Top Places to Go in Umbria

Top Umbria Hill Towns, Sights, and Attractions

The Umbria region, in the center of Italy, has many Etruscan sites and medieval hill towns. Umbria is often called Italy's green heart for its nature parks and it also has one of Italy's largest lakes.

Here are the top places to visit on your Umbria vacation.

  • 01 of 12
    Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi, Umbria, Italy
    ••• The Papal Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. Peter Zelei Images / Getty Images

    Assisi is famous as the home town of Saint Francis, or San Francesco, the patron saint of Italy. The Saint Francis Basilica in Assisi holds the tomb of Saint Francis and is a popular tourist and pilgrimage destination. Assisi also has several other interesting churches, Roman ruins, medieval sites, museums, and shops in its walled medieval center. There are good walks from town into the nearby countryside.

    Where to Stay in Assisi | Saint Francis Sites in Assisi |

  • 02 of 12
    The Duomo di Orvieto in Umbria, Italy.
    ••• Julian Elliott Photography / Getty Images

    Sitting atop huge tufa cliffs, the hill town of Orvieto makes an impressive sight. Inhabited since Etruscan times, Orvieto's monuments and museums cover milleniums of history. Its stunning duomo (cathedral) with its mosaic facade is one of the best medieval monuments in Italy. Orvieto is easily reached by car or train and makes a good Rome day trip or a good base for exploring southern Umbria and Tuscany. The area around Orvieto is dotted with Etruscan tombs and vineyards.

     Orvieto Hotels | How to Get to Orvieto from Rome |

  • 03 of 12
    Etruscan arch or Arch of Augustus, Perugia, Umbria, Italy, 3rd century BC
    ••• Etruscan arch or "Arch of Augustus", Perugia. De Agostini / C. Sappa / Getty Images

    Perugia, Umbria's capital and largest town, is a lively hill town with Etruscan and medieval roots. There's a lot to do and see in Perugia and since it's well served by public transportation, it makes a good base for exploring Umbria's hill towns. Perugia has a good Italian language school, a world famous jazz festival, and a chocolate festival. Chocolate lovers might want to try Perugia's Etruscan Chocohotel where there's a restaurant with chocolate menu.

    Perugia Map |

  • 04 of 12
    Spoleto, Umbria, Italy
    ••• Rocca Albornoz and Ponte delle Torri. Fabio Bianchini / Getty Images

    Spoleto is a walled hill town and one of the largest towns in southern Umbria. Spoleto has Etruscan, Roman, and medieval sites. Above Spoleto is a medieval Rocca and spanning the deep gorge to one side of the Rocca is Spoleto's most famous sight, Ponte delle Torri or Bridge of Towers. The ancient Longobard Church of San Salvatore is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Festival dei due mondi, two worlds festival, is held in Spoleto in late June through early July.

    Spoleto Pictures | Where to Stay in Spoleto |

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  • 05 of 12
    Morning fog and hill town, Todi, Umbria, Italy
    ••• Jeremy Woodhouse / Getty Images

    Todi, one of my favorite hill towns, is a picturesque walled village with good views over the countryside. Sights are close together so Todi can be easily explored in a couple of hours but there are good places to linger, enjoying the views or the ambiance. Todi or the surrounding countryside would make a peaceful base for visiting southern Umbria, especially if you're traveling by car.

  • 06 of 12
    Consuls palace, 1332-1349 and Piazza Grande, sunset, Gubbio, Umbria, Italy, 14th century
    ••• De Agostini / G. Roli / Getty Images

    Gubbio is a well-preserved medieval hill town built of gray limestone. Gubbio's compact center has a good selection of medieval, Gothic, and Renaissance monuments. Just outside the town is a Roman amphitheater. Gubbio sits in a scenic position on the lower slopes of Mount Ingino and from the town there are beautiful views over the countryside.

    Where to Stay in Gubbio |

  • 07 of 12
    lake trasimeno
    ••• xPACIFICA / Getty Images

    Lake Trasimeno is one of Italy's top lakes. Three picturesque islands can be reached by ferry and there are beaches around the lake. One of the prettiest towns is Castiglione del Lago with a medieval center and castle by the lake. The lake was the site of a famous battle between Hannibal and Rome.

    Where to Stay On Lake Trasimeno |

  • 08 of 12

    Spello

    Spello umbria
    ••• The Porta Venere (Venus' Gate), Spello , Umbria.

    Pretty Spello offers much of the stone-buildings-and-colorful-flowerpots charm of Assisi, but with a fraction of the crowds and hullabaloo. Tiny, picturesque lanes, steep staircases lined with cheerful geraniums, crumbling Roman ruins, sweeping views over the valley below—make sure you pack your camera for your visit to the postcard-perfect spot.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Norcia

    Piazza San Benedetto in Norcia, Italy.
    ••• Piazza San Benedetto in Norcia, Italy. Julian Elliott Photography/Getty Images

    The word norcineria, a type of Italian deli, comes from Norcia, a town known for its cured meats. Norcia, in southeastern Umbria, is in the hills by the entrance to the Monte Sibillini park and makes a good base for exploring the park. The town itself is fairly flat and enclosed by 14th century walls. Roman remains are visible in several places and there's a castle.

    Where to Stay in Norcia |

  • 10 of 12
    Monumental fountain. Narni. Umbria. Italy.
    ••• milla1974 / Getty Images

    Narni is a small hill town considered to be the geographical center of mainland Italy. Narni was an important Roman settlement and was part of the Papal State in the 12th - 14th centuries. There are many interesting buildings in Narni and there's an interesting walk out of town to the 1st century Ponte Cardona, part of the Roman Aqueduct Formina. Along this wooded walk you'll also pass a sign marking the geographical center of Italy.

  • 11 of 12

    Mummies of Ferentillo

    Mummies museum Ferentillo
    ••• Courtesy of Umbria Tourism
    The mummy museum, in the tiny town of Ferentillo in southern Umbria, may be one of Umbria's strangest sites. Bodies buried below the Church of Santo Stefano were preserved by a rare microfungus that attacked the corpses and turned them into mummies. Some of the best preserved mummies are on display in what is now the mummy museum in the bottom part of the church.
  • 12 of 12
    Mountain bikers at a street sign at Panicale, Umbria, Italy, Europe
    ••• Mountain bikers at Panicale, Umbria. Ulli Seer/LOOK-foto/Getty Images

    Book a half-day cycling tour through the Umbrian valley and the towns of Spello and Bevagna, then finish with a picnic lunch in the countryside. Or take a Horseback Ride with winery tour and Umbrian lunch.