For centuries Umbria has been known as a region with spiritual and mystical properties but it has often overlooked by visitors making their way from Rome to Florence. But if you can visit this region of Italy you won’t be disappointed. It’s the more rough and rugged (and frequently more real) sister of the well-manicured Tuscany. What follows are a few photos from our travels in Orvieto, Spoleto, Foligno, Spello, Assisi, and Perugia. Enjoy some armchair travel now and put Umbria on your travel list!

Orvieto

Orvieto is beautiful both above and below. It’s doable as a day trip from Rome but there’s so much to see here so I’d try to stay longer if you can. It has one of the most stunning cathedrals in Italy and multiple underground sites where you can escape the summer heat below ground. If you want some advice on what to do on a day trip from Rome to Orvieto, look no further than this blog post from Linda, an Orvieto local and Rome hostel owner.

The Duomo of Orvieto has to be one of the most spectacular Cathedrals in Italy.
Depending on how the light strikes it (or which picturesque individuals walk in front of it) the Orvieto Duomo is worth more than one visit a day.
And don’t skip going inside the cathedral!
The well of St. Patrick is right next to the funicular so there is no excuse for missing this incredible site if you’re coming from Rome for the day.
The Orvieto Underground tour takes you from Etruscan wells to olive oil presses to the Pope’s own pigeon hotel. A must.
Wish this was my ride.

Spoleto

Spoleto has it all: ancient Roman ruins, monumental Cathedrals, a yearly music festival and a Gelateria serving far more flavours of Pistachio gelato than I ever knew existed. What more could you ask for?

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is from 1821.
The 18th century gleaming white fountain in the Piazza del Mercato.
Crispini Pistacchieria boasts so many pistachio gelato flavours it was hard to choose.
Door pics forever.
Can you have too many pictures of quaint lanes? I don’t think so.
A first century bc Roman amphitheater.

Foligno

I’ve been to Foligno on so many occasions over the years to visit my dear friend and author Heather. This town has a special place in my heart and is perfect if you want to discover what real (non-touristy) small town life is like in Umbria.

Umbrian rooftops in Foligno.
A stroll by the river in the evening is magical.
Cloister turned apartment. Imagining this is where I live.
Foligno rooftops.
This is where Dante’s Divine Comedy was printed for the very first time!
The pink and cream stone is one of the things I love about this region.

Spello

Spello is known for their annual flower festival which features contests for the best flower arrangements. It lasts from May through August so as you stroll through the quiet streets you can not only enjoy the arrangements each summer but the plaques that mark the previous years winners, placed proudly outside their doors.

Flowers cover everything in Spello.
A few of the plaques reminding us how many flower competitions these folks won!
A first century Roman archway built by Emperor Augustus and topped off by two medieval towers.
The steep roads have little stairs carved into them in the centre for walkers but are smooth on the sides for wheels.
Me and Luca.

Assisi

The Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi is without a doubt one of my all time favourite churches in the country. It’s incredible. And it’s not just one church: It’s two stacked one on top of the other. Built in the Middle Ages, the walls are absolutely covered by the glowing work of Giotto and Cimabue. It is also the burial place of St. Francis of Assisi and a pilgrimage destination.

Two entrances: one on the facade (right side) and one on the side (straight ahead in this photo).
View of the countryside (and seriously epic marble piazza floor) from the upper level of the church.
Ripples of Marble over the front entrance.
Detail of the frescoes inside the basilica.
And countryside views for miles.
A lovely little lane for Lauren.

Perugia

Yearly “Euro-chocolate” festival? Check. Yearly Umbria Jazz festival featuring artists from around the world? Check. A bunch of photos from my last trip to Perugia? Ummm…. not really. Oops. I guess the last time I was there, I was so nervous about my upcoming Italian language exam that I failed to document my trip. Guess that means I just have to go back again soon! 🙂

The Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia. (Say that 12 times fast.)
The Etruscan arch was constructed in the 3rd century BC and is STILL one of the gateways into the city.

Hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of Umbria with me and Luca. Let me know if you have a favourite Umbrian town whether it’s on this list or not. I already can’t wait to visit again.

Map of all the towns in this post: Orvieto, Spoleto, Foligno, Spello, Assisi & Perugia.

2 Comments

  1. Mike Mouat

    We love it! Torture!! Who is the photographer? Both of you? Umbria is definitely one of our favorite areas with two overnights in the ducal town of Urbino. I hope Gubbio is still as charming as before. One advantage of the pandemic: no crowds. How else to explain those dazzling shots? When do you do Venezia?!

    • Thank you! These are all my shots this time 🙂 I still haven’t been to Urbino or Gubbio but the list of places to visit goes on and on! Great idea to do a Venice one, I took roughly 8,000 pics the last time I was there so that should be enough material. 🙂

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