With no coastline, the region of Italy known as Umbria seems like an unlikely place for becoming a traveler’s destination, and yet that is precisely what it is. Historic and utterly beautiful, it is often compared to Tuscany in terms of its appeal and beauty and its name even hints that it can be thought of as second option. After all, Umbria comes from the Italian term “ombra” or shadow. The region sits in the shadow of the Umbrian mountains and hills, and it is full of amazing valleys, beautiful groves and orchards and fairy tale-like forests. It is certainly not a lesser choice by any standards.
So, if you have decided to visit this remarkable location in the heart of Italy, you will want to be sure you have made careful plans that allow you to experience some of its medieval sights and walled towns, its delicious foods and wines, its art treasures, olive groves, and so much more. Here, we’ll consider the basic itinerary for a week in Umbria.
There is No Busy Here
Though a week in Umbria is not enough to do justice to this lovely region, you will quickly discover that even places noted for being busy are rarely busy on the scale of other locations on the peninsula. While this itinerary for a week in Umbria does hop around between well-known and lesser known spots, neither the itinerary nor the destinations will feel busy or hectic. With that in mind, let’s begin…
This wonderful medieval town should be considered a “must” for anyone with a week in Umbria. Close to the much more famous Assisi, it is actually the more appropriate spot to begin your tour of the region. Home to the Civic Museum, it is one spot where you can really learn and discover a great deal about the people of this area. There are some Roman ruins to enjoy, but it is the medieval architecture that is a real high point here. It is also where you can climb or ride the funicular up to the top of Mt. Ingino and take in stunning views of the fortress and scenery below. While touring Gubbio, it is vital to sample at least one dish spotlighting truffles, as this is a specialty.
Don’t plan to spend your time in Assisi on a Sunday as it is a hugely popular destination on this day of the week. Instead, for your week in Umbria, pop in on the quietest day – Monday. You can visit the iconic Basilica of St. Francis in the morning and then spend a day strolling this historic and appealing town. Here too you have Roman ruins and a popular and charming museum at the Cathedral of San Rufino. If you wish to work off your lunch (you stopped for a hearty lunch, right?), you can climb fortress Rocca or you can hit the road and make your way to visit shrines like San Damiano or Eremo delle Carceri. In fact, if you want a more accurate portrait of St. Francis, these are the places to choose. You will also want to drive up Mt. Subasio for what is sure to be an unforgettable sunset.
The capital is a city, but you will aim for the historic city center during your week in Umbria. Here you can see the Oratorio di San Bernaradino or the national gallery. You must then stop at Pasticceria Sandri on the Corso for coffee and pastry or safe room for dinner at Forziere Antico after an afternoon touring the shops. Of course, Lake Trasimeno also calls to those in this area, and this could be a perfect destination in which you head to Castiglione del Lago near the water and dine at Rosso di Sera, a noted restaurant in the region.
Choose a Park
Umbria is home to a national park and seven smaller, regional parks. Dedicate at least one day to visiting the nearest. Mount Subasio Park is the largest but locals also love to visiting the nearest. Mount Subasio Park is the largest but locals also love Sibilline National Park and the Nera River Regional Park (home to Marmore waterfalls and San Pietro en Valle).
Of course, a week in Umbria cannot be complete without a visit to Orvieto’s cathedral, the nearby town of Todi and lovely Lake Corbara. You will also want to do the underground tour (if available) and sample the local wines. Naturally, you may also want to do a day of driving from town to town with Spello, Montefalco, and Bevagna ratiing very highly.