Active tourism in Valnerina. Do you know how to swim in a river?
Why I love Umbria
A green, lush and gentle region
Every year many tourist destinations advertise the great holidays they have to offer: Fashionable, adventurous, romantic, cultural holidays with plenty of sunshine & tropical beaches far away from home. And yet every year I am seduced once again by Italy, which is only 800 miles away! So how does Italy manage to tempt me back every year for my holidays? Let’s just run through a few of my favourite things about Italy in one of my favourite regions: Umbria.
I love the green, lush and gentle region of Umbria. Pass through the bustling and universally praised region of Tuscany and once you have arrived in Umbria and drive around for a couple of days, you’ll notice the immediate peace and quiet, as well as all the abundance of space compared to Tuscany. I’ll treat myself to a lovely Italian lunch every single day – something I am looking forward to every day I wake up. Especially after a very active morning on a hot day there’s nothing more enjoyable than having Italian lunch in local restaurant in one of the small villages. More often than not I can’t resist a fresh glass of wine to go with my lunch, which may affect productivity during the remainder of the day… But who cares!
Do you fancy a day on the lake? Head to Lago Trasimeno. I personally really enjoy the northern shores of the lake. Drive from Passignano to San Vito and continue to Castel Rigone and finish your journey in Magione. The view on the lake is truly beautiful from Magione and the little villages are as picturesque as they come.
Looking for adventure? The Monti Sibillini are part of the Apennine Mountain range and are quite rough, ideal for hiking. You can see the mountains come into view from the little town of Castelluccio which is situated on the Piano Grande. This is where you can access the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibellini, which is really worth a visit.
Interested in culture and history? Pay a visit to Spoleto, a city on top of a hill surrounded by forests and walk around the old city. Alternatively, head to Orvieto to see its famous old cathedral. If you are keen to find out what the Umbrian countryside produces I’d recommend to go to Montefalco and taste the local wines, delicacies and olive oil produced in this region.
Some of us are secretly quite romantic… Those may enjoy a trip to Bevagna, a little town on a large, green flat plane in Umbria. This is a unique tiny little village with a mysterious beauty. The town that left a very lasting impression was the town of Spello, and in particular the atmosphere in this little town. You’ll have to climb up a very steep passage with many arcs to enter this little town with its many flowers. Everything oozes the good old times and you can taste the very arty atmosphere. Have a look around the Santa Maria Maggiore and you’ll see something you’ve never seen before. Let Spello get you under its spell!
Finally Perugia; apart from the many beautiful monuments you’ll see many students everywhere you go. Italians and International students enjoy themselves, many of them trying to learn Italian… I can confirm speaking some Italian comes in very handy during your holiday. You can listen to the Italians around you and really get to understand Italian life a little bit better… A small conversation here, a question there… It feels good to be able to communicate with the locals and allows you to enjoy your favourite holiday destination even more…
So, who’s up for an Italian language course?
Visit Perugia: helpful hints
There is an international airport in Perugia, connected to the centre of the city by a bus line (tickest 2,5€ – or 3,5€ if you buy it on board-). For transcontinental flights you have to stop in other airports and get to Perugia either by train or by car.
The best way to visit Perugia is by walking, but if you are interested in using the public transports check the Busitalia website. If you reach the city by car or by train, you can climb up to the city centre – which is located quite high! – using some free escalators leading straight inside the Rocca Paolina. Leave your car in one of the big parking places ‘downstairs’ (ask for some special parking rates to your hotel, they often offer some discounts!).
What to do
Perugia is the capital city of Umbria region, in the very heart of Italy. Go sightseeing in the city centre, it is famous for the defensive wall all around, the great Rocca Paolina and Palazzo Priori that contains a very important collection of works of Umbrian art.
If you love chocolate, Perugia is the hometown of the famous chocolate factory Perugina, where you can also take some nice class at the “school of chocolate” and then sleep in the Choco Hotel. Consider also a tour through the charming villages near Perugia, we recommend you to visit Agello, Bettona and Spello!