The Best of Umbria

Umbria is a landlocked region of central Italy that is known for rolling hills dotted with castles and fortresses interrupted by lush valleys, and medieval towns that have remained largely unchanged for centuries.

The mighty Tiber River flows through Umbria, and Lake Trasimeno, one of Italy’s largest can be found there. Rich agricultural lands yield black truffles, tobacco and olives, and its vineyards produce fine wines. These make Umbria an ideal destination for anyone interested in eco-tourism.

Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi
The Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, Umbria

Umbria is less populous and expensive than its glitzy neighbor, Tuscany and has a lot to offer visitors who want to explore an unhurried destination.

If you’re planning a vacation in Umbria, there are several must see beauty spots:

Perugia, Umbria’s capital is a university town that is dominated by the Rocco Paolina, Italy’s largest fortress. Rocco Paolina was built after 1540 on orders of Pope Paul III. Perugia also hosts a world famous jazz festival and a chocolate festival.

Narni, a hill town near Terni is very close to the geographic center of Italy. It is the site of many historical re-enactments, one of which is the Corsa all’Anello, guided tours to the underground – Narni Sotterranea, and natural attractions such Marmore Falls. Narni inspired author C.S. Lewis, to write the popular book, The Chronicles of Narnia.

Montefalco, also known as the Balcony of Umbria, offers breathtaking views of Umbria.

Assisi is the home of Saint Francis or San Francesco, the patron saint of Italy, who was born here in 1181. St. Francis was buried at the Basilica of Saint Francis, which was erected in 1230, and has become a popular destination. Assisi also has museums, shops, Roman ruins and medieval sites in its walled center.

Spoleto, in southern Umbria, is a walled hill town with Roman, Etruscan and medieval sites. One of the largest towns in Umbria, Spoleto is home to the world famous Festival dei dui mondi (two worlds festival), which is held annually from late June to early July.

Spello’s ancient walls date back to Cesar Augustus (63BC-14AD). It is the home of the painter Pinturicchio, whose frescos can be viewed in the 13th-century church of Santa Maria Maggiore. No cars are allowed in Spello’s steep narrow streets.

Orvieto’s famous Duomo dates to the 13th century and is known for its harmonious mix of architecture and stunning frescos. Be sure to check out the relic at the Chapel of the Corporal, the reason the Duomo was built in this location. See also the Well of Saint Patrick, the Palazzo del Popolo and its Capitano del Popolo.

Lake Trasimeno, a picturesque lake with three islands, is located in the center of Umbria. It is the site of the historic battle in which Hannibal defeated the Roman Empire in 217 BC. Fortresses and medieval towns like Castiglione del Lago ring the lake, and a ferry service connects the islands.

If you’re interested in festivals, Umbria is the place to go. There are festivals every month. And if you’re planning to get married, there are historic castles, cathedrals and villas for weddings in Umbria.

Umbria is easily accessible by train, plane or car and offers a mix of accommodation options. The best time to visit is the spring and fall.

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photo by:


Jim Linwood

7 comments on “The Best of Umbria

  1. I’ve never been to Umbria though I heard so many good things about the place. i hope I could get to visit there one day and see how wonderful the place is.

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