Often referred to as il cuor verde d’itali or the green heart of Italy, Umbria is a beautiful Italian region that is characterized by quaint lovely hill towns, beautiful countryside and a vast portion of valleys, woods and streams. Named after the mysterious Umbrii tribe, which was cited by Pliny to be the oldest in Italy, Umbria is most well known in history to be the birthplace of a number of saints, including well loved St. Benedict and St. Francis of Assisi. It is also the birthplace of a religious tradition that earned the region its nicknames Umbra santa and Umbra mistica.
Umbria may not be as distinguished as the other Italian cities and regions but it is well loved by travelers for its oddly luminous silver haze that hangs lazily yet romantically over the hills, aptly known as the Umbrian light. Although its cities may be “overshadowed” by other Italian top notch travel destination, there is a lot of beauty to be found in this ancient region. For that reason, it is no surprise that it caters to and welcomes multitudes of guests and tourists on a yearly basis.
Bordered by equally beautiful Italian destinations Lazio to the south, Marche to the east and Tuscany to the west, Umbria is accessible through the road connecting Rome and Florence, the A1 Autostrada. People arriving from Florence can take the Siena-Perugia highway while those driving from Rome can access most of the Umbrian towns at Orte. Those who prefer not to drive can take the main Rome-Florence railway that stops at Orvieto. There are also connecting railway lines to the towns of Assisi, Perugia and Spoleto. On the other hand, those coming in from farther regions and areas can fly in through the small airport in Perugia. Once you are in the region, you can simply traverse one town to the next on foot or bike, and explore the beauty and treasure Umbria has to offer.
A perfect way to kick off an Umbrian travel adventure is by visiting the famous medieval town of Assisi. Apart from taking a tour of the birthplace of the beloved saint, any tourist or traveler can easily lose themselves in the many beautiful treasures of this town. Start the trip with a visit to one of the most beautiful churches of Assisi, dating back to 1253, the basilica of St. Francis. Other churches here include the San Rufino Cathedral, Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, and the beautiful Saint Claire’s Basilica, where the original crucifix that spoke to Saint Francis many centuries ago can be found. Apart from a wonderful tour of the churches and cathedrals, any Assisi tour must also include visiting a number of its souvenir shops that dot its ancient streets, starting with those found behind the lower levels of the Basilica of St. Francis, where numerous wares including arts and crafts, as well as paintings and reproductions of medieval tools and weapons are for sale.
Meanwhile, any visitor to Bevagna will find its level terrain quite a welcome break from the otherwise hilly Umbria. Lying lazily in the plains of the Topino River, Bevagna also offers many attractions and destinations. Listed as One of the Most Beautiful Boroughs of Italy, some of Bevagna’s enchanting features include the awe-inspiring Roman columns and friezes as Bevagna was constructed on top of Roman ruins. Among the top destinations any guests must include in their travel itinerary are the charming Piazza Silvestri where you can find the Gothic styled Palace of the Consols, the 12th Century Romanesque churches of San Silvestro and San Michele Arcangelo, as well as the beautiful fountain which was added here in the 19th century. While there, make sure to check out the paper mill of Cartiera, the restored Roman pavement of Casa Romana, as well as the Bevagna Civic Museum.
Umbria will never run out of beautiful travel destinations and while here, any guest will surely enjoy visiting more attractions before saying goodbye to the lovely hilly town. Among the top destinations to visit here are the 16th century fortress of Underground Perugia, Post Science Center and the National Gallery of Umbria which curates a wide array of paintings from the 13th and 19th century.
For a delightful dining experience, make sure to stop by one of its charming restaurants and try the salads and Limoncello of Osteria Il Gufo, the local cuisine served at Orto del Frate and Ristorante Cedro del Libano.