invites travelers to immerse themselves in its timeless beauty.

A Glimpse into Umbria's History

Umbria's history is a captivating tale of Etruscans, Romans, and medieval city-states. The region was a significant cultural and economic area for the Etruscans before becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire.

Post-Roman Empire, it became a battleground for warring medieval cities and later, part of the Papal States. This tumultuous history has left an indelible mark on the region, evident in its impressive archaeological sites, Roman ruins, and splendid medieval architecture.

Towns to Visit

Orvieto's Duomo(The Duomo, Orvieto)

Assisi

Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, is a spiritual and architectural marvel. The Basilica of Saint Francis, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a pilgrimage site and a masterpiece of medieval art, housing frescoes by Giotto.

Perugia

Perugia, the region's capital, is a lively university town known for its Etruscan walls, beautiful palaces, and the annual Umbria Jazz Festival. The town's historic center, with its Gothic cathedral and the medieval Palazzo dei Priori, offers a journey back in time.

Orvieto

Orvieto sits majestically atop a volcanic butte, its stunning Duomo a testament to Italian Gothic architecture. The town is also famous for its white wines and the fascinating underground city that tunnels through the tufa rock.

Gubbio

One of Italy's best-preserved medieval towns, Gubbio offers a step back in time with its well-preserved streets and Gothic buildings. The town's highlight is the Palazzo dei Consoli, a massive stone palace that now houses a museum. Every year, Gubbio hosts the "Corsa dei Ceri," a traditional race that is a spectacle of local culture and festivity.

Todi

Perched on a hill overlooking the Tiber River, Todi epitomizes the medieval hill town. Its central feature, Piazza del Popolo, is flanked by historic buildings, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Todi is known for its peaceful ambiance, stunning views, and architectural beauty, making it a perfect spot for those seeking inspiration and tranquility.

Deruta

Famed for its ceramics, Deruta is a small town with a big reputation in the world of pottery. Visitors can explore numerous workshops and showrooms to admire the intricate designs that have made Deruta ceramics sought after worldwide. Many studios offer the chance to see artisans at work or even try your hand at pottery-making.

Narni

Underneath the surface of this ancient town lies a hidden world waiting to be explored. The Underground Narni tour reveals a subterranean complex that includes a Roman cistern, a medieval church, and a recently discovered room that was used by the Inquisition. The above-ground town, with its narrow streets and medieval structures, is equally enchanting.

Spoleto

Spoleto, known for its summer festival, Festival dei Due Mondi, is a town that boasts a Roman theater, a medieval fortress, and the Ponte delle Torri, an impressive aqueduct offering stunning views of the surrounding valley.

One of the best bike trails in Italy

Places to Stay

Reschio resort(Reschio Resort)

Castello di Reschio, Lisciano Niccone

This restored castle turned luxury hotel offers an exclusive experience in the Umbrian countryside. With its beautiful suites, a spa, and horseback riding, it's a perfect retreat for those seeking serenity and luxury.

Palazzo Seneca, Norcia

In the charming town of Norcia, Palazzo Seneca combines Renaissance elegance with modern comforts. This boutique hotel, housed in a 16th-century building, offers a gateway to the Sibillini Mountains and the region's renowned culinary traditions.

Borgo dei Conti Resort, Perugia

This majestic resort, set within a transformed 17th-century estate, lies amidst the rolling hills near Perugia. Borgo dei Conti Resort combines historical elegance with contemporary luxury, featuring an outdoor swimming pool, a wellness center, and exquisite dining options. Its spacious, elegantly furnished rooms and the surrounding parkland offer a tranquil retreat with a taste of aristocratic life.

Agriturismo Le Mandrie di San Paolo, Assisi

For an authentic Umbrian experience, Le Mandrie di San Paolo offers a rustic yet comfortable stay. This working farm, located just outside Assisi, provides stunning views of the Umbrian countryside and the Basilica of Saint Francis. The agriturismo is renowned for its sustainability practices, organic cuisine, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Guests can enjoy homemade meals, an infinity pool, and the serene surroundings.

Hotel Giotto, Assisi

Perched in the medieval heart of Assisi, Hotel Giotto offers breathtaking views of the Umbrian plains and is a stone's throw away from the Basilica of Saint Francis. This hotel blends medieval charm with modern amenities, offering a spa, a fine dining restaurant, and a terrace that boasts panoramic views. The rooms are tastefully decorated, combining comfort with the historic character of the building.

La Locanda del Prete, Saragano

La Locanda del Prete is a gem in the small village of Saragano, offering an intimate and peaceful stay. This boutique hotel, set in a restored medieval building, features a swimming pool with views of the surrounding countryside, an excellent restaurant serving local cuisine, and a cozy, rustic ambiance. It's an ideal choice for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle and immerse themselves in the tranquility of rural Umbria. Tel (+39) 0742 98636 | mobile (+39) 331 6894369.

Castello di Monterone, Perugia

Set in a castle dating back to the 13th century, Castello di Monterone stands on a hill overlooking Perugia. This unique hotel combines historical architecture with modern luxury, making it a perfect romantic getaway. Guests can explore the castle's grounds, enjoy the outdoor pool with views of the Umbrian landscape, and dine in an elegant restaurant that serves local and international cuisine. The rooms and suites are individually decorated, retaining their original charm and offering modern comforts.

Relais Todini, Todi

Located on a historic estate surrounded by vineyards near Todi, Relais Todini offers a refined and serene atmosphere. This luxury hotel features a spa, an outdoor swimming pool, and a renowned restaurant that highlights Umbrian culinary traditions with a modern twist. The rooms are elegantly furnished, offering views of the rolling hills and the estate's vineyards, providing a peaceful and indulgent escape.

What to See

Monti Sibillini Umbria(Monti Sibillini - Ph: ValerioMei / Shutterstock.com)

Lake Trasimeno

Italy's fourth-largest lake is surrounded by rolling hills and medieval towns. It's an ideal spot for cycling, hiking, and enjoying water sports. The lake's islands are accessible by ferry, with Isola Maggiore being a popular choice for a day trip.

The Wine Roads

Umbria's wine culture is deeply rooted, with Montefalco and Orvieto being the epicenters of the region's winemaking tradition. The Strada del Sagrantino and the Strada dei Vini Etrusco Romana are routes that guide oenophiles through picturesque vineyards, offering tastings of local varietals like Sagrantino and Grechetto, accompanied by the stunning landscapes of Umbrian hills and historical towns.

The Monti Sibillini National Park

For nature lovers, the Monti Sibillini National Park offers breathtaking landscapes, from mountain peaks to wildflower meadows. It's an ideal location for hiking, mountain biking, and in winter, skiing. The park is also steeped in legends and folklore, adding a mystical allure to its natural beauty.

The Franciscan Path of Peace

This spiritual and scenic walking path connects Assisi and Gubbio, tracing the journey once taken by St. Francis. It's a route that offers not only physical challenge but also a chance for contemplation amid the serene Umbrian countryside.

Where to Eat

Where to eat in Umbria (Assisi)

Enoteca Oberdan, Perugia

This intimate wine bar and restaurant in Perugia offers a selection of local wines paired with Umbrian specialties, perfect for a light meal or an evening drink.

Trattoria Pallotta, Assisi

Nestled in the heart of Assisi, this family-run trattoria serves traditional Umbrian cuisine in a cozy atmosphere. The menu features local ingredients, homemade pasta, and the region's famed black truffles.

Antica Trattoria San Lorenzo, Perugia

Located in the heart of Perugia, Antica Trattoria San Lorenzo offers an elegant dining experience in a setting that combines rustic charm with contemporary style. The menu features traditional Umbrian dishes with a creative twist, using the freshest local ingredients. Specialties include handmade pasta, grilled meats, and seasonal truffles, accompanied by a fine selection of regional wines.

Dal Mi' Cocco, Perugia

For a more casual yet quintessentially Umbrian meal, Dal Mi' Cocco serves hearty, traditional fare in a convivial atmosphere. This family-run establishment is known for its fixed menu that changes daily, offering a communal dining experience where guests share tables and enjoy dishes like homemade pasta, roasted meats, and local legumes. It's a great place to experience authentic Umbrian hospitality and cuisine. 

L'Alchimista, Montefalco

Nestled in the heart of Montefalco, known for its Sagrantino wine, L'Alchimista combines the charm of a historic wine bar with the sophistication of a gourmet restaurant. The menu features traditional recipes with a focus on local ingredients, including legumes, vegetables, and Umbrian meats. Their extensive wine list offers an excellent selection of local vintages, making it a must-visit for wine enthusiasts.

Osteria a Priori, Perugia

Osteria A Priori, located in Perugia's historic center, is dedicated to showcasing the best of Umbrian produce and culinary traditions. The restaurant boasts a cozy interior and offers a menu that includes organic and biodynamic options. With a focus on slow food principles, dishes are prepared with attention to sustainability and quality, ranging from charcuterie boards and cheese selections to handmade pasta and seasonal specialties.

Locanda del Capitano, Montone

This Michelin-starred restaurant in the medieval village of Montone offers an unforgettable dining experience. Chef Giancarlo Polito creatively reinterprets traditional Umbrian cuisine, presenting dishes that are both visually stunning and deliciously complex. The intimate dining room and attentive service make Locanda del Capitano a destination for those seeking a gourmet experience in a charming setting.

Le Tre Vaselle, Torgiano

Located in the wine town of Torgiano, Le Tre Vaselle restaurant is part of a beautiful hotel and spa, offering diners exquisite meals in a refined atmosphere. The menu is a celebration of Umbrian gastronomy, with a focus on local truffles, olive oils, and wines. The restaurant's extensive wine cellar provides the perfect opportunity to sample the region's best vintages, paired expertly with each dish.

Umbria, with its blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, offers a multifaceted travel experience. Whether you're wandering through ancient towns, savoring the region's culinary delights, or simply soaking in the serene landscapes, Umbria promises an unforgettable Italian journey.

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A guide to Umbria: A Journey Through Italy's Timeless Heartland

Umbria, Italia

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