- Countryside Rolling hills, Roman ruins
- Country Life Walk like an Etruscan
Umbria is a rustic playground of pleasures, where food, fortified towns and fine wines will sate your every cultural and culinary need.
Italy’s landlocked heart lies dead centre between Florence and Rome – a bucolic blanket of hills, peaks and plains. Populous Perugia is the region’s epicentre, industrious Terni its southern hub. But it’s away from the larger towns that Umbria excels: its terracotta-topped villages line up like a pageant of fortified beauties – ancient, and abundant in churches and castles. Cultural heritage is not Umbria’s only rich vein – the Slow Food movement is strong in this produce-laden province. If it’s not the wild boar and truffles of its woods supplying your plate, it could just as easily be lamb from the mountains, trout from its rivers, or a tipple from its many wineries. Too long has Umbria lived in Tuscany’s shade – the region’s diverse attractions making it as well-rounded as the vowels in its melodious name.
Do go/Don’t go
June onwards brings a festival fest to the region, adding extra colour to your visit. For a balance of crowds versus weather, spring months March to May are favourable, beating September and October by a whisker. If you don’t mind cooler temperatures, have Umbria to yourself, December to February.
- Planes Perugia is the hub airport for Umbria; from the UK | Rynair flies there from London Stansted (www.ryanair.com). The region is roughly in the middle between Rome and Florence (around 150km to each) for other flight options.
- Trains Terni and Orvieto can each be reached from Rome in an hour; Foligno is one hour 40 minutes from Ancona by rail (www.ferroviedellostato.it).
- Automobiles It’s handy to have wheels for exploring this rustic region. At Perugia airport companies including Avis have desks (www.avis.com).
- Taxis In Orvieto, try Catarcia Simone Taxi Service (+39 360 433016; www.orvietotaxi.it). For cabs around Norcia, Piazzale Giovanni Polvani operates out of Spoleto (+39 0743 220489).