Best time to visit Umbria

Best time to visit Umbria


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

The best time to visit Umbria is spring or autumn. Umbria isn’t known as ‘il cuore verde d'Italia’ (the green heart of Italy) for nothing, with nodding sunflowers in May and bowing branches in October adding to the ambience of patchwork hillsides. Visit Bevagna in June for the Mercato delle Gaite and you’ll find residents wearing medieval costume, along with traditional paper, iron and silk workshops. Even in November Umbria is a picture of health as olive mills open their doors to allow the harvest to dry and neighbours compare the first, fresh drops on crunchy bruschetta.

Things to do in Umbria


WHAT TO DO IN UMBRIA & WHAT NOT TO

Things to do in Umbria...


A while back, the Perugia council started building a roundabout but they had to stop because they found an Etruscan tomb. As there was no money to keep the tomb open all year round a key was given to the local grocer who now proudly lets visitors inside, all they have to do is ask. Asking questions in Umbria, such as ‘posso provare?' at the market always unlocks a few doors as well as a chance to practise your Italian.
Walking in Umbria takes you over waves of wooded hills and valleys with Monte Subasio and the Sibellini Mountains providing endless paths and trails amongst Italy’s Central Apennines. Poppies, peonies and peaceful piazzas provide a seemingly permanent companion to a rural walk in Umbria with hilltop towns, such as Montefalco, Bevagna and Cannara, on the Topino River, highlighting the region’s dedication to art, religion and preserving the past.
There’s no way you can contemplate Italy without mentioning the ‘c word’ and if you’re longing to cycle to the lakes, vineyards and Gothic cathedrals of Italy’s only landlocked region then go for it but don’t underestimate the undulations. Poggio delle Corti to Perugia, Assisi to Bevagna, Tessino Canyon, Mount Luco, the Nera and Tiber Rivers; Umbria does more than rival its nearest neighbours, it pedals past them to a point of no return.

Things not to do in Umbria…


Forget to unwind. Opting to stay at a rural farmhouse or B&B is one of the best ways to unwind in Umbria. Lazy breakfasts ruminating over fresh coffee, cornetti and brioche, blissful mornings exploring dappled pine woods, or high energy games of ping pong prior to plunging into the pool. The ability to enjoy not doing very much is an art form that's wished for by many but achieved by very few.
Be overly strict with your diet. Seriously, you can't come to Umbria and count the calories or watch your waistline; it's just not good for your health. However, you might be pleased to learn that the region has an excellent reputation for olive oil, organic honey, cured meat, chickpeas and beans which makes the everyday diet of the local people actually very healthy. But hey, you’re on vacation, so dive into the closest trattoria or gelateria and to hell with the scales.
Compare Umbria to Tuscany. Although sharing the same ancient Etruscan soil, Umbria and Tuscany are completely separate regions and both well worth visiting on their own merits. The lack of big city, shimmering coastline, motorway and international air links may be viewed as a problem by some although, for others, Umbria opens up an untouched vision of the past bereft of crowds and overinflated tourist prices.

Umbria travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN UMBRIA

Making the most of Umbrian Food


Cristina Spada, manager of our supplier Italian Delights, shares her Umbria travel tips for foodies:

"Although Umbria is famous for its porchetta sausages, you can be a vegetarian, it's easy. There's always lots of fruit and vegetables as well as lovely cheeses such as fresh ricotta and pecorino – semi stagionato, in between young and mature, is my favourite type.”
Marina Caldera, from our supplier Agriturismo Podere le Olle, shares her recommendations and personal experiences related to Umbria:

“Autumn is definitely the best time to visit Umbria as that’s when all the colours of the trees, and the vineyards are turning red, orange and yellow, and you have the most beautiful sunsets. The weather can be very good in October, and you have the best products of the land, above all mushrooms, truffles, and saffron.

Advice on getting active


Sara Pezzuti, the host of our supplier Azienda Agrituristica Il Sarale: "One of my favourite long distance cycling routes starts in Sansepolcro (Tuscany) and finishes in Umbertide (Umbria) and takes you through Città di Castello as you follow the Upper Tiber Valley for about 50 – 60km. For walking, the Umbrian section of the Via di Francesco is very popular and I also like walking in Monte Cucco Regional Park which has over 120kms of sign-posted trails and takes you right above the beautiful town of Gubbio."

Tips on when to visit


Marina Caldera, from our supplier Agriturismo Podere le Olle:
"If you really want to understand the core of Umbria you must visit a small well preserved medieval village like Monteleone d’Orvieto, where you can really enjoy everyday life and appreciate how friendly the local people are."

Umbria travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR TRAVELLERS

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Umbria travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
I was particularly happy to see how natural and unspoiled the surroundings were. And as we did a lot of walking, ate fresh produce from the farm or grown in nearby areas, and learnt to cook some authentic Italian food, we were completely in harmony with nature and the people of the region. - Ambika Thandavan on a cooking and painting vacation in Umbria

Go to Montone. - Edith Finlay staying at a farmhouse in Umbria

Perugia has an underground city (but DO NOT try and drive in! We had to squeeze our car back through the city to get out!)...and the something different was Gubbio - darker feeling Gothic. - Patricia Kiralfy staying at a farmhouse B&B in Umbria

Go with an open mind. Be ready to try something different, whether it be food, wine, or just walk to discover a neighbourhood off of the main streets. Also pack lightly as some of the train or bus stations do not have escalators so you will have to carry your luggage up and down many steps. - Jeffrey Maclusky, on a tour of northern Italy

Make sure you rent a car (with GPS) to see Umbria. - Heather Reynolds

It was wonderful cooking under the guidance of our in house chefs. The colours, freshness and taste added to this fantastic experience... Even if you are amateurs, like ourselves, you will enjoy it too. Our hosts have their own vegetable patch and their produce was used for the cooking classes. They also bought fresh produce from a local vegetable farmer and took us to buy saffron at a saffron field. We benefitted the locals by buying souvenirs in the various villages we were taken to. - Joanne Anagnostu, on an Umbrian cooking vacation

Written by: Chris Owen

Photo credits: [sunflower topbox: BEE FREE - PGrandicelli [the social bee]] [Foodie tip : Cristina Spada] [Get active tip: Andrew Moore] [Customer tip one - food & drink: Umbria Lovers] [Customer tip 2 - orvieto: Stefano Costantini]
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