Umbria may not be as well-known as Tuscany, however it offers all that its more famous neighbor does, if not more. It is perhaps the greenest of all Italian regions. Here you will find lush fields, vineyards, and olive groves. Moreover, it is home to many tiny towns and borgos which nestle amongst its hills. Here you will find the charming Perugia, Orvieto, Gubbio, Spoleto, Norcia, Todi and Assisi, to name just a few. Do not dismiss this delightful corner of Italy as a less picturesque Tuscany!
All of these charming towns are extremely easy to access, and are but a few miles apart from each other. Moreover, each preserves its own culture and history, offering more than enough to see and do for all visitors. You can, for example, wander around the towns, visit their museums, and taste their delicious foods. All the while, you will be surrounded by the most beautiful landscapes.
Moreover, this region abounds in historical value. People sometimes cite it as the Land of the Saints, given that St Valentine, St Benedict, and St Francis all called this region home. The latter especially has left his mark on Umbria, with monuments to his life on display in nearly every town. A great way of discovering more of this incredibly interesting history, is to follow the St Francis way. Perfect for lovers of hiking and nature, this path retraces the saint’s footsteps to assisi. It also passes many meaningful Franciscan sites along the way. In the North, the route starts in Greccio, and in the South from La Verna. The region’s website offers plenty of further details and maps about this walk should it interest you.
Walking offers one of the best ways to discover and explore the vast history and culture of Umbria. This way you can combine an interesting journey through time, with a voyage through the region’s lush landscapes. For example, you may consider taking the old Spoleto-Norcia railway route. This has been converted into a hiking and biking trail and stretches along the original 51km route. You will pass over ancient stone bridges, and narrow tunnels, so remember to take a torch! Furthermore, you can delight in the tranquility of the remote Umbrian countryside as you pass through its old stations.
Aside from the history inherent to this route, it also offers breathtaking views over the Umbrian countryside. You will furthermore be able to pass through the small hillside hamlets and villages that belong to this route. Should you end in Norcia, be sure to grab a taste of its famous truffles, hams, and cheeses!
Another area not to be missed in Umbria is the Trasimeno Lake. Those looking for more gentle walks will love these landscapes. The lake offers both rolling Umbrian scenes on its borders, and the serenely calm grounding of its waters. A lovely day trip might start at Passignano sul Trasimeno. From here, you can ascend up to the hamlet of Cequeto and its mediterranean woods. These seem a world away from the lake below, and offer panoramic views of its waters, and the three tiny islands it exhibits in its middle.
Alternatively, from Passignano you can take a ferry to the Isola Maggiore. It will take you under four hours to wander around its circumference. Along the way you will come across a statue of St Francis on its eastern shore, commemorating his 40-day fast at that spot. Moreover, you will constantly be surrounded by the lake’s blue waters and the islands vivid greenery, making for a gentle and relaxing day.
You will find the best weather to discover Umbria on foot between April and May. At this point in the year, Umbria’s flowers are in full bloom, dotted between the sumptuous greenery of its plentiful woods and cypress-topped hills. Moreover, the temperatures will have just started to warm up, making for balmy weather that is ideal for enjoying anything from strolls into the countryside, to more serious hikes up Umbrian hills and mountains. For those wishing to immerse themselves in this nature, the Monti Sibillini National Park is a must! It abounds in hiking and mountain-biking opportunities, and even offers guided excursions into the heart of its wild beauty.
Where to stay in Umbria
As previously mentioned, it is incredibly easy to access all the towns in Umbria, and impossible to escape its gorgeous landscapes! Wherever you stay in Umbria, you will be welcomed with excellent locations, offering both tranquility and accessibility. Should you wish to find a romantic getaway, Umbria’s serene charm offers the perfect destination. For those looking for an adventure, properties near Umbria’s activity hotspots are the only option. Even those who simply wish to relax by the pool will find that the Umbrian countryside provides the perfect backdrop for the ultimate relaxing experience. Alternatively, those looking for something different, can experience Umbria’s history first-hand in a historical property before heading into its landscapes to discover even more culture and tradition.