Assisi, in the heart of UmbriaItaly is comprised of twenty unique regions, from its southernmost Mediterranean island region Sicily up to the northern tip of mountainous Alto-Adige. Nestled in almost the exact middle of the Italian peninsula is Umbria, an extraordinary region offering something for everyone, whether seasoned Italophile or first-time visitor. Our Best of Umbria tour will introduce you to this area known for its natural beauty, ancient history, religious architecture, and food and wine. Here’s what you can expect.
Take in Some Nature
Umbria is a green pocket tucked into central Italy, being the only region that is both entirely landlocked and without a foreign border. A combination of densely forested hills, high mountains and fertile valleys make a tour of Umbria ideal for nature lovers. Whether walking, hiking or being driven around on our specially arranged tour, wonderful, vast landscapes dotted with olive groves and vineyards await you, and you’ll quickly come to see why Italian writer Giosuè Carducci called this place ‘the green heart of Italy’.
Umbria takes its name from the ancient Italic tribe associated with it, the Umbri, who settled in the area. Centuries of warring and invasions by neighboring Etruscans, from about 700 to 500 B.C., left incredible traces of that civiliziation, such as the Cai Cutu Etruscan tomb on display at the Archeological Museum in Perugia. Umbria was later overtaken by ancient Rome, and in Assisi one can witness this legacy in a remarkable example of Roman architecture, the Temple of Minerva, which you will awe at on our Umbria tour.
Some important religious Orders have roots in Umbria, namely the Franciscans, the Domenicans, and the Poor Clares. The most significant religious structure in Umbria is of course the Basilica of Saint Francis, dedicated to the founder of the Franciscan Order and patron saint of Italy (along with Saint Catherine of Siena). The dramatic, hilltop-perched structure will catch your attention as you approach Assisi. After wandering the enchanting roads and medieval alleyways of town, visit the stunning basilica to view the 13th-century Gothic style architecture of the upper church, and the masterful frescoes decorating the lower church. Here you will see works by Giotto, Cimabue, Simone Martini and more.
Local Food and Wine
With its lush natural landscape and fertile soil, it’s no wonder Umbria produces impressive wines and an array of gastronomic specialties. What’s more, the town of Perugia has been associated with chocolate for over a century, as makers of Italy’s chocolate candies Baci (‘kisses’), Perugina, are based here. Perugia not only hosts the annual Eurochocolate Festival, it also has a Chocolate Museum!
Moving from sweet to savory, Umbrian cuisine comprises some of Italy’s most delicious cured meats and pork products. In the town of Norcia, producers of all manner of salami and cold cuts abound. This region is also prized for its black and white truffles, those precious tubers so valued by chefs and foodies. In restaurants, try any pasta dish made alla Norcina: a sauce of cream, truffles and sausage. Lentils, spelt, pheasant and wild boar are also popular in Umbria.
Umbrian wines of note include several DOC and DOCG varieties, from reds like Sagrantino di Montefalco and Torgiano Rosso Riserva to the white Orvieto Classico.
Try these specialties and more on our tour of Umbria, which allows you plenty of free time to have lunch on your own and browse local shops for delicacies. Remember to ask your expert local guide for suggestions!
The Practical Stuff
Tour Duration: 11 hours circa
Dates & Times:
- This tour runs rain or shine on a private booking basis, departing from Florence (other arrangements can be made upon request).
- Please contact us directly to arrange your wonderful tour of Umbria.
- History and Architecture Lovers
- Nature Lovers
- Food and Wine Lovers
- All Ages
To book a place on this magical tour of Umbria, visit our website today.