Explore the fertile farmlands, hilltop towns and dramatic mountain landscapes of Italy’s green heartland.
Umbria is a picturesque region of curving country roads, olive groves, rolling hills and historic towns. As the birthplace of hundreds of saints, Umbria is revered among the religiously minded. It is also the only Italian region with no coastlines or foreign borders. Italian traditions have survived here unabated. Enjoy full-bodied wines, discover quaint hilltop towns and join the locals for early evening walks through the towns’ piazzas.
Umbria’s capital, Perugia, is a logical starting point for regional sightseeing. The city’s historic center is a handsome mix of cobbled alleys and piazzas, as well as Roman, Etruscan and medieval monuments. In the evening, find a spot at a sidewalk café along Corso Vannucci and sample the town’s excellent chocolate, while watching students, tourists and locals strolling along the street.
Don’t miss the impressive Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi. This massive basilica features exceptional frescos, attributed to the painter Giotto, depicting the life of St. Francis. You can also see the tomb of St. Francis himself in the crypt below the Lower Basilica. Hike 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) east of Assisi to see Eremo delle Carceri, a serene hermitage set in the forest-covered hillsides of Monte Subasio, which was once used by St. Francis and his followers.
Be sure to visit Orvieto, dramatically perched on a plateau of volcanic rock and overlooking a scenic valley filled with vines, cypress and olive trees. The town is home to the magnificent Cattedrale di Orvieto, known for its ornate façade and the dazzling 16th-century fresco of The Last Judgement found inside. Try famous Orvieto Classico, one of Italy's most delicious white wines, at any of the many shops scattered throughout the town.
Umbria’s main airport, Aeroporto Internazionale dell’Umbria in Perugia, is served by a few international carriers. You can also fly into Florence’s Amerigo Vespucci or Tuscany’s Pisa Airport and then travel onward to Umbria by train. Umbria’s cities and towns are quite well connected by bus and train services.