When planning a food and wine tour to Italy, Tuscany is often one of the regions that comes to mind, with its rolling hills, vineyards for miles, famous Chianti wines, and, of course, the historic city of Florence. While it is definitely worth a visit (or two), it’s eastern neighbor, Umbria, deserves some attention too, and we offer some of our best culinary tours of Italy in this region.
Landlocked by Tuscany and Le Marche, western Umbria has much the same look and feel as Tuscany. But keep heading east, as I did during my honeymoon back in 2012, and the terrain becomes more mountainous and rugged. It’s up here, in the Siblini mountains, that you’ll encounter the town of Norcia, a charming medieval walled city in its own right. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
What particularly stunned me about this area was the countryside. Part of my trip out there included a truffle hunt, and it was during this truffle hunt — where dogs scurried to dig up coveted black truffles under the area’s trees — that I walked across the picture perfect rolling hills. Every where we turned during our culinary vacation in Umbria it seemed like there was another amazing view that my husband and I just had to capture with the camera.
Much of Umbria is like this too. Head up further into the Sibilini mountains — such as during our Cooking and Hiking in the Umbrian Hills — and the wildflower meadows, paired with the serenades of the local birds and passing by ancient villages, is enough to take your breath away. And if you want to see the area around the village of Castelluccio in full bloom — a sight that many travel to Umbria for — then try a culinary vacation in Umbria in June.
The charm of the region definitely extends past the countryside and into the villages and towns too, which you visit on our culinary tours of Umbria. We stayed in Norcia, since we did the 4-itinerary of A Food Lover’s Paradise in Norcia Italy cooking vacation, and the 16th century palazzo hotel was wonderful — and not just because of the view of the town outside our window! From the comfortable accommodations to the friendliness of the hotel staff, we truly felt like we were staying in someone’s home rather than a hotel.
While Umbria may be one of Italy’s “lesser known” regions, it’s one worth visiting in an Italy culinary tour. And there are a lot of regions in Italy like it, that aren’t as well known! If you’re looking for some beautiful sites with less tourists, Umbria is a place to visit, as is Abruzzo, Le Marche, and Puglia, all of which offer a gorgeous setting in their own right.
By Liz Hall
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