Located in the center of Italy, bordered by Tuscany, Lazio and Le Marche lies the hidden gem, Umbria. Also known as the green heart of Italy, Umbria offers the perfect escape to the Italian countryside. Shielded from an influx of mass tourism, Umbria remains unaffected by external influence and holds on to its true charm and traditional Umbrian culture. As an off-the-beaten track destination in Italy, Umbria attracts visitors who are looking for an authentic Italian experience. Here’s a quick overview of what to expect from the hidden gem of Italy: Umbria.
What is Umbria known for
When many people think of the quintessential Italian countryside, Tuscany comes to mind. While Tuscany is a spectacular part of Italy where tourists flock to for good reason, Umbria is arguably even more idyllic.
This beautiful region is known for its stunning countryside, dense forests, medieval hill towns, foraged truffles, authentic cuisine and prestigious wines. Hilltop Perugia, the regional capital, is the site of medieval Palazzo dei Priori, housing the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria art museum. There are so many amazing towns in Umbria to visit and some of the most beautiful towns include Spello, Assisi, Gubbio, Montefalco and Todi.
What to do in Umbria
Visiting Umbria is all about immersing yourself in authentic Italy. Explore the ancient cobbled-street towns, sip on delicious wines (especially from Montefalco), savour the local cuisine, engage with the charming locals and admire the gorgeous landscape. From cycling and trekking, to horse trails and hot air balloon rides, there are so many exciting ways to explore the breathtaking scenery of Umbria.
Local Umbrian Cuisine
Umbrian cuisine is very rustic, often called “cucina povera”, or peasant cooking and that’s exactly the beauty of it! No frills or fusses, just simple traditional dishes prepared with the best quality local products. Experiencing the local cuisine in Umbria is like stepping into an Italian grandmother’s kitchen to enjoy traditional dishes made with love and passed down through the generations. The dishes prepared today maintain the same principles of simplicity and freshness that originated from its Estrucan roots.
Umbria is home to the native red grape Sagrantino, as well as Sangiovese, Colorino and other indigenous Italian varieties. Some of the best wines in Umbria are from Torgiano and Montefalco. Umbria is also known for its traditional truffle-hunting so make sure you try some dishes with truffles when you visit.
Where to stay in Umbria
There are plenty of quaint places to stay in Umbria. The best way to start planning where to stay in Umbria is to decide what you would like to do during your trip and which towns you would like to visit. From luxury castles, bed and breakfasts on wineries to rustic farm home-stays and small guest houses in the Umbrian valley, there are many different types of accommodation options in Umbria.
How to get to Umbria
Umbria offers that wonderful feeling of being lost in the countryside, immersed in the traditions of Italy. But the best part is that it’s not as remote as you might think; Umbria is very accessible and easy to travel to. If you are travelling from abroad, you can fly into 4 airports: Rome, Florence, Pisa or Umbria’s capital city, Perugia. There are options to travel by bus, taxi or rental car from any of these airports.
Travel time by car:
- From Rome: 2 hours, 20 minutes
- Frome Florence: 2 hours, 10 minutes
- From Pisa: 2 hours, 50 minutes
- From Perugia: 25 minutes
Here are some more top tips for getting to Umbria.
The lesser-known and lesser-travelled region of Umbria is a hidden gem in Italy and that’s what makes it such a unique place to visit. The Umbrian people are thought to be the oldest in Italy, the custodians who have been cherishing and sharing the traditions and customs of authentic Italian culture for centuries.