Umbria is a picturesque landlocked region that is often called the “Green Heart of Italy”. There are so many places to see and visit in this region that it’s almost impossible to list them all here. But here is a concise Umbrian Travel Guide with everything you need to know- things to do, eat and see in the Central Italian region of Umbria. Hope these travel tips help in planning your next trip!
Umbria Travel Guide: Things to Know
1. Explore Eccentric Gubbio:
Gubbio is famous because of Festa dei Ceri-a quirky and ancient festival from the 12th century. If haven’t read my post on Gubbio’s ancient festival Festa dei Ceri, you are in for a surprise! Gubbio is truly a mysterious town in the green Umbrian landscape. It is dotted with medieval alleys and a huge Roman amphitheater.
Is Gubbio worth visiting?? Absolutely!! It is a must see place when you’re in Umbria. If you are looking for a base between two regions, Gubbio is apt as it’s border is close to the region of Le Marche.
Piazza Grande in Gubbio
How to Reach Gubbio:
Gubbio can be reached from Perugia and other towns in Le Marche and Umbria by bus. There is no train station in Gubbio.
2. Discover Medieval Perugia:
Another fantastic town to visit in Umbria is its capital city- Perugia. I have fond memories from Perugia because it was the city where all my solo adventures started!
Perugia is a buzzing city because it is a University town. It is architecturally very ornate with an ancient aqueduct and Etruscan tombs.
I especially loved the mini metro, a man-less way to travel, the first I’ve ever seen! Perugia is popular because it is home to the Perugina chocolates which also leads to an annual chocolate festival every year. There’s even the Umbrian jazz festival here every summer. Perugia’s bus stop ‘Perugia Partigianani’ has one of the best connections in Umbria to other places in the region and beyond!!
How to Reach Perugia:
Perugia is widely connected by train with all Italian cities. Perugia’s train station is located at the foot of the town so to reach to the centre or the main town, you’ll have to take the Mini Metro or a bus! From Rome’s Airport, it can be reached by the Sulga bus.
3. Visit the Holy town of Assisi:
If we’re talking of a travel guide of Umbria and miss Assisi in the things to see, man are we in trouble! The town of Assisi is the birthplace of St. Francis and attracts tourism because of the Basilica di San Francesco (Basilica of St. Francis).
The centre of Assisi is gorgeous- the Piazza del Commune especially with its ancient Roman Temple and baroque fountain. There are also several Bars, bookstores and old Palazzi worth checking out. Assisi’s beauty lies in its homes. They are so beautifully kept! I loved the multi colored flags and potted plants from the balconies. Assisi has a fantastic countryside view from every angle.
How to Reach Assisi:
Assisi is only an hour from Perugia and is connected by bus from all major towns of Umbria. Assisi’s train station is called Santa Maria degli Angeli. It takes 8-10 minutes to reach to Assisi from there. Thankfully buses are easily available.
4. Gaze at the Duomo di Orvieto:
Orvieto is another fabulous place to visit in Umbria. If you’re fond of traveling vintage style, you’ll love entering Orvieto in an old funicular!!
Orvieto is famous for the Orvieto Classico wine, Etruscan tombs, colorful ceramics and its jaw dropping Duomo (the main cathedral). The town’s tower called Torre del Moro is a 47 meter high clock tower with exceptional views of the countryside. Don’t miss climbing 236 steps to the tower to see little hamlets and villages of Umbria. It was worth the EUR 3!! (check current prices)
How to Reach Orvieto:
Orvieto can be reached by train from Rome in only 1.5 hours! If you are anywhere else in Umbria, catch a bus to reach here. However, to get to the centre remember to use the old style funicular opposite the train station.
5. Stop at La Scarzuola:
Another interesting thing to do in Umbria is to hire a car and visit the park of La Scarzuola. Situated only a few kilometers from the town of Citta del Pieve, Scarzuola is eccentric and a little eerie. There are guided tours to show you the park which was created by Tomasso Buzzi.
The intention behind Buzzi’s creation of La Scarzuola was the concept of an “Ideal City”. Even after visiting La Scarzuola, I don’t know what he meant by an ideal city or whether it was ideal, but all I can say, it is worth making that trip to this surreal place! Read here to know more.
How to Reach La Scarzuola:
La Scarzuola can only be reached by car as the nearest train station is 60kms away. It is close to Montegiove and Citta di Pieve.
Best Time to Visit Umbria:
I visited Umbria in Spring, early May to be precise, and wore dresses during the day and light sweater in the evening. The temperature was absolutely perfect! In my opinion, anytime is a great time to visit this region but I’d especially recommend the Spring. In the winter time, Umbria can be very cold so I recommend booking a property with heating facility.
What to Eat in Umbria:
Umbria is the land of truffles, boars and prosciutto. Try the Prosciutto d Norcia and Perugina chocolates. If you get a chance also try the lentil soup of this region!
Where to Stay in Umbria:
Apart from the things I mentioned above, Umbria is a great place to relax, take walks and hike. Enjoy a picnic by the Lake Trasimeno (Train station is Castiglione del Lago and/or Terontola-Cortona).
More Places to Explore:
In addition to these 5 towns, I would recommend towns of Bevagna, Todi, Terni, Deruta, Narnia, Spello and Spoleto in Umbria. Italy always has much to offer!!
Did you know??
Umbria is Tuscany’s next door neighbor. In the past, most of the tourism seemed to be directed towards Tuscany. However, things are slowly changing as people are now discovering Umbria and seeing the many things the region has to offer. But if you ask me -which is better Tuscany or Umbria, I would not have the right answer for you. Both regions are unqiue and beautiful in their own ways.
- The view from Vomero Hill, Naples
- Circumvesuviana train- easy way to explore Gulf Of Naples
- Experience of Staying in Piazza Garibaldi, Naples
- The bustling Piazza Dante in Naples
- Castellammare di Stabia- between Naples and Sorrento
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Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life.ANNA AKHMATOVA, POET