Fascinating Umbrian towns: the beating heart of Italy. 

12 November 2021
Written by
The Italy Insider

Forget the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself into a whole new world made of squeezingly tight cobbled streets, brightly coloured piazzas and houses, buzzy little cafes and crumbling churches of honey-coloured stone; welcome to Italy’s enchanted and most relaxing region: Umbria. The green heart of Italy is cherished for having fertile landscapes braided with some of the best Italian vineyards, undulating hills bathed in poetic golden light, and a variety of towns and villages, which are the true essence of this picture-postcard region enriched with history and folk traditions. 

A road trip to this exquisite destination will make you fall in love even more, as driving allows you to visit some of the most charming medieval towns in Umbria. Already dreaming of embarking on your next journey? Here is a list of Umbrian towns not to miss when visiting central Italy. 


Bevagna, in ancient times “Mevania”, is a village set in a valley, sandwiched between two rivers in the province of Perugia. The town represents its medieval style and its heart in Piazza Silvestri, considered to be among the most remarkable Medieval urban creations of Umbria. The square includes a 19th-century fountain, a Roman column in the centre and two sensational Romanesque churches: the smaller San Silvestro and the imposing San Michele Arcangelo and its majestic bell tower, symbol of the town. When visiting Bevagna you will have the opportunity to rediscover the old crafts and traditional foods of the village, particularly during the “Mercato delle Gaite”, a sensational medieval festival that takes place in the month of June. 

Bevagna. Ph. Credits: Gabriella Clare Marino


With an enviable artistic and cultural heritage, Spoleto is one of the most beautiful art cities in Italy. The town maintains its labyrinthine medieval structure blended with Roman remains, such as the Arch of Drusus and Germanicus and the impressive Roman Theatre. One of the best things to do in Spoleto is the walk around Rocca Albornoz from which you can admire the valley of Spoleto and its Cathedral. This symbolic monument dates from the 12th century and has some magnificent ancient flaking frescoes by Pinturicchio and Filippo Lippi inside. 

A peculiar part of your visit in Spoleto will be the eight blocks of escalators that will take you the lower part of the town to the upper in less than 10 minutes, giving the city a modern twist. To not forget is the “Il Festival dei Due Mondi”, a famous musical, cultural, artistic event happening between the months of June and July. 

Duomo di Spoleto. Ph Credits: Melissa Sordi
Spoleto Ph. Credits @italiainunistante


One of Italy’s ancient names for women, meaning someone who’s rather active and hardworking, Amelia is among Umbria’s most breathtaking villages. This location is the very epitome of an Italian hilltop town, offering all terraced olive groves, crumbling stone walls and stunning church towers. Set in the southwestern corner of Umbria, not far from the city of Terni, Amelia is the oldest town in the region, dating back to around 1000BC, a pure mixture of Roman and Middle Aged architecture. As far as food is concerned, Amelia’s absolute best dessert is Girotti figs: handmade dried fruits, cut and filled with condiments, such as chocolate and candied fruit, chocolate and toasted almonds or walnuts, and later passed under a press artisan to form a sort of tile from the round shape; such an incredibly sweet and tasty delight for your palate. 


Gubbio stands proud against the slopes of Mount Ingino, in Umbria’s northwestern part, close to the borders with the marvellous Marche region. 

The town is famous for its rich cultural heritage – mostly noticeable in one of Italy’s century-old folklore festivals, “La Festa Dei Ceri”, that takes place every year on 15 May, on the eve of the Feast of Sant’Ubaldo, the town’s patron saint. 

Town folks participate in a race that consists in transporting the Ceri – three enormous heavy wooden structures – from the church of Santa Maria Nuova into the town centre to the Sant’Ubaldo basilica on Mount Ingino. People train all year around for the event, and the team who arrives first win the glory and respect of the village. 

The streets of Gubbio. Ph Credits: Federico Di Dio
View of ancient roman amphitheater in front of hill town of Gubbio


Spello is one of the Umbrian towns that should be visited at least once in a lifetime. Noticeable In its alleys are the several influences of all cultures that passes by, particularly the Romans; a striking sight is the Porta Venere – a splendidly preserved Augustan-era town gate. The walled village is perched on the foothills of Mount Subasio and it is well known for being the “town of flowers”, a name given after Spello greatest event: the Infiorata, which consists in making giant carpets with flowers on the occasion of the Catholic feast of Corpus Domini, in the month of June. During these times, the streets and house facades come alive with vibrant floral displays planted by the residents and the village becomes a pleasure for visitors’ eyes. 

View of Spello
View of Spello from afar
Along the streets of Spello

These are just some of the treasures that Umbria has to offer, as everywhere in the region is a continue discovery of peculiar towns, breathtaking landscapes and unforgettable slow moments. 

Whether it is for a one day trip or a longer stay, Umbria will not stop making you want to come back again and again: this central, landlocked region of picturesque, medieval hill towns, rolling green farmland and forests is the perfect place for a slow, peaceful and unique Italian experience, in the total respect for authenticity.

PS. top tip: if you visit between May – July, you will assist one of the most beautiful views in Umbria at Castelluccio di Norcia

Castelluccio di Norcia Ph. Credits: Ernesto Scarponi
Castelluccio di Norcia Ph. Credits: Ernesto Scarponi
Assisi Ph. Credits: Achim Ruhnau

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