Italy’s Umbria region offers hills, waterfalls, vineyards and a rural retreat in one of the country’s most beautiful areas. Whether you want to get one of the gorgeous villas in umbria with a private pool for a summer getaway or to stay at a home stay for a cultural experience, you’ll find it here. Away from the landscapes and views, tourists will discover small hilltop villages free of tourists, medieval churches and a thriving art and culture scene. If this is your first time, here are eight experiences every tourist should have in Umbria.
1. Drive Through the Rolling Hills of Umbria
One of the highlights of visiting Umbria is the chance to explore the countryside. From rolling hills and waterfalls to a lake and vineyards, the region in central Italy bathes in natural beauty. The best way to experience this incredible nature is to rent a car. Either get one from the airport and explore at your own pace or rent one for the day and then drive around Umbria on a day trip. It’s strongly advisable to look at a map and discover the places you want to visit before getting a car to make sure you get the most out of your trip.
2. Visit Medieval Cathedrals and Basilicas
Most of the small towns in Umbria have a historical centre filled with architecture and structures dating back centuries. In the heart of these locations, you’ll be able to find historical churches such as the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and Orvieto Cathedral. Head inside and find rich decorations, frescoes and art. But if you do want to go sightseeing in the churches, make sure you dress appropriately and cover your shoulders and legs above the knees.
3. See the Art in Perugia
Umbria’s capital city Perugia has a thriving arts and craft scene. As you stroll through the streets, you’ll find little galleries and artisans displaying their work. Other masterpieces can be seen in the city’s churches and cathedrals. You don’t need to be an expert to appreciate the culture in Umbria, instead expect to feel marvelled by the wide variety that’s on display. And for those who want to take a piece of Umbria back home, why not buy a landscape painting of Italy’s most beautiful region?
4. Sample Locally Produced Cheese
As soon as you head away from the city, the rolling hills and fields will be full of cattle, sheep and goats. Some of the local farmers use their livestock to create a plethora of different types of cheese and dairy products. From familiar cow and sheep cheeses to the unusual types and brands specific to the region, cheese connoisseurs will be able to satisfy their palate. You can either join a tour group that will take you to the different farms. Or rent a car and head there yourself. Expect an explosion of flavours and textures.Most visitors bring some back home with them as a souvenir.
5. Drink the Local Wine
Another allure of Italy’s Umbrian region is the vast variety of wine. Some vineyards have grapes only found in this part of Italy which are then used to create some of the country’s best wine. Drive a short distance from Perugia,and you’re almost sure to find a vineyard along the road. Or search online to find the best ones in the region. Just make sure there’s someone else with you if you have a car because you can expect to drink lots of good wine!
6. Go on a Pilgrimage to Assisi
The small town of Assisi is a big stop for tourists who are on a pilgrimage. Assisi was the birthplace of two important Italian saints: Saint Francis and Saint Clare. Thousands of pilgrims from around the country make a trip to this town each year to visit both St Francis’s Cathedral and St Clare’s Church. But apart from the religious appeal, tourists can also enjoy the small town, hidden squares and stroll along the tiny winding alleys. Assisi also features among some of the best places in all of Italy to have a cultural experience and is somewhere not to be missed by travellers to Umbria.
7. Marvel at the History
Like the rest of Italy, Umbria oozes with history. You can find Roman relics next to Etruscan and Medieval sites juxtaposed with the modern. And most of the towns in the region have a preserved historical centre. As the new buildings went up, the architects made sure the old parts remain as they were. This gives two experiences for tourists: The first is that it feels like the towns are frozen in time. Second, you can see different layers of Italian history in one place. Not only will visiting Umbria be one of the more cultural experiences but it can also be used to appreciate the rich and diverse Italian history.
8. Snap a Few Photographs of the Marmore Waterfall
The Marmore Waterfall is one of Umbria’s best natural attractions. Located in Terni Valley at the confluence of the Nera River and Serra River, it attracts day-trippers from across the region. Apart from hiking and marvelling at the area’s beauty, a favourite activity is to bring a picnic and a bottle of local wine.
Awesome Experiences in Umbria
As you can see, Italy’s Umbria region makes an ideal place to visit. All tourists should try to experience the best of the area by exploring the countryside, trying the local wine, buying cheese directly from the farmers and soaking up the history and culture of one of Italy’s most beautiful regions.