Assisi, Umbria. Often called the country's green hear, Umbria in central Italy is popular with buyers of Italian second homes for its medieval hill towns, art, forests, local cuisine and wine.

Provinces of Umbria

Guide to Property for Sale in Umbria

Demand for property in Umbria is second only to Tuscany. Throughout the picturesque Umbrian countryside and around Lake Trasimeno, stone farmhouses with olive groves and lake view villas await the investor who is thinking of buying a rural property with the option of renting for summer lets. In the south of Umbria, beautiful properties, restored in a traditional way, start from 1,500 Euro per m2. Umbria also has great opportunities if you want to renovate an Italian property, with a wide choice of farmhouses which often come with a stone barn, perfect for conversion to an annex for guests.

Umbria is at the heart of the Italian peninsular, it is the one of the few Italian regions with no coastline. Extending along the Tiber Valley, Umbria is often referred to as the green heart of Italy. Umbria is a beautiful region of rolling hills, woods, lakes, valleys and amazing medieval villages perched on hill tops. To the east, the countryside gives way to the dramatic high mountain scenery of the Parco Nazionale dei Sibillini. Umbria's landscapes of winding valleys make Umbria a region that never fails to amaze which is why many second home buyers opt for Umbria over Tuscany.

Throughout the year, Umbria offers a dazzling variety of festivals such as the world famous Jazz festival and is perfect for a wide variety of sports: hand gliding, water sports, skiing and golf.

Overview of Umbria

Spoleto Castle in Umbria. The region includes Lake Trasimeno  and the capital is Perugia. Umbria is known for its landscapes, traditions, history and culture.

Umbria is bordered by Tuscany to the west, Marche to the east and Lazio to the south. Partly hilly and mountainous, and partly flat and fertile with the Tiber valley. Umbria has part of the central Apennines,  the highest peak is Monte Vettore on the border with Le Marche, at 2,476 metres. It is one of the few Italian regions without a coastline.

Umbria is crossed by two valleys: Umbra valley stretching from Perugia to Spoleto, and the Tiber Valley from the west to the border with Lazio. The Tiber River forms the approximate border with Lazio.

Lake Trasimeno is central Italy’s largest lake. The area the remains of Etruscan settlements, particularly around Castiglione del Lago, where the loveliness of the natural landscape combines with the romanticism and stillness of the lake. 

In the south of Umbria, in the province of Terni there are the Cascate delle Marmore waterfalls, some of the most beautiful in Europe. Cascate delle Marmore run into the River Nera with a spectacular 165 m (541 ft) drop, and are surrounded by lush vegetation. This is the spot for sports lovers who enjoy canoeing, kayaking. 

In the province of Terni, there are two locations not to be missed, one linked to the history of Umbria and the other to the landscape. Carsulae is an ancient Roman town traversed by the ancient Via Flaminia, where important ancient public buildings have been discovered The other gem, closely linked to the area’s makeup is the Dunarobba Fossil Forest, a rare example of a petrified forest that existed 3 million years ago, very well-preserved.

Monte Subasio park (Perugia)

Monte Subasio, at 1290 metres, characterises and dominates the splendid valley below, the peaks of Civitelle, Sermolla, Colle San Rufino and Pietralunga, as well as the Tescio river and Chiona stream, all lie along the boundaries of the park. Wildlife abounds in the beautiful landscapes characterised by olive trees, woods and pastures.

Colfiorito park (Foligno)

On the Colfiorito high plain, a soft, green break in the harsh, steep landscape of this section of the Umbrian-Marchese Apennines, there is the Colfiorito oasis. The area is of interest for both its marshes, rich in plant and animal species (including characteristic peat) and the presence of numerous and important “Castellieri” (remains of prehistoric dwellings dating back to the 10th century B.C) among the hilltops. The remains of the ancient city of Plestia are also significant. The area is also noted for its excellent cheeses, milk, lentils, red potatoes and garlic.


Monte Cucco park (Perugia)

The park includes the mountain range of Monte Cucco (1566 m), rich in important archaeological remains of dwellings and fossils. The Rio Freddo and Fucecchie gorges are not be missed. Numerous subterranean phenomena (waterways and caverns) are present, including the Grotta del Monte Cucco (about 1,000 m deep) which can be visited. Ideal for mountain and extreme sport enthusiasts: hang gliding, paragliding and, in winter, cross-country skiing.

Riverside park of the Tiber (Terni)

The Tiber river flows through history and nature: its waters lead us to the slopes of the hills of Todi, to the Forello gorge near Prodo and Titignano, to the Corbara lake and to Alviano, an important site for bird-life and a WWF nature oasis. Marvellous woods and impressive Umbrian, Etruscan and Roman archaeological remains complete the fascinating picture.

Riverside park of the Nera (Terni)

This 2000 hectare park is rich in water: in addition to the Nera river and Piediluco lake, there is the Velino river which forms the famous delle Marmore falls, with a drop of 165 metres. Among the dense woods and steep riverbanks of the Nera, kayaking, rafting, free climbing and bungee jumping are all possible. There are numerous animal and plant species, including rare birds (redstart and swift) and wildcats.

National park of the Sibillini mountains (Perugia)

Set up as a national park in 1993, this park is made up of 70,000 hectares of natural beauty: the Vettore, Sibilla and Redentore summits offer magnificent views; the Castelluccio high plains, Fiastra and Pilato lakes and numerous valleys provide variety to the environment and favour an abundance of species; while the Aso, Tenna, Ambro and Nera rivers all have their origin in the Sibillini mountains. Rare plant and animal species are present in the park, including the alpine star of the Apennines and alpine anemone, and the marten, golden eagle, wolf, eagle-owl and peregrine falcon have their habitats here.

Trasimeno Lake

Located near Perugia, it is the fourth largest lake in Italy, and is an ideal location for a wide variety of water sports. This very picturesque lake, with crystal clear tranquil water, is fed by small torrents from the Tiber basin. It has three small islands, which provide good venues for picnics or sunbathing. The banks of this lake have historical significance, having been the place where Hannibal defeated the Roman consul Cauis Flaminius.

The lake has a surface area of 128 sq km, and while it is not deep it is full of fish. For a region like Umbria, which has no seaside, this lake is held in high regard. The park includes the lake, its three islands, and the towns along the shore. There are numerous fish species present, including large pike, as well as birds (eagle-owl and osprey).

Art and Culture of Umbria

Gothic Basilica of San Francesco Assisi


Museo Archeologico Nazionale dell'Umbria, the 15th century Università Vecchia and the adjacent Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo. The Palazzo dei Priori, the Cathedral and the13th century fountain Fontana Maggiore at the centre.


The Gothic Basilica of San Francesco and the church of Santa Clara and San Pietro are masterpieces.


Basilica di Sant'Ubaldo


An important Etruscan centre, is rich with important archaeological findings.


Ancient hilltop town famous for its numerous ancient buildings, including a 1st century AD Roman Theatre, the 4th century Christian Church of San Salvatore  and the Rocca Albornoziana - one of the most magnificent of Italy's castles.

Towns in Umbria

Castiglione del Lago Umbria


In the heart of Umbria, Perugia is famous for its 5 old quarters enclosed by its Etruscan town walls that were constructed some 22 centuries ago and are still visible for long stretches. When the city of Rome was little more than a group of huts, one could already enter the Etruscan Perugia using any one of the 7 gates such as Porta Pulchra or Porta Augustus. Entering the city through Porta San Pietro, whose exterior was remodelled by Agostino di Duccio in 1475, you'll find yourself at the La basilica di San Domenico while the Museo Archeologico Nazionale dell'Umbria is to be found in the adjacent cloisters and Convent. Go further and you'll reach the Piazza del Sopramuro, where the 15th century Università Vecchia and the adjacent Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo look down on the square. Further on, after a short climb, you'll find yourself in one of Italy's most important squares, where you'll see the Palazzo dei Priori, the Cathedral and the13th century fountain Fontana Maggiore at the centre. These monuments render the Piazza Grande of Perugia (now called Piazza IV Novembre) a superb architectural complex. At the extreme end of Corso Vannucci you'll find famous panoramic gardens built on the foundations of the Rocca Paolina, a strong-hold built by Pope Paul III in 1540. These foundations contain, an entire quarter of the old Perugia: a dead city, a sort of Medieval Pompei which has been brought to light again and which is fascinating to visit.

Perugia's ascents and stairways are usually quite steep, Via delle Prome is a typical example. Following Via Prome from the Arco d’Augustus, the road leads to the upper point of Perugia, where the 14th century castle of Porta Sole once stood . Perugia is crammed full of artistic jewels, you should not miss the architectural complex of St. Francesco, with the l'Oratorio di San Bernardino, a masterpiece of Agostino di Duccio, with a facade of bas-reliefs of enchanting grace and finesse. Don’t forget that Perugia is also the centre of Italian chocolate making

Castiglione del Lago

Overlooking Lake Trasimeno, central Italy’s largest lake. The area still has the remains of Etruscan settlements, where the loveliness of the natural landscape combines with the romanticism and stillness of the lake. 


The Medieval town of Assisi is set on the slopes of Monte Subasio above the Topino and Chiascio river valleys. The old walls of the historical town centre are perfectly preserved and entrance is through one of eight gates. On the summit of Subasio two castles look down on the town, Roccia Maggiore and Roccia Minore. The Gothic Basilica of San Franceso and the church of Santa Clara and San Pietro are masterpieces. The first was built in the mid-13th century while the second is famous for its elegant doors and three rose windows. The Cathedral, dedicated to the San Rufino has a splendid and unaltered facade with sculptures and reliefs. The Piazza del Commune is situated on the ancient Forum, you will find the Palazzo dei Priori (1337), Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo (12th century) and the temple of Minerva, built during the reign of Ceasar Augustus. Nearby, places which are connected with the life of St. Francis can be visited, such as the l'Eremo delle Carceri on the slopes of the Monte Subasio, and the Convento di San Damiano, which was built up around the oratory where, according to tradition, the cross of Christ spoke to the Saint. Finally, on the plain, the impressive basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli was built between 1569 and 1679 to protect the Cappella della Porziuncola, which was the first simple meeting-place of the Francescan brotherhood. All those who have visited this splendid town have to agree that the beauty of town is far more than the architecture and works of art but is in the atmosphere of the place and the connections it has with the life of San Francesco.


Located on the slopes of Monte Ingino, Gubbio is among the oldest towns in Umbria, beautifully preserved over the centuries with an historical wealth which reflects its past. Dominated from the top by the Basilica di Sant'Ubaldo on which the rests of St. Ubaldo are buried, Gubbio has many architectural masterpieces testifying the beauty and the importance of what used to be during the Middle ages, a real town-state. Today the symbol of the town is Palazzo dei Consoli, built at the same time as Piazza Pretorio.


At the border of Lazio, a short distance from Rome, this territory is positioned between the most important lines of communication and is, therefore, easily reached. There is a wide variety of landscapes here: green pastures, vineyards, olive groves and lush forests, all of which are reflected in the fresh water of brooks and lakes (Piediluco, Corbara). The city of Orvieto, positioned high up on a tuff crag, dominates the landscape. Orvieto, which was an important Etruscan centre, is rich with important archaeological findings.


This ancient hilltop town is famous for its numerous ancient buildings, including a 1st century AD Roman Theatre, the 4th century Christian Church of San Salvatore (one of the world's oldest surviving churches), and the Rocca Albornoziana - one of the most magnificent of Italy's castles. Spoleto is also a leading center of artistic and cultural festivals and events, and hosts Italy's top international arts festival, which takes place each June. In addition, just outside town are the fabled springs of the Clitunno River and the splendid forests of Monteluco - excellent places for walking.

Foligno - Norcia - Cascia

The district , one of the most enchanting for landscape and architecture includes important villages and towns such as Foligno, Nocera Umbra, Norcia and Cascia in the Valnerina.

Situated in the most mountainous and picturesque area of Umbria, the Valnerina is at the heart of the Mount Sibillini National Park. Apart from its beautiful landscape, the Valnerina is also well known as an ideal sports tourism destination. Norcia and Cascia are the headquarters for many sports clubs, while the plains of Castelluccio have been described as the best area for paragliding in all of Europe. A trading crossroads since ancient times, this area is covered with villages of medieval origin; Bevagna, Montefalco, Spello, Trevi and Nocera Umbra, Norcia, Cascia. Artisan crafts flourish in this area, especially in Bevagna, which is known for its basket and hemp weaving, and in Foligno with its pipe organ restoration and leather-working activities. The Foligno area, rich with olive groves and vineyards, boasts numerous wines which is the most prized in the region (Trevi). The Valnerina is a true paradise for connoisseurs of fine foods : sausage, black truffles, cheeses and lentils are the main ingredients of the delicious and genuine cuisine that revolves around the typical "norcineria".

Other towns of note in Umbria all of which are worth visiting are Città di Castello, Narni, and Todi.

Sports and Leisure in Umbria

Cycling in Umbria

Equestrian sports

The Umbrian countryside is ideal for riding, offering ample stretches of wild and uncontaminated areas.


Umbria offers many trails away from main roads.


Golf Club Perugia: - Santa. This is an 18-hole golf course situated 10 kms from Perugia and is open all year round.

Rambling and trekking

The natural morphology of the Region lends itself admirably to these pastimes. Marked trails, besides those of the Trasimeno district and the treks in the Monti Martani are continually increasing, it is therefore advisable to get an up-date guide before setting out from the Italian Alpine Club


It is organized on the rapids of the Nera river for a distance of 3km starting at the Marmore Waterfall.


Skiers can enjoy cross country skiing on Monte Cucco at (Costacciaro, Scheggia e Sigillo) and downhill skiing at Norcia on Monte Sibillini.

Well-being and Spas

Santo Raggio spa at Assisi

Sanctus et Regius Fons is the ancient Roman (2nd century B.C.) name for the Baths of Assisi, of which some interesting archaeological remains have survived. In the modern complex, there is cold, bicarbonic-calcium water for hydroponic therapies for illnesses of the urinary tract, metabolism disorders, digestive tract, liver and biliary tract.

Fontecchio spa at Città di Castello

The complex of the Fontecchio spa, offers various and avant-garde solutions for those who require specialized and natural therapies, or for those who desire relaxation, fitness and psycho-physical rejuvenation. Cold, medio-mineral, bicarbonate-alkaline sulphurous water indicated for the treatment of respiratory, circulatory, muscular-skeletal, gastro enteric, nervous system and skin disorders.

Amerino spa park at Terni

In the village of San Nicolò di Acquasparta there is the beautiful spa park and alongside it there is the new complex for Amerino water production. Inside the park, which became well known in the 19th century for its illustrious guests of the time, lies the ancient spring of Saint Francis hidden between two stone cliffs covered with olive trees.

Events and Festivals

Umbria Jazz Festival

The festival is one of the most important events in the European Jazz calendar. Since 1973, when it began, the biggest names in Jazz have come to Perugia to perform at the festival. The list is like a roll of honour of all the great Jazz artists of the last thirty years: Dizzy Gillespie, Sam Rivers, Herbie Hancock, Enrico Rava, Miles Davis and Lionel Hampton to name a few. For two weeks in July Perugia will once again become a meeting point for thousands of music lovers not only from all over Italy but also from Europe and the United States. The festival is an annual event and takes place in the second and third week of July.

Palio dei Terzieri

Dating from 1250 the festival is an annual event that takes place in the town of Pieve in August. A parade of more than 800 people: banner carriers, soldiers, nobles, ladies and cavaliers, fire eaters walk through the main streets of the centre, entertaining the spectators with games of prestige and ability. At the end of the traditional parade, a majestic allegoric float which, inspired by the Classic Antiquity, travels through the streets of the city guided by companies of musicians playing renaissance melodies.

La Giostra della Quintana

The festival takes place in June in Foligno. In three successive competitions riders in medieval costume, have to reach with a lances the centre of rings of a diameter always smaller hanging on the arm of a wood statue representing a warrior of the XVIIth century. On the evening of the competition, a procession of 600 people walk through the streets of the city accompanied by baroque music while in the nobles palaces and in the streets close to the main square, one can taste the antique recipes of Umbrian dishes of the 600s.

Mercato delle Gaite

The festival takes place in June every year in the ancient small town of Bevagna, located on the western edge the Foligno plain. It is an evocation of the everyday life of the Middle Ages. Along the streets and corners of the city, the population involves itself in handicraft, typical markets and taverns decked out in Medieval style where one can taste dishes prepared according to Umbrian recipes which are centuries old.

Spoleto Festival

Known as Festival of two World and organised every year between the end of June and mid-July in the heart of Umbria. The Spoleto Festival year after year is a celebration of dance, prose and lyrics.

Food and Wines of Umbria

The cuisine of landlocked, hilly Umbria relies heavily on rustic staples - pastas and roast meats - and tends to be simple and homely. But the region is also the only area outside Piemonte where truffles are found in any abundance, and their flavourful shavings find their way onto eggs, pasta, fish and meat - at a price that prohibits overindulgence.

Meat plays a leading role - especially pork, which is made into hams, sausage, salami and, most famously, into la porchetta, whole suckling pig stuffed with rosemary or sage, roasted on a spit. Game may also crop up on some menus, most often as pigeon, pheasant or guinea fowl. The range of fish is restricted by the lack of a coast, but trout and crayfish are pulled out of the Nera, Clitunno and Scordo rivers, while the lakes of Piediluco and Trasimeno yield eels, pike, tench and grey mullet. Vegetable delicacies include tiny lentils from Castelluccio, beans from Trasimeno, and celery from around Trevi. Umbrian olive oil, though less hyped than Tuscan oils, has a high reputation, particularly that from around Trevi and Spoleto. As for desserts, Perugia is renowned for its chocolate and pastries. Cheeses tend to be standard issue, although some smaller producers survive in the mountains around Norcia and Gubbio.

Umbria is best known outside Italy for fresh, dry white wines . Orvieto, once predominantly a medium-sweet wine, has been revived in a dry style, though the original abboccato is still available. However, the pre-eminence of Orvieto in the domestic market has been successfully challenged by Grechetto, a cheap and almost unfailingly reliable wine made by countless producers across the region. Umbria's quest for quality is also reflected in the tiny Montefalco DOC region, which produces excellent red wine.

History of Umbria

Umbria was named by the Romans after the mysterious Umbrii, a tribe cited by Pliny as the oldest in Italy, and one that controlled territory reaching into present-day Tuscany and Le Marche. Although there is scant archaeological evidence pertaining to them, it is known that their influence was mainly confined to the east of the Tiber; the towns to the west such as Perugia and Orvieto were founded by the Etruscans, whose rise forced the Umbrii to retreat into the eastern hills.

Roman domination was eventually undermined by the barbarian invasions, in the face of which the Umbrians withdrew into fortified hill-towns, paving the way for a pattern of bloody rivalry between independent city-states that continued through the Middle Ages. Weakened by constant warfare, most towns eventually fell to the papacy.

Historically, however, Umbria is best known as the birthplace of several saints, St Benedict and St Francis of Assisi being the most famous, and for a religious tradition that earned the region such names as Umbra santa, Umbra mistica and la terra dei santi ("land of saints"). The landscape itself has contributed much to this mystical reputation, it's impossible to miss the strange quality of the Umbrian light, an oddly luminous silver haze that hangs over the gentle curves of the land.

Geography of Umbria


Surface of 8,456 square kilometers

Population of over 900,000

Bordered by Emilia Romagna to the north, Tuscany and Lazio to the north and west, Abruzzo to the south and Le Marche to the east. Umbria has no coastline.


Perugia, Terni

Getting To Umbria


Perugia, Rome


The easiest stations for train connections to Firenze and Rome are either Terontola (just North of Lake Trasimeno, near Cortona), Perugia Ponte San Giovanni or Foligno (South of Assisi)


E35 & A1 Motorway


Warm, dry summers with temperatures around 28C. Winter can be cold , especially at higher altitudes.