Umbria calls itself the “Green Heart of Italy.” It’s a perfect name for this central, landlocked region of picturesque, medieval hill towns, rolling green farmland and forests.
Perugia is the capital of Umbria.
When to Go to Umbria
High season in Umbria tends to track with the same in Tuscany and Lazio given that many travelers come to this region on day trips or short visits from Florence and Rome. But the throngs are never as thick here as they can be in those other destinations.
Weather in Umbria
Umbria really shines in the fall when it’s able to showcase its earthy cuisine of roasted meats, cheeses, and mushrooms. It just feels good to settle into a cozy Umbrian restaurant when the air is cool and the days are getting darker.
Festivals and Events in Umbria
Umbria hosts numerous events that merit a visit.
Assisi welcomes spring each year with an event in May called Calendimaggio. Featuring medieval games like archery and duels and a costume parade, Calendimaggio begins on the first Wednesday of May and lasts through the weekend.
The Festa dei Ceri, held each year on May 15, is the biggest event in Gubbio. The highlight of Gubbio’s Candle Festival is the medieval candle race, in which costumed participants race up Mount Ingino carrying enormous wooden candles.
In June, Orvieto celebrates the Feast of Corpus Christi, a religious procession and festival that originated in the town in 1264.
Also in June and July (but sometimes later in the summer), Spoleto hosts the Festival of Two Worlds (Festival dei Due Mondi). This arts and music festival attracts big name talent and visitors from around the world.
The beginning of October it’s back to Assisi, but for religious reasons. October 4 is the feast day of Assisi native a Saint Francis. The solemn, yearly event begins with a pilgrimage from Porziuncola to Saint Francis Basilica on October 3. As Francis is the Patron Saint of Italy, the occasion brings dignitaries to the Umbrian town to present oil for the eternal flame outside Francis’s tomb.
October is also the month when Perugia hosts Eurochocolate. This chocolate festival in the hometown of Perugina began in 1994.
Gubbio gets the spotlight again in December when it lights the World’s Largest Christmas Tree.
Traveling to and Around Umbria
Many who visit Umbria opt to drive, as its notable sights are fairly spread out. Highways and small roads in Umbria are well-maintained.
But parking in cities can be tricky because of narrow roads and ZTL restrictions. Perugia and Orvieto, for example, have car parks on the edge of town to reduce pollution and preserve walkability.
Umbria is served by regional trains, not high-speed ones. Slow train travel is recommended if you have time to spare. You will save money and you will be able to enjoy the view while you relax.
Perugia San Francesco d’Assisi Airport (PEG) is Umbria’s small international airport.
Where to Go in Umbria
Assisi, the home of Saint Francis and his namesake basilica, is the most popular place to visit in Umbria.
Orvieto, with its spectacular Gothic cathedral, is a popular day trip from Rome.
Both Assisi and Orvieto are hill towns. Umbrian hill towns also include Gubbio, Montefalco, Spello, Spoleto, Todi, and Trevi.
Best Tours in Umbria: Day Trips and Longer Stays
Consider one of these private or small group tours to get the most out of your visit to Umbria:
- Top Umbria Tours – Viator. The most popular tours and day trips in Umbria from a variety of licensed guides.
- Tour Guide Assisi. Custom tours with expert guide Maura Baldoni.
- Anne’s Italy. Let professional American tour guide Anne Robichaud design your tour in Umbria.
Recent Posts About Umbria
The Piatto di Sant’Antonio Abate is a winter festival near Assisi that features a parade of horses and a blessing of animals.
Saint Valentine, a Christian bishop from Terni, Umbria, was martyred in Rome during the 3rd century AD. Learn more about his life, death, and legend.
Will Work For Wine: Luca Signorelli’s Orvieto Duomo Contract and His Intoxicating, Apocalyptic Fresco Cycle
In 1499, Tuscan artist Luca Signorelli signed a contract to paint two remaining sections of the Cappella Nuova (new chapel) of the Duomo in the Umbrian town of Orvieto. By 1502 (or 1504, depending on which documentation you read), he had completed his “End of the World” fresco cycle in what is now known as the…
A month-by-month, personal account of my first year living in Italy.
In 2011, UNESCO inscribed Italy’s newest World Heritage sites: The Longobards in Italy. Places of the Power (568-774 A.D.). Treated as one entity, these seven sites stretch from as far north as Castelseprio, Lombardy to as far south as Benevento in Campania. All seven of these sites represent, according to UNESCO, “the high achievement of…
Perugia, the picturesque capital of the region of Umbria, is a destination I like to recommend to travelers looking for a new place to explore in Central Italy. Perugia is an austere, university town – indeed, it’s one of Umbria’s hill towns – with several unique characteristics that make it ideal for discovery. Here’s my…