Green heart of Italy, Umbria is dotted with artistic and naturalistic riches, and with splendid villages, some of which are real hidden gems.

Published on 21 Mar 2022
5 minutes

Green heart of Italy, Umbria is dotted with artistic and naturalistic riches, and with splendid villages, some of which are real hidden gems.

A region that holds surprising records. It ranges from Monte Castello di Vibio, part of the association The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy (I Borghi più belli d’Italia) and house to the smallest theater in the world, to the Nera River Park, where the imposing Marmore Waterfall (Cascata delle Marmore) rises. Made by the ancient Romans during the III century b.C. thanks to innovative engineering works, it is the highest in Europe with a height difference of 165 meters.

Let’s discover some of the most representative towns of this land and its spirit, shaped by Medieval flair and by the Renaissance beauty spread by Florence in the 15th century.

Paesaggio umbro con colline e cipressi
Panorama of the Umbrian hills (Credit to Getty Images)

Gubbio, Medieval chest

Gubbio città
View of Gubbio (Credit to Getty Images)

For the ancient Romans Iguvium, nowadays called the city of stone or even the gray city, Gubbio stands out at the foot of Mount Ingino and is the oldest urban center in Umbria. Illuminated, during the Christmas period, by the largest Christmas tree in the world.

The Ducal Palace, built at the behest of the Duke of Urbino Federico da Montefeltro, one of the most audacious leaders of the Renaissance period, contribute to making it one of the most appreciated medieval Italian towns; the Gothic-style Cathedral dedicated to Saints Mariano and Giacomo, which houses the famous Botte dei Canonici, a unique example in Europe because it can hold up to 200 hectoliters of wine; and, overlooking Piazza Grande, Palazzo dei Consoli from the 14th century, one of the most majestic architectural works of his time.

And right in the woods surrounding Gubbio, a few steps from the historic center and almost at the beginning of the ancient road that once led to Perugia, stands an authentic jewel: Park Hotel Ai Cappuccini.

This sumptuous hotel was born from the intuition of Marc Mességué, master of herbal medicine and phytotherapy of French origins: the 17th century rooms have been subjected to skilful conservative restoration, and enriched with contemporary works of art by Giuseppe Capogrossi, Arnaldo Pomodoro and Giulio Aristide Sartorio.

The flagship of the Park Hotel Ai Cappuccini, in addition to its 92 refined rooms, is the Parco Acque del Cappuccini Wellness & Spa, a space designed by Simone Micheli where the thermal waters seem to blend with fascinating shiny and bright decorations. «With something extra: the attention to detail that makes a hotel great».

In my opinion, Gubbio is an enchantment like few Italian cities

Assisi, sanctuary of refinement

La fortezza di Rocca Maggiore in Assisi (Credit to Marco Mingardi)
The fortress of Rocca Maggiore in Assisi (Credit to Marco Mingardi)

Among the most visited towns in Umbria there is Assisi, known throughout the world as the birthplace of St. Francis. Located on a splendid and scenic fortress, its pivot is represented by the Piazza del Comune, built on the ancient Roman forum and embellished by the Torre del Popolo, the Temple of Minerva and Palazzo dei Priori. From here, in a few minutes, you can reach the superb Basilica of St. Francis, rich in artistic treasures and recognized, since 2000, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A structure that best represents the spirit of this land is the Nun Assisi & Spa Museum. Perfect fusion of classic elegance and contemporary style, in the Spa the gaze is lost among the imposing limestone pillars, touched by the sulphurous waters of the large finely molded tub. While the taste buds are tickled by the chefs of the Osteria Benedikto: the finest local products are presented in a modern way, in a convivial setting that allows you to enjoy the spectacle of Assisi from a privileged perspective.

Assisi is a very beautiful thing, a town, a city and a sanctuary

Perugia, the Umbria flagship

Perugia is renowned for being the city of chocolate, because it boasts a great chocolate tradition (also thanks to companies of the caliber of Perugina, and its Casa del Cioccolato), whose flagship is the annual Eurochocolate Festival. Its fortified medieval village is like a small museum, crossed by Corso Vannucci and crowned by Piazza IV Novembre, the living room at the center of city life.

Borgo dei Conti Resort is the emblem of Perugia uniqueness.

The building, set in the frame of a large olive grove, conveys the feeling of being the protagonists of a fairy tale. Typically medieval towers and battlements seem to merge with finely crafted architectural elements and refined golden motifs. The furnishing of each of the 50 rooms (from the Classic to the elite Suite del Conte) is the result of the combination of 2 Made in Italy excellences: Frau and Poliform.

The Rura Restaurant occupies one of the largest and most enchanting rooms in the entire hotel. The menu, as well as the wine list, focuses on the leading products of Umbrian cuisine.

In Perugia you can breathe grace, kindness and a kind of moral sweetness as if dissolved in the air

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