Rustic charm, rolling hills, medieval alleyways and culinary delights make Umbria a destination to remember. Italy’s green heart is quiet and beautifully unspoilt, a pastoral paradise where ancient towns melt into contoured valleys, where local, old-world charm meets rich history and culture. Not to mention the wonderful cuisine, soulful and seasonal specialities that have been perfected across long-standing traditions and are almost always locally handmade. And whether you’d rather enjoy a deep-red Montefalco or crisp dry Orvieto, the region certainly isn’t short on delicious wines.
A villa holiday in Italy's green heart is the time to relax by the pool, with a good book in one hand and an aperitif in the other, before heading out and exploring the region's rich culture. There are plenty of beautiful and family-friendly towns to enjoy, from culinary capital Todi to storybook Spello. In this week’s blog post, we’ll explore some of our top towns to visit in Umbria, as well as some of our favourite villas located nearby.
Best for food and wine
Nestled in Umbria’s gentle countryside, its bucolic charm surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, Todi is definitely one for the foodies. Here, you’ll find simple and delicious dishes, accompanied by fine wines and local oil. In and around Todi you’ll find unique delights such as truffle pasta and pecorino cheese fondue. Oenology is a key enjoyment in this area of Umbria, since there are plenty of excellent and niche wines to taste, and a good selection of vineyards and wineries to visit.
Where to stay
Spacious and secluded Ceccomoro is one of our most beautiful properties in the Todi area, boasting magnificent views over the countryside. The family villa sits amid acres of private grounds, with a traditional stone exterior and light interiors. Outside, a long marble table makes the broad terrace a perfect spot for candlelit dining on balmy evenings, and twin staircases lead down to the infinity pool. Ceccomoro is a very short drive from Todi, the perfect place to stay if the town is on your Umbria bucket list.
Best for art and architecture
Bevagna is a charming medieval town, with a Roman past that can be easily observed throughout. The well-preserved temple is a striking example, a must see for lovers of old buildings and dramatic architecture. The town is rich in fascinating artworks; the 17th century Palazzo Lepri contains an extensive collection of artworks by various artists who worked in Bevagna, including Andrea Camassei and Doni Doni. A perk for off-season visitors is the town’s authentic grape harvest.
Where to stay
Under an hour’s drive away is Casa Andrea, a lovely family villa set in lawned gardens with a private pool. The villa blends old world charm with modern comforts, combining a sense of tranquillity with easy access to amenities. Outside, in about an acre of lawned gardens, an attractive swimming pool is splashed by a rock feature waterfall. A volleyball net and children’s football goal encourage outdoor play, and a tennis court is shared with sister-villa Ceccomoro.
Best for rest and relaxation
Montefalco is a lovely little hilltop town. The perfect place to relax and soak up the culture, this rather sleepy town truly immerses you in unhurried local life. Embrace the Italian ‘dolce vita’ with a stroll around the quaint old buildings and make sure to visit one of the square’s restaurants. Montefalco is known for its delicious wines, the most famous place in the world for the Sagrantino grape and Montefalco wines. You can enjoy a range of Sagrantino delights here, from gelato to jams. Simply sit back, relax and watch the world go by.
Where to stay
Offering undisturbed escapism yet just a short drive from Montefalco, Casale del Sole is a spacious and stylish villa within reach of towns and cities. This elegant property is a place for all seasons, with large gardens, al fresco terraces, and very welcoming interiors with a fireplace. The stone house has been restored with flair, and boasts glorious views from its terraced grounds.
Best for history and culture
Orvieto is a postcard-perfect town perched on a steep hill, with beautiful views and atmospheric streets. However, the town has plenty more to offer, with a rich history that dates back to Etruscan times. The breathtaking gothic duomo is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy, whilst the medieval streets boast pretty shops full of local crafts and ceramic artefacts. Under the town is a labyrinth of Etruscan tunnels and grottos, from wine cellars to escape routes and bomb shelters, which are open to visitors.
Where to stay
Set in extensive gardens of lawns and trees, with pastoral views from the pool, Villa Zafferano is a spacious and comfortable rural idyll in Umbria. The stone walls are beautifully authentic, whilst the interiors perfectly blend classic elegance with modern comforts. Outside, a shaded dining terrace overlooks the gardens, with a swimming pool sunk into levelled lawns. The villa is just a short drive from Orvieto’s rich culture.
Located in the foothills of Mount Subasio, this quaint walled town attracts visitors with its storybook churches, honey-toned homes and narrow medieval streets. Spello is a beautiful town to visit for an afternoon, the perfect spot for photographers or anyone seeking a pleasant and authentic Italian outing. In summer, the streets come alive with bold floral displays planted by the residents.
Where to stay
Villa Elceto is a dreamy property around a half hour’s drive from Spello. Set in a magnificent panoramic position on top of a hill, the villa allows beautiful views across the forests of the Murlo estate and its lakes, valleys and rivers. The interiors are spacious, with a charming country kitchen, whilst the immaculately kept gardens contain a lovely outdoor dining table and private infinity pool, framing the magnificent views of the green valley. The brilliant 18-hole golf course of Antognolla is just five minutes away by car.