Why go to Umbria?

Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country. Throw in style, sensuality, charisma, character and great food and it’s no wonder that Italy is numero uno with so many travellers.

While the crown jewels of Florence, Venice and Rome cast a long shadow – and the tourist hordes bear witness to their appeal – Italy is a treasure house of art, architecture, culture and manners, much of which flies below the radar. Which is why we like Umbria.

Located at the heart of Italy, just north of Rome Umbria is a part of Italy that still feels real. The province is home to a clutch of distinguished medieval cities in which you can sense the dawning of the Renaissance, the explosion of incendiary ideas of the Enlightenment as well as the roots of the Romanesque – foremost among them Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto and Gubbio, while hill towns such as Trevi, Montefalco, Spello and Todi – a favourite with the Italian avant-garde – offer the chance to marinade yourself in the real Italy.

It’s also a place of seasonal pleasures, with a cuisine all its own. One of the classic dishes of the Umbrian kitchen is pasta with grated Umbrian black truffles, moistened with local olive oil – a dish so simple and yet so sublime that it can never be forgotten. Umbria is also the home of porchetta, a roll of stuffed and roasted pork, traditionally slow-cooked over wood for eight hours or more. Pulled pork has nothing on Umbrian porchetta.


Why go there with us?

It’s a region we know well. Liz’s sister has lived in Umbria for close to three decades, in a medieval olive mill in the hill town of Trevi which she and her Italian husband have made into a lovely family home. She’s written a book about her life in Umbria, celebrated it in her artworks and we’ve visited many times, and her affection for the place she calls home in infectious.

We’ve put together a 12-night itinerary starting from Rome in late April and taking in the best of Umbria. We’ll see frescoes by Giotto and works by Caravaggio, some churches that will take your breath away, but we’ll also get mud on our boots searching for truffles, the black gold of Umbria, and flour on our hands making pasta the traditional way.

We’ll stand where St Francis of Assisi preached a new message of love, sample an intense red wine made from grapes that grow only around the hill town of Montefalco, spend two nights in Rome and stay in four really gorgeous boutique hotels – and no tourist hordes, although escape is not possible in Rome.

Tempted? This is an exploratory trip, so just six places available. Take a look at the itinerary.

Not sure about our travel style? Read the testimonials from our trips to India