Umbria– bordered by Tuscany and Marche on either sides, is called the Green Heart of Italy. And rightly so- lush green rolling hills, scenic vistas and endless stretch of countryside. A region often overlooked by travelers, Umbria is a head-turner and a complete surprise package.
|The Umbrian Countryside|
When I planned on visiting Umbria this summer, I was confused what places to visit and what to leave. Since it was going to be my first time in Umbria, I was concerned about my traveling around in the region. Every town in Umbria is situated on a hill top which made the decision of transport tougher if not more alluring!
But I was surprised how easy it all turned out to be. Not only is it quite simple to travel without a car, it is also totally worth it in terms of cost.
|View from Assisi|
Where to Base Yourself in Umbria?
On a friend’s recommendation who had travelled to Umbria extensively, I chose Perugia to be my base. Choosing the right base city with good accessibility to transport is essential.
Since I was totally depending on the train and bus network of Italy with no access to rental car, Perugia seemed to be the best option. With an excellent transport service (not to forget its cute mini metro) Perugia is home to the famous University of Perugia where people from across the world come to study the Italian arts and language.
The town has a youthful vibe and a history dating dating back to that of the time of Etruscans. Perugia also has great options to eat and stay and is well known for its famous Baci chocolates and Umbrian Jazz Festival.
|Vista of Perugia from my room|
|Piazza IV Novembre|
How to Travel in Umbria?
Once you reach Perugia, exploring the region of Umbria is very easy. It makes a great base to explore Umbria’s “must see” towns and the best way is through regional buses.
Check Umbria Mobility for bus connections across towns in Umbria and Trenitalia for train schedules throughout the day.
|Mini Metro of Perugia|
For instance, when travelling from Perugia to Orvieto the train schedules are limited but there are options every one or two hours that makes it easier to plan your journey even for a great day trip. There is a train to Orvieto that starts at 8:05 am and then one one that goes after that at 11:03 and 11:41. After that there are trains available every hour and a half to two hours until 9:30 p.m. This way it is easier to plan your journey knowing when the last train starts from Perugia to Orvieto or vice versa.
Another useful choice of transport is the Sulga bus which I found to be very useful. The SUlga bus line connects several cities in Umbria and also is useful to travel to its neighbouring towns such as Florence, Rome, Ascoli Piceno etc. A comfortable recourse with free WiFi, I took the Sulga bus to Perugia from Rome’s FCO Airport just for EUR 22.
To board a bus in Perugia head to Perugia Partigniani- the bus station. For more information check here.
Where to Stay in Umbria?
Umbria is full of great places to stay and here are some of the options that I found handy:
–Agriturismo– staying in an agricultural farmhouse with great food choices and an authentic local experience. Check the website for good options to stay.
–Monastery Stays – lodging in a convent or a monastery with several facilities such as breakfast, WiFi is another great choice to get away from touristy hotels. Check monasteries/convent options in Umbria particularly Assisi which give great views of the countryside.
–Discovering Umbria – get in touch with owners- Alessandra and Leonardo who provide accommodation, food and several food and travel itineraries in the heart of the region of Umbria.
–Oreeko– if you are environment concious, Oreeko is place that can guide you. A directory which has organic and healthy stay options- Oreeko works on the motto of green living. Contact Susie Calx for more details.
–Villa in Umbria– As the name suggests, Villa in Umbria provides exceptional stay options in Umbria. They have rental apartments and private villas. Don’t forget to unlock their special discounts.
Best Time to Visit Umbria
I visited Umbria in the summer when the flowers were in bloom and the weather was just perfect. I recommend to either visit in the spring i.e. April to June or in the fall i.e. September- November. The summer and winter months may get sweltering hot or exceedingly cold. All in all Umbria is a great region to travel- alone or in a group.
|Towards a medieval aqueduct in Perugia|
There will be a succession of blog posts on my visit to the hill towns of Umbria. I hope you will enjoy as I take you to some of the must see spots of Italy’s greenest regions. Meanwhile, let me know how you liked this post?