Italy’s Umbria region has a lot going on for it. The region is often called ‘Italy’s Green Heart’ for the amount of nature parks here. In addition to natural beauty, Umbria is packed with medieval culture, antiquated hill towns, and some of the most intriguing displays of local life. If you’re visiting Umbria, get ready for a full itinerary of sightseeing. We’ve compiled a list of Umbria’s most beautiful towns so you know which ones are worth exploring. Here are our top picks.
Assisi is pretty famous around Italy. It’s a designated World UNESCO Heritage Site and is the birthplace of St. Francis, who gave away his possessions to help those in need. In fact, Assisi was the birthplace of many famous Italians such as the Latin poet Propertius, the founder of Poor Sisters, St. Clare, and Saint Gabriel from Our Lady of Sorrows.
While visiting Assisi, make sure to see the top attraction, St. Francis Basilica. It’s one of the most important religious pilgrimage sites in the world, as it was built atop the grave of St. Francis. The site is made up of two churches that are beautifully decorated in frescoes from the 13th and 14th centuries.
Check out the Cathedral of San Rufino which features a Roman sarcophagus, artwork, historic treasures, and a museum to display them all. There’s also Rocca Maggiore castle which is often referred to as ‘picture perfect.’ And, Temple of Minerva, which sports regal pillars that date back to the first century BC.
Spend some time people watching in the scenic main square of Piazza del Comune, and stop by the historic sites of Chiesa Nuosa, a Renaissance-style church, and Convento di San Damiano, an ancient church with a scenic courtyard.
Surrounded by cliffs and defensive walls, Orvieto is a city with beauty and historical significance. When visiting, make sure to see the cathedral, which has ornate artwork on both the outside and the inside. Visit the 61 meters-deep St. Patrick’s Well, which has a stairway for visitors to descend. And, spend some time exploring Torre del Moro, which was built in the 13th century and feels like stepping back in time.
Orvieto is scattered with historical attractions that makes it both beautiful and interesting to wander. While visiting, spend some time in Via della Cava, an underground route line with bedrooms and furniture made of rocks. You’ll find the hilly landscape dotted with Etruscan buildings, museums, and castle-like buildings.
Perugia was one of Italy’s main Etruscan cities during its heyday. Today, it’s a historic college town that also graces the itineraries of many tourists. It’s an artistic and cultural hotspot, known for hosting events and festivals. And, it was once a breeding ground for famous artists like Raphael and Pinturicchio.
Spend some time wandering around the historic centre which is full of old buildings, markets, and cafes. Tour the underground network of tunnels, squares, and rooms that run under the city if you want to learn about Perugia’s hidden history. Chocolate lovers should visit during the Eurochocolate festival in October. You’ll be in a for a ton of sweet treats surrounded by history and beauty. The town is dotted with historic churches, green spaces, and viewing points of Lake Trasimeno.
This ancient city is dominated by religious culture and historic buildings. Spoleto is considered one of the most beautiful towns in the area as it’s flanked by olive tree groves, vineyards, and stunning views. As you wander around the town, you can take in the same sights as former distinguished governors, and popes have in the past.
Check out the fortress, Roman theatre, Bridge of the Towers, and Mauri Palace. There are more significant churches than you’ll ever be able to see in one visit, and stunning cathedrals that will take up much of your sightseeing time. If you want to see the best views in Spoleto, make the walk around Rocca Albornoz, which features valleys and historic monuments.
This lovely town is perched on a hill that overlooks the Tiber river. While the town might be small, the views make it worth the trip, which is actually quite convenient from Orvieto and Perugia.
Start your day off at the main Piazza del Popolo which is in the heart of the city and surrounded by medieval buildings. It’s the perfect place to get your bearings, people watch, and find some food.
Top attractions to visit include the Santa Maria della Consolazione, one of the most photographed buildings in Todi, and the Civic Museum, which is filled with art exhibits and culture. Check out the Todi Cathedral, San Fortunato Church, and the city’s underground tunnels.
This mountain town is an ancient example of villages of the Bronze Age. During the Middle Ages, Gubbio had powerful beginnings, as it was the home of knights, significant churches, and important leaders. Gubbio’s claim to fame are the Eugubine Tables that were found here in 1444. These bronze tablets make up the largest, surviving Umbrian text in the world.
When visiting, make sure to explore the Roman Theatre, which was the second largest in the Roman Empire, and Gubbio’s main attraction. See Palazzo dei Consoli which holds an interesting collection of archeological artefacts. And, take the cable car up to the top of Mount Ingino for some of the best views in Umbria. Also, Gubbio is known for its truffle mushrooms, so make sure to try the cuisine as these tasty fungi are incorporated in many dishes.
Found on a scenic, sloping ridge, Spello is an ancient town full of Italian charm. One of the best things to do in Spello is wander the cobblestone streets, get lost in the cute alleyways, and marvel at the ancient city wall.
Make sure to visit the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, Church of St. Andrea, and the Church of St. Lorenzo. The art museum, and villas show off artefacts, jewellery, and works of art that represent this city’s creative culture.
Norcia can be found nestled in a lush plain, surrounded by mountain peaks and the Sordo river. It’s popular for its natural scenery and is a location known for its hiking and mountaineering opportunities.
While visiting, start off at the main town square to take in the historic sites and do some people watching. See the Church of St. Benedetto, the Town Hall, Bell Tower, and Loggia Staircase. Other historic sites that should be on the list include The Cathedral of Santa Maria Argentea, St. Francis’s Monumental Complex, and Marcite, an irrigation system that was built by Benedictine Monks.
If you want to experience Norcia properly, you’ll need to get out of the hotel and into nature. Some of the top outdoor activities include trekking, mountain biking, horseback riding, canoeing, rafting, and alpine skiing.
Narni is a scenic town that overlooks the gorge of the Nera river. Between the ancient, stone buildings and the lush valleys beyond, the scenery here is absolutely breathtaking. Make sure to watch the romantic sunsets, explore the cobblestone alleys, and taste the traditional food.
While visiting, some of the top sites to check out include the Civic Museum, which shows off a collection of Italian art, and the Subterranea, an archeological site with a view. Wander the historic city centre, stand on the geographical centre of Italy, and see the city’s most important building, the Rocca.
Castiglione del Lago
This scenic town is located at the corner of Lake Trasimeno. It used to be an island, but as the city grew, the gap was filled with churches, homes, and buildings. Many of these buildings are the highlight of a visit, so know which ones to see before you go.
Spend some time exploring the 6th century castle, Rocca del Leone, or the Castello del Leone, a fortress built during the 13th century. Take some time to wander around the market, to get a taste of local life and produce. And, wander the Della Corgna Palace, which is full of ornate frescoes, and lavish design.
Bevagna is located in the flood plain of the Topino river. It was originally an Etrusco-Oscan settlement and went on to be an important destination for the elite. The village here is often referred to as the most beautiful in Umbria, and offers historical churches, antiquated streets, and impressive views.
The town is full of churches, ancient ruins, and castles, so the best thing to do is simply wander around to see them all.
This walled medieval village is best seen on foot, wandering around the side streets aimlessly while discovering new sites. The town has over 800 years of history, is full of art and culture, and surrounded by towering mountains and misty views.
Compared to the rest of Umbria’s town, Montone isn’t that popular, making it a perfect trip if you like to get off-the-beaten-track. It overlooks the river and is scattered with churches, historic buildings, and viewpoints. As you wander the streets, keep an eye out for artisan shops, cafes, and colourful gardens.
This charming town is right on the border of Tuscany, so you know there will be beautiful scenery. It’s been named one of the prettiest villages in Italy so if you’re into photography, this is your place. The medieval town is full of artistic charm and works by famous artists like Donatello.
Visit the church of San Michele Arcangelo, the Monastery of St. Elizabeth, and the Piazza Scipioni. When you aren’t perusing the historic sites, pop into the cafes and restaurants to try the city’s notable cuisine. Rabbit, vegetables, truffle and porcini mushrooms, and homemade pasta sauces are some of the top things to try.
This city is an important one for industry, the railway, and transport. It was founded before the Roman period but was eventually conquered by the Romans before falling into despair and being reinvented.
Visit the former residence of the prominent Trinci family, Palazzo Trinci. An even more impressive palace is Palazzo Lezi – Marchetti. It’s a colourful display of religious artworks, frescoes, and murals.
Take a peek at Foligno Cathedral, Abbey of Sassovivo (the area’s oldest Benedictine monastery, and the CIAC Museum which is full of modern art. The Natural History Museum, Castle of Rasiglia, and Sanctuary of St. Mary Jacob are popular sites to visit as well.
This is one of Italy’s most important wine-producing regions so if you love a good glass of Vino, this is the place. It’s certainly not the most popular town in Umbria to visit, but as the city gets more media coverage, it’s becoming its own wine destination in Italy.
The region has been cultivating grapes for centuries and is scattered with both ancient and more modern vineyards. When you’re not drinking wine, spend some time wandering the museums and looking at the old buildings. It’s a historic town that is most enjoyable when you soak up the scene as it comes.
Found on the slopes of Monte Serano, Trevi is a city surrounded by olive trees, churches, and palaces. It was founded by the Romans, and still preserves Roman findings and architecture today.
Some of the top attractions include the Church of St. Emiliano, the Gothic Church of St. Francesco, and the Palazzo Comunale art gallery. Ethiopian Pontifical College, Palace of Prepositura Valenti, and Lucarini Palace are all popular places to check out as well.
Trevi’s best attraction may be the Palazzo Comunale, which features art by Pinturicchio, and a museum of archeological artefacts. There’s also a museum dedicated to the olive tree, the first of its kind in both Italy and Europe.
Umbria is one of the most magical regions of Italy because of its historical significance and natural scenery. The region is buzzing with life, culture, and authentic, Italian ways of living. Take your time exploring because there is a lot to see here. No matter which city you decide to visit, just know that you’ll get a taste of Italy that can’t be seen in the country’s larger cities.