If you’re looking for a laid-back, charming area blessed with a wealth of nature and history, consider looking south of Tuscany. Villas in Umbria offer access to quite a number of attractions and activities at a pace even more relaxed than its neighbours.
Laid-back does not necessarily mean nondescript, however. Wonderful cliffs, a majestic lake, ancient cities and more make for a memorable trip here. And while not officially quite inside Tuscany, villas in the area are close enough so you don’t really need to miss the magic of the Tuscan sun!
Here are some of the sights and places one shouldn’t miss in Umbria.
One of the region’s biggest draws is Italy’s largest non-Alpine lake – the Lago di Trasimeno. Located in what is called the €green heart of Italy€, just inside Umbria but practically at the border of Tuscany, villas in the surrounding towns are the perfect base to set out to discover the country from any direction.
The lake is ideal for all types of water sports, but is also a great place for relaxing. There are three islands in the middle of the lake, which can be reached by ferry or boat. Maggiore (where you can see ancient ruins of an old Roman villa), Minore and Polvese are all great for day-trips.
Located at practically the exact centre of Italy, Umbria’s capital city is a lively, bustling place that can hold its own against the busier towns of the region. Walled hilltop towns, bustling piazzas, and a restaurant with a chocolate menu are among the things one might discover here. It also makes a great base for visiting the other hillside towns such as Assisi, Spello and Gubbio.
Etruscan tombs, scenic vineyards, a medieval cathedral (duomo), a Spanish castle and St. Patrick’s Well are among some of the attractions you’ll find in this wonderful hill town perched on limestone cliffs south of Tuscany. Villas in this area can have wonderful views of the Orvieto cliffs, while some are nearer the historic centre.
What exactly were you expecting in your holidays in Tuscany? Villas, glorious sunlight, wonderful food and€¦mummies? Yes, mummies! Just a bit outside Tuscany, under Ferentillo’s Church of Santo Stefano, are bodies preserved by a rare microfungus that has turned corpses into mummies. Some of the best-preserved mummies are on display in what is now the mummy museum in the bottom part of the church. They are complete with hair, beards or teeth intact, a few clothes, and some very interesting back stories! For instance, there is a lawyer who was buried right next to his murderer, a mother next to her baby, even Chinese pilgrims who died on the pilgrimage route. As an added bonus, partial frescoes from the original church are still visible, too.
If you’re looking for a different type of town from your standard ones, this town’s gray limestone buildings will certainly be an extraordinary sight! Gubbio’s well-preserved medieval hill town offers picture-perfect monuments of medieval, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture, as well as a Roman amphitheater just outside of town, settled in the scenic countryside.
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