Umbria – the green heart of Italy

There is something enchanting about Umbria. We spent four days in a beautiful apartment in the town of Spoleto, right on the medieval town walls, looking out over an old convent. The clouds bathed the hills in a foggy mist most of the time making it seem like the magical set of a movie about the Middle Ages

The number of tiny fortress towns that dot the hilltops and overlook lush green valleys are nothing less than extraordinary. Umbria is the heart of Italy – quite literally, as it is the only region that does not border the sea or another country. Spring was just beginning while we were there, with a couple of buds emerging in spite of the cold and somewhat wet weather. 





We spent several days exploring Spoleto. Highlights included crossing the ponte delle torri, a narrow 13th century bridge with ten arches that crosses a deep valley (90m) to carry water to the town and seeing the beautiful Duomo with frescoes by Filippo Lippi (Italian RAI were filming the inside for a tv show whilst we were there). 







We took a day trip to the nearby hilltop towns of Spello and Trevi, exploring the narrow cobblestoned streets by foot, and finding magnificent vistas of the green countryside below at almost every corner. Umbria is known for its full-bodied red wines (highlight was the Sagrantino), cured meats (particularly from Norcia) and truffles. We enjoyed a terrific lunch at Enoteca Properzio in Spello – farro soup and meatballs made with Chianina beef. Farro is common in Umbria and pasta and cakes are often made with this ancient grain.





I wanted to show Mark the grand city of Perugia, which I had visited with my daughter back in 2012. We spent an hour or so wandering the streets, eating gelato (in spite of the cold), taking photos and getting lost trying to find where we had parked the car (all those narrow and steep streets started looking the same after a while!). 





As we were leaving Spoleto, bound for Fiumicino airport in Rome, I saw bunches of wild asparagus for sale, in buckets, by the side of the road – the first of the season. I couldn’t buy any as we were about to fly to Trieste, but I had to stop and ask the vendor if I could take some photos – posso scattare una foto? He thought I was quite mad I am sure! He told me that he had foraged them not far from the roadside. The perfect ending to our time in Umbria. 











17 Comments

  • Debra Kolkka says:

    This is a beautiful area. We loved Spoleto, and particularly Spello. My favourite restaurant there is La Cantina, we went 3 times. Your photos are gorgeous and make me want to return.

    • I couldn’t believe how beautiful Spello was. It was a Tuesday when we visited at about 1pm so much of the town was shut, I think we ate in the only place that appeared open. I would love to return and spend more time there

  • Onella Stagoll says:

    Love this post and the photos are great.

  • mfryan says:

    So glad you guys had such a good trip! I will definitely reference this if I ever make it to Umbria.

  • salcollins says:

    Your photos are beautiful Paola. There’s such a different, kind of diffused light in Italy and it gives the photos such a romantic look. I hope you are having the best time. x

  • It’s beautiful. I love reading these holiday posts. Enjoy x

  • Sandrine says:

    Nice photos! Makes me want to discover more of Italy now!

  • mariamar says:

    A beautiful post and amazing photos. Thank you for sharing.

  • I had the pleasure of riding by bus through Umbria from Norcia to Ascoli Piceno a few years ago with my sister. It was truly one of the most magically beautiful places I have seen. Thanks for reminding me!

  • Olivigna says:

    Wonderful to read on a rather grey and wet

  • paninigirl says:

    I have a memory of losing the car after dinner one night in Bevagna (Umbria) and walking around and around the streets in a huge rain storm. I really thought we were going to have spend the night in town and resume the search in the morning! Your photos are wonderful.

  • My parents have friends from Umbria (Gualdo Tadino, to be exact)…and I was fortunate to go to visit their home a few years ago. It is beautiful there! While there, we visited gorgeous Assisi and the beautiful ceramic capital of Deruta! When one thinks of Italy, Umbria delivers the real thing!

  • Ishita says:

    I love this post, I keep looking at your pictures and think of my trip to Umbria. I have to visit Spello next time <3

  • Lovely photos Paola! I did a residency in early spring in the national park of monte subasio – the wild asparagus and cicoria foraged by my host’s mother were a massive highlight – the frittata was amazing & the bitter chicory a perfect compliment to a rich stew of cinghiale. Puglia loves cicoria too… Maybe you’ll come across it this trip? It’s strong food, but so good.

    • Thank you. The wild cicoria sounds amazing – aren’t you lucky doing a residency near Monte Subasio. I am going to Puglia (will be there in a few weeks) – but not staying long, it is a whirlwind trip. I have heard Puglia is fabulous – I can’t wait to visit it at length one day

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