Right in Italy’s centre, neighbouring Tuscany, Umbria is a magical land crammed full of stunning scenery, wine, art, history, hospitality and spirituality. It’s a superbly verdant region known locally as Italy’s Green Heart where long winding roads lead to rural medieval hilltop towns, fortified battlements and quaint villages. Boasting rolling hills and picturesque towns, Umbria holidays make for the perfect quiet getaway.
The spectacular Apennine Mountains form a delightful backdrop to Umbria’s beautiful countryside of fertile farmland, enchanting forests and beautiful lakes including Italy’s fourth largest, Lago di Trasimeno. The whole region is steeped in history, art, serenity and spirituality and the natural landscape makes discovery perfect by walking, hiking, mountain biking or horse riding. Places of special note include Perugia, capital of the region, Assisi, birthplace of St Francis, Todi, a lovely hilltop town with a perfect medieval piazza. There is an abundance of wonderful places to visit on holidays in Umbria including Spoleto, a prosperous little town with a fine Roman amphitheatre and annual arts festival, Norcia, birthplace of St Benedict, and also revered for cured meats and black truffles, plus Orvieto with its magnificent Gothic church.
Perugia & Torgiano
Surrounded by Etruscan walls and dating back 2,000 years, Umbria's capital, Perugia, is filled with impressive art and medieval architecture. Piazza IV Novembre features a 13th century fountain and the impressive Palazzo dei Priori houses one of Italy's greatest galleries with works by Umbria's finest master and teacher of Raphael, Perugino. Perugia holidays are a great way to experience this fabulous area of Italy. The capital is also famed for its pasta and a nine day chocolate festival. Ten minutes' away Torgiano, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, offers tasting tours, a fascinating wine museum and an olive museum in a former mill in the heart of this medieval hilltop town.
Surrounded by olive groves, the spiritual town of Assisi is a popular pilgrimage site where Basilica di San Francesco, St Francis’ burial place, contains important medieval art including works by Giotto. A 14th century castle overlooks the town and, outside the walls, Eremo delle Carceri is the hermitage where St Francis meditated and prayed.
On the lower slopes of Mount Ingino looking out towards the plains, Gubbio is considered one of Italy’s most beautiful medieval towns. It boasts one of the largest Roman Theatres in the country, and the archaeological museum contains the important Eugubian Tablets, bronze tablets dating back to 3rd century BC. There is undoubtedly a lot to see alongside ambling around the town and taking in the beautiful surrounding area on Umbria holidays.
Famed for its wine, olive oil, truffles and delectable chocolate, this region is a land of gastronomic delights and a splendid attribute of holidays in Umbria. Generally, cuisine is traditionally based around excellent locally produced succulent meats, game, freshwater fish, and foraged wild woodland produce including truffles and a great variety of herbs and spices. Typically, meats are barbecued or roasted, with spit roasted suckling pig, porchetto, a flavoursome traditional dish. Fish includes carp, perch and pike from Lake Trasimeno plus trout and freshwater shrimp from rivers and streams. All dishes tend to be accompanied by local bread served in an array of flavours and shapes, and no meal would be complete without trying the fine regional wines including Orvieto Classico, Torgiano Rosso Riserva and Sagrantino di Montefalco.