Umbria: Luxury Travel Guide to Italy
Touring Italy’s Countryside
A vacation in the Umbria region of Italy will transport you back in time to a rustic countryside of sunflowers, ancient winding streets and old-world luxuries like fine wine and homemade Italian food.
A land of scenic countryside, hills, mountains and river valleys, Umbria is less developed than its neighboring regions. Its tranquil landscape and intimate small towns make it the ideal place to rent a villa, relax and revel in the rustic Italian way of life.
Umbria - Benvenuto
You’ll be captivated by the local customs. Watching the day unfold on the piazza, you’ll get a sense of everyday village life. Later in the day, you’ll see how important the passagetta is to the social fabric of the village. You’ll dine on regional dishes made with ingredients from your neighbors’ farms and drink wine from regional vineyards.
Umbrians are a warm, welcoming people who proudly share their bounty with visitors. Embracing their hospitality and making new friends is one of the many pleasures of spending time in the Umbrian countryside.
Umbria’s Encompassing Beauty
When staying in Umbria, you should rent a car. Getting around is easy and always picturesque. In fact, no matter where your destination, the drive there is sure to be just as enjoyable.
In Umbria, centuries-old monasteries and hilltop towns share the countryside with farms, vineyards and olive groves. Ancient Etruscan and Roman ruins lie in the shadow of imposing Medieval castles and splendid Baroque palazzos. Walled towns sit on mountainsides, atop hills and volcanic rock. It’s a fascinating land, rich with history and cultural treasures that spellbind visitors of all ages.
Explore Umbria’s Ancient Cities and Towns
Each of the cities and towns of Umbria has its own unique charms, with many opportunities for cultural pursuits, shopping and sightseeing. The intimate scale of the small towns makes them ideal for leisurely, self-guided exploration. For larger destinations, you can arrange for a registered private guide.
Perugia is an energetic college town and arts center with numerous points of interest, including: the Palazzo dei Priori with its three beautifully frescoed spaces; the Etruscan Arch that’s functioned as a major gateway for centuries; the unusual Fontana Maggiore; the unfinished Duomo; and a number of Etruscan archeological artifacts. Perugia is especially well-known for its ceramics, home linens and, of course, Perugina chocolates.
Assisi, just 30 minutes from Perugia, is dramatically situated on a hillside. Dominated by two large Medieval castles, Assisi is an art and architecture lover’s paradise. It also has great religious significance in the lore of St. Francis. The town is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Spoleto, surrounded by the Apennine Mountains, is also rich in art and architecture, specifically Medieval, Renaissance and Romanesque. It has a concentration of exceptional restaurants and is just a 30-minute drive from Perugia and one-hour train ride from Rome.
Orvieto has a commanding position on the summit of a large butte of volcanic rock. You’ll find many Etruscan artifacts and ruins in Orvieto, as well as the renowned striped Gothic Duomo and a fascinating ancient labyrinth of underground caves and tunnels carved from the soft rock that lies under the town. The town’s center is free of automobiles, making it very easy to get around on foot. Rome is a one-hour drive away.
Norcia is famous for its truffles, lentils, prosciutto, salami and cured meats — as well as many fine restaurants. It’s position near the mountains has also made Norcia a base for mountaineering and hiking.
Deruta, a charming hilltop town with exceptional clay soil, is home to more than 300 producers of ceramics and is the ideal place to buy majolica ware.
There are other less well-known but equally interesting Umbrian towns, including: Bettona, Bevagna, Castiglione de Lago, Citta di Castello, Gualdo Cattaneo, Montefalco and Spella.
Savor Authentic Umbrian Cooking
Traditional Umbrian food is based on what’s freshest at the market that morning and what’s most ripe in the garden that day. The result is always delicious.
You may be surprised to find that Umbria boasts a wide variety of restaurants. Umbrian chefs are very inventive and produce some of Italy’s best contemporary menus. Be sure to try dishes that include regional specialties such as truffles, lentils, olive oil and prosciutto.
If you enjoy cooking, you can arrange for private cooking classes in a restaurant kitchen, or in your very own kitchen, if staying in a villa.
Attend an Umbrian Festa
Umbrians put on a lot of festivals, joyous celebrations with lots of good food and music. Some of the larger ones are centered around the arts. Many are in honor of a saint. One even celebrates chocolate.
Perhaps the most interesting festivals involve Medieval contests, such as Gubbio’s Candle Race or Foligno’s Giostra della Quintana. The Candle Race is a 900-year-old tradition. It’s a sort of relay race across the town. But instead of batons, contestants carry very heavy, 20-foot-high wooden columns. Foligno’s Quintana lasts for days as the town’s ten districts compete in a jousting contest. In addition, many festival goers wear elaborate historical costumes.
Explore the Outdoors in Umbria
There are many opportunities for sports and other memorable outdoor activities in Umbria — especially during the summer months, when the weather is typically sunny.
Bicycle rentals are available. Hiking trips can be arranged for people of all fitness levels, even small children — they get a mule or donkey to ride during the hike. Canoeing. Fishing. Horseback riding. Mountain and rock climbing. Rafting. You could even join the locals for some wild boar hunting.
The Appennine Mountains, the Tiber River and its tributaries, the must-see Marmore Waterfalls and many square miles of pristine Umbrian forests provide perfect venues for outdoor recreation.
Umbria Villa Rentals from Homebase Abroad
Homebase Abroad has a select Portfolio of Umbria luxury rental villas and comprehensive vacation planning services. With 13 years of experience planning villa rental vacations in Umbria, Homebase Abroad has insider information about the best restaurants, shops and attractions. Homebase Abroad can procure tickets, plan itineraries based on your special interests, arrange for private guides… Homebase Abroad has the familiarity with the region, local contacts and expertise to create a custom luxury Italian villa vacation that meets all your requests and exceeds your expectations.
For information, including availability, please call Homebase Abroad at 781-639-4040 or UK: +44-20-7084-6374 to consult with a director who would be happy to answer all your questions and make suggestions as to how your luxury villa vacation could be customized and made especially memorable.
Click here to view our portfolio of Umbria villa rentals. If you want to view additional Umbria villa rentals, many of which are not publicly available on our website please Click here one of our travel consultants or call us at 781-639-4040 or UK: +44-20-7084-6374.