Umbria is often referred to as a smaller and cheaper version of Tuscany, however this gives the impression that it has less to offer, which is not true. It is every bit as rich in culture and history, with untouched landscapes and winding valleys, it is equally as impressive as Tuscany, if not more.
You can choose from a long list of exciting towns and cities to visit in Umbria, many of which are rich in architectural treasures especially from the Middle Ages plus there are a great many art collections.
Gubbio is one of the oldest towns in Umbria and has a wide range of well-preserved monuments showing the great past of the town. In Gubbio sights include the Roman theatre, the basilica Sant'Ubaldo and the cathedral.
Umbertide, famous for its modern art collection, is yet another fascinating medieval town with castles and beautiful churches. Città della Pieve by Lake Trasimeno is thought to have been founded by the Etruscans and has many interesting monuments from the Middle Ages and other times.
Perugia is the capital of Umbria. The town was one of the Etruscan's most important and at one time was even bigger than Rome. There are lots of interesting monuments here, but the town is also famous for its international and very well respected jazz festival, Umbria Jazz, where many international names perform each year. The town also has an international chocolate festival visited by many chocolate enthusiasts.
Most people have heard of Assissi because of the holy Saint Francis of Assissi. A large part of the town consists of buildings from the Middle Ages and there is more than enough to see here if you are interested in magnificent building works from this period of time.
Some people may have heard of Orvieto because of the white wine of the same name. This town was also founded by the Etruscans. The cathedral is one of the main attractions in the town. Todi is beautifully situated in soft green hills. It is thought to have been founded 2700 BC. There are both the Etruscan and Roman relics to see here.
Montefalco is a town, which has also given its name to Umbria's best red wine, Montefalco Sagrantino. The town is quite small but famed for its fantastic views over the countryside. Polino is situated 800 metres above sea level and has many buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries.
Spoleto has also kept its classical feel with clear traces of Roman influence. In its time, the town was under Lombard influence. The cathedral, a Roman bridge, the basilica and the Roman church Sant'Eufemia are some of the main sights.
Norcia is well known for its marvellous hams and sausages made from pork and wild boar. Many of the town's monuments show signs of damage because of the earthquakes that affect the area from time to time. The town's cathedral is from the Renaissance. But a visit to Norcia is also often a culinary visit where you can enjoy the great local Umbrian cuisine.
Many of the towns in Umbria were established by the Etruscans who have left many traces in this lovely region. Umbria also shows signs of the great Roman Empire, for example in town planning, the Roman theatre, bridges and basilicas.
Umbria is a fantastic place for people wishing to see and experience the Middle Ages with their own eyes, as the region has a wealth of beautiful and impressive building works from the Middle Ages. The Renaissance is another period which has also left its mark on Umbria. Many Umbrian towns also show signs of this period.
If you want to swim during your stay in Umbria you must make do with taking a dip in one of the lakes of the region, such as Lake Trasimeno. The lakes all have a good selection of lake beaches, with facilities for bathers.
If you are looking to experience the beauty of nature combined with impressive historical monuments then Umbria has everything you are looking for. Lake Trasimeno is a beautiful area also close to Perugia with many cute towns around the shores. Monte Sibillini is a large scenic area with small mountains, gushing rivers, forests and lots of wildlife. The area is also famed for its plentiful valleys and lakes. The River Tiber runs through this stunning landscape, which is also a journey through history.
Umbria is renowned for its great cuisine, which is often slightly rustic but nonetheless based on wonderful fresh ingredients.
The region is known for its amazing truffles and other delicious mushrooms. Lentils from Castelluccio are another specialty.
Fish and seafood: Fish in Umbria is normally fresh water fish such as trout, carp and eel. Having said that, in Italy you are rarely far away from the sea so you can always get salt-water fish.
Meat, game and poultry: This is where Umbria's cuisine really comes into its own. Wonderful dishes with game such as pigeon, wild boar and quail. Here you can also enjoy Guinea fowl.
Sausages and ham: Corallina di Norcia and Prosciutto di Norcia are two excellent products, respectively sausage and ham, which go wonderfully with good bread, good local olive oil and some cheese.
Mazzafegato is another sausage specialty made from pork liver.
Cheese: Pecorino (sheep's cheese) is a typical cheese produced in Umbria. There are also good local variations, which rarely leave the town they are produced in.
Sweets: Dried figs and chocolate are among some of the best-loved sweet things in Umbria. Perugia is famed for its great production of chocolate.
Wine and vineyards: In particular, there are two good red wines produced from local grapes in Umbria: Montefalco Sagrantino and Torgiano. Other good red wines are also produced from international grapes such as Merlot. Orvieto is probably among the best known white wines. However, over recent years Umbria has produced many good Chardonnay-based wines. Good vineyards in Umbria include Lungarotti, Colpetrone, Perticaia, Caprai, Colli Armerini, Le Poggette and Castello della Sala.
Take a look through our handpicked collection of holiday accommodation in Umbria using the search machine above at the top of the page. There is something for everyone and all budgets, including self-catering apartments, vacation rentals, villas, hotels and cosy bed & breakfasts. Our Italy travel experts are available to provide you with free travel advice so don't hesitate to contact us.