In this itinerary I will show you where to go and what to visit in Umbria in 3 days, including villages, cities of art, exceptional food and wine!
Umbria, also known as the “green heart of Italy,” is one of the most beloved regions in our country, allowing travelers from all over the world to organize day tours or longer trips suitable for all tastes to discover important art cities such as Perugia, Spoleto, Assisi, and Norcia, capable of evoking unique atmospheres.This splendid region, thanks to its strategic location in the center of Italy, offers enchanting villages, stunning landscapes, hills, mountains, national parks, lakes such as Lake Trasimeno and Lake Piediluco, as well as incredible food and wine and an artistic heritage to be discovered in any season of the year!
During the winter months, Assisi and Perugia are often destinations for tourists looking for a spiritual journey. For outdoor enthusiasts, the best months are the summer months, from June to September, when rainfall is practically absent, and you can discover the region in complete tranquility. If you prefer to explore its cities and monuments, the perfect period is spring and autumn when the cities are not yet crowded with tourists, and you won’t have to encounter long and annoying lines to see the main attractions and museums.
The surprises don’t end here… In the Umbria region, you will find enchanting places recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites for their cultural and natural importance. For culture, “Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco, the Temple of Clitumnus, and the Basilica of San Salvatore” have been declared World Heritage Sites, while for Natural Heritage, “the nature reserve of Monte Peglia” stands out.
Don’t know what to see in Umbria yet? Then keep following me! In this guide, I will give you interesting itineraries to help you spend 3 days in Umbria you won’t forget, discovering the hidden and lesser-known places that this wonderful region has to offer.😍
What to see in Umbria in 3 days
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I have created for you three different itineraries to discover what to visit in Umbria in 3 days: 👇
It is one of the most fascinating cities in Umbria. It extends on the Sant’Elia hill, at the foot of the sacred Monteluco forest, and is rich in art from every era. Moreover, it is the protagonist of prestigious events, such as the Festival dei Due Mondi, which make it a symbol of international culture.
A must-visit if you are in Spoleto:
- Cathedral of Spoleto
- Oil Tower
- Roman Theater
- Roman House
- Market Square
During your tour in Spoleto, you absolutely cannot miss eating the black truffle, the undisputed star of Spoleto’s cuisine. If you crave something sweet, don’t miss the crescionda, a typical dessert made with eggs, flour, chocolate, amaretti, and mistral.
2. Campello sul Clitunno
This village, despite its small size, is known for the peculiarity of its historic center, still enclosed by mighty walls, and for the area related to its sources. It has been famous since ancient times and an inspiration for many poets and writers. Next to the sources, which are very important, you can also find the paleo-Christian Temple of Clitumnus, an ancient shrine included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
According to local gastronomic tradition, the appetizers must include a trio of bruschetta: the classic one with extra virgin olive oil, one with black or green olive paste, and one with truffle. For seafood lovers, do not miss the river crayfish and grilled trout with truffle sauce.
It is one of the most charming villages in Italy and is part of the circuits of the “City of Olive Oil” and “Slow Cities.” The road that leads to this town offers enchanting views of the Umbrian valley and immerses visitors in an endless expanse of olive groves. In this small village, the most precious typical product is undoubtedly the olive oil. Its key role in the local economy is also due to the presence of the Museum of Olive Civilization and the opening of local mills to enthusiasts of the sector. Furthermore, every year in Trevi, a festival is organized during the olive pressing season to inaugurate the arrival of the so-called “new olive oil.”I also recommend trying the rare sedano di Trevi, a slow food presidium that is perfect for raw consumption or cooked “alla parmigiana.”
4. Foligno and the Menotre Falls
It is a very important Umbrian city located in the Valle Umbra and crossed by the Topino River. The territory is predominantly mountainous, and the city center is located in the plains. A few kilometers from Foligno, near the village of Pale, the Menotre River plunges from a height of 530 meters above sea level, forming a series of spectacular waterfalls surrounded by lush vegetation that extends to Belfiore, a village at an altitude of 265 meters above sea level.
In addition to the Menotre Falls, you should definitely visit:
- Cathedral of San Feliciano
- Museum of printing
- Col fiorito Park
- Trinci Palace
In Foligno, typical local dishes are based on typical Umbrian cuisine. Ingredients from the land, such as mushrooms, legumes, and truffles, are used together with game meat, good wine, and the inevitable extra virgin olive oil. You must absolutely try the spaghetti col rancetto, a rich dish made with pancetta, tomatoes, and marjoram that gives the pasta a unique aroma and flavor.
It is a beautiful village immersed in greenery, where you can admire extensive olive groves and vineyards. There are many beautiful attractions to see in this city. I definitely recommend discovering the splendid medieval walls that still preserve all their historical features, Piazza del Comune, and the Church of San Francesco, which currently houses a beautiful museum. If you are in Montefalco during the summer, you cannot miss the “Fuga del Bove” event, a local tradition that is repeated every year, transforming Piazza del Comune into an open-air theater.
Montefalco means Sagrantino: a tannic red wine with flavors of red fruits that perfectly accompanies hearty and simple Umbrian dishes such as porchetta, panzanella, or a slice of bread with olive oil, pecorino cheese, and cold cuts.
It is a small village known as the “Little Venice of Umbria.” It is called so because of the presence of many water streams within it, forming small waterfalls. Fonte Capovena is the most important spring; from here, the water passes through the old town wash-house (no longer in use but open for visits) and finally flows into the Menotre River. The town of Rasiglia, in addition to its springs, has a lot to offer tourists; you cannot leave without first seeing the beautiful Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and the remains of Rasiglia Castle. Another must-see is definitely its Peschiera (a large pool that collects water), located in the center of the village, once used for washing sheep.
It is a charming village to visit throughout the year, which is why it is part of the most beautiful villages in Italy. It is especially known for the “infiorate” (floral compositions) created every year on the occasion of Corpus Domini. During your visit to Spello, I recommend visiting the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore with the famous Baglioni Chapel, the Roman House, and the Church of S. Andrea. If you are passionate about art and history, you must not miss the Civic Museum and the Pinacoteca of Spello. The museum is housed in the Palazzo dei Canonici and contains important works of art such as “Madonna Enthroned with Child”.
As for the local cuisine, the red potato gnocchi from Colfiorito with goose ragù, the raponzoli salad (radishes), and legumes are excellent and prominent in Spello.
It is the capital of the Umbria region, a city that preserves artistic and monumental treasures that testify to its historical heritage. Despite having the appearance of a small medieval village, Perugia has a vibrant city life, mainly due to the presence of one of the oldest universities in Italy, as well as the largest university for foreigners in Italy. To best explore its historic center, an excellent starting point is Via Indipendenza. From here, you can move to Piazza Italia to admire the Rocca Paolina and continue towards Piazza IV Novembre, where the Fontana Maggiore and the Cathedral of San Lorenzo are located. In addition to Piazza Italia, you also have the opportunity to discover another square: Piazza Danti, where you can admire the evocative Etruscan Well.
The king of Perugian specialties is undoubtedly chocolate, thanks to the presence of the Perugina factory, producer of the famous “bacio” chocolate. Every year in autumn, the historic center of this city hosts the “Eurochocolate” festival, dedicated entirely to chocolate. In addition to this delightful food, among the main typical Perugian dishes, we find game meat cooked in a simple way and black truffle from Norcia, used to flavor first courses and appetizers.
It is a picturesque medieval village a few kilometers from Perugia, known as the homeland of ceramics and majolica. For this reason, we recommend visiting its famous Ceramic Museum, which houses precious and unique majolica pieces, and the Church of Madonna dei Bagni to admire the evolution of ceramic art and participate in a workshop with a professional ceramist in one of the craft workshops located in the town.
Deruta, moreover, offers local dishes not to be missed, such as tagliatelle with goose innards, passatelli in broth, and porchetta with fennel.
It is a reference point for the Christian faith where time seems to have stood still, as well as a favorite destination for many pilgrims, connected to the history of Saint Francis and Saint Clare who lived in this city. To start the tour of Assisi, it is ideal to first visit the Basilica of San Francesco. Its construction dates back to 1230 and was commissioned by Pope Gregory IX to house the saint’s remains. Once you have visited the basilica, I recommend walking along Via San Francesco until you reach Piazza del Comune. Here, you will find impressive attractions such as the Temple of Minerva, the Tower of the People, and the Palazzo dei Priori, the seat of the Municipality.
I recommend not leaving without tasting at least one of these Assisi specialties:
- Pecorino cheese
- Ciauscolo, a spreadable salami made from a mixture of pork meat
- Umbricelli, (dialectally called umbrichi, umbrichelli or umbrichelle), large handmade spaghetti, truffle or norcina style
- Rocciata, a dessert of medieval origin, filled with apples, hazelnuts, walnuts and raisins
5. Lake Trasimeno
This lake is the fourth largest in Italy and is located in the western part of Umbria, surrounded by the green hills of Umbria. The area is rich in small medieval villages such as Castiglione del Lago, Città della Pieve, Magione, and Passignano sul Trasimeno, which are a must-visit. But that’s not all! The lake also offers three islands: Isola Polvese, Isola Maggiore, and Isola Minore (the latter is not open for visits).
The specialties to eat on Lake Trasimeno are many and almost all of them feature lake fish and oco (goose). Among them, you should definitely try brustico, a dish made with royal perch, cooked on the lake reed until it is almost charred and served with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon. In addition to this, other typical local dishes to try before leaving are fried perch fillets and the distinctive Oco arrosto (roast goose).
It is a very ancient Umbrian settlement that attracts travelers from all over the world every year thanks to its characteristic medieval appearance and for hosting 8 seasons of “Don Matteo.” This town has a lot to offer its visitors. The Civic Museum preserves traces of the first Paleolithic settlement. In the past, Gubbio was a pre-Roman village and later a Roman city, founded under the name “Eugubium,” from which the citizens (eugubini) derive their name. Today it is famous everywhere for its typical Festa dei Ceri, a religious celebration that takes place every year on May 15th.
A must-visit if you are in Gubbio:
- The Roman Theater and Antiquarium
- Church of San Francesco dei Muratori
- Piazza Grande and the Palazzo dei Consoli
- The Duomo and the Ducal Palace
It’s not easy to choose what to eat in Gubbio, but you can’t leave without at least tasting the crescia al panaro (a kind of savory flatbread accompanied by local cold cuts), cheese cake and truffle dishes.
It is one of the most visited villages in the Upper Lazio region. Its unique position atop a tuff cliff makes it a truly unique destination. But what truly characterizes this small Umbrian city is the presence of countless works of art. We recommend visiting the colorful Orvieto Cathedral and immersing yourself in its suggestive Underground City, entirely carved out of excavations made by the inhabitants over time, which is rich in wells and caves. The most famous well is probably St. Patrick’s Well, located inside the Albornoz Fortress.
As for the food and wine of Orvieto, you must absolutely try the traditional Pera di Monteleone d’Orvieto, also known as the “peasant’s steak,” pigeon and “pollo alla cacciatora” (hunter-style chicken), and to finish on a sweet note, you can’t miss the ciambelloni with anise. Moreover, Orvieto is especially known for its wines, including Grechetto, as well as Trebbiano and Sangiovese.
Also known as the “ideal city,” Todi is a medieval village of true beauty. It is located a few kilometers from Perugia and Orvieto, surrounded by three sets of walls (Etruscan, Roman, and medieval) that house various treasures within them. If you are true medieval enthusiasts, I recommend taking some time to explore the surroundings of Todi, discovering historic castles that were once part of the territory’s defensive system. Among these, we recommend not missing:
- the Frontignano Castle, along the road from Ponte Rio up to San Terenziano
- the Speltara Castle, abandoned from the 13th century and set of Pupi Avati’s film Magnificat
- the 13th-century castle of Barattano
Among my recommendations on what to eat in Todi, you certainly cannot miss the palomba alla ghiotta, accompanied by a good glass of Grechetto di Todi DOC, a white wine so good that it was mentioned by Pliny the Elder in the first century AD.
It is a medieval village known as the “navel of Italy” due to its geographical position in the center of our peninsula. It is situated on a promontory from which you can admire a breathtaking view. Its historic center is easily explored on foot; strolling through its narrow uphill streets and admiring the surrounding countryside from different viewpoints in the city is truly unique. Not to be missed is also the visit to Narni Underground: it is a unique experience that starts from the discovery of the Church of Santa Maria della Rupe and leads to the Chamber of Torture of the Holy Inquisition and the graffitied cell. Furthermore, in summer (by appointment), it is possible to visit a part of the Roman Aqueduct of Formina from the inside.
Narni boasts traditional specialties that you must try. Among these, we have Manfricoli, a local pasta dish seasoned with pecorino cheese, fava beans, and guanciale (cured pork jowl), and the tasty Brustengolo, a sweet from the peasant tradition that features dried fruit as the undisputed protagonist.
4. Piediluco Lake and Marmore Falls
Piediluco is a picturesque fishing village located in the small fraction of Terni that, thanks to its lake, offers tourists from around the world a fairy–tale setting, perfect for taking wonderful photographs. Lake Piediluco is not very deep but is characterized by a long coastline where you can take a relaxing walk and spend a day outdoors.
But it doesn’t end there… With a scenic tour around the lake, you can reach the unmissable Marmore Falls, the highest in Europe. And for an even more unique and engaging experience, you could also visit the caves that have formed over the years.
This city in the province of Perugia is part of the Monti Sibillini National Park. It boasts an important historical and artistic heritage and is rich in archaeological evidence that demonstrates the presence of human settlements since the Neolithic period. Its ancient name “Nursia,” derived from the deity of luck (venerated by the Etruscans), was mentioned by several famous historians such as Virgil and later transformed into the current name “Norcia.” It is famous worldwide as the birthplace of St. Benedict and for its tasty typical dishes such as Pasta alla Norcina, lentils from Castelluccio, and Pappardelle with Black Truffle.
What to do in Umbria
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So far, we’ve seen what to see in Umbria in 3 days, but there are also many experiences to be had in this region! That’s why I thought of proposing some of the best activities not to be missed during your Umbrian vacation:
- Discover the delicious Umbrian cuisine in trattorias and typical local establishments
- Taste the characteristic street food
- Enter the depths of the ancient underground city of Orvieto
- Stroll through the historic streets of the region and visit museums
- Go shopping in the historic centers of cities or in workshops to find characteristic Umbrian artisan products such as handcrafted and embroidered fabrics, wrought iron or ceramic objects, and precious typical jewelry
The experiences to be had don’t end there! Umbria is a perfect place to engage in various outdoor activities. In this region, you’ll have the opportunity to organize an excursion along the Clitunno Springs (a natural park inhabited by various aquatic animals) or take a relaxing horseback ride or bike ride. If you’re a thrill-seeker, you can try more adrenaline-filled activities such as rafting, canyoning in Valnerina, a hot air balloon ride, or paragliding.
Local food & wine
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Umbria boasts an incredible and varied gastronomy. The local winemaking tradition has ancient roots, thanks to the favorable climatic and territorial characteristics that support extraordinary wine production. Without a doubt, the most renowned wines in the region are Torgiano Rosso Riserva DOCG and Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG.
As for its cuisine, there are truly many typical Umbrian dishes to try during your trip. The main ones include:
- The torta al testo; a typical white savory flatbread so called because it is baked on a circular shaped surface called, precisely, “testo”
- The extra virgin olive oil
- The Norcia truffle – considered one of the most prized internationally
- The spicy Norcia ham
- The cured meats such as wild boar sausages, Umbrian mortadella and capocollo
- The pecorino cheese from Norcia, characterized by a slightly spicy flavor
- The spelt of Monteleone di Spoleto DOC, usually used in soups
- The Castelluccio lentil, small, green and delicate
- The Umbrian chocolate produced mainly in Perugia
- The black celery of Trevi – formerly grown around the waters of the sacred Clitunno River.
- Lake fish such as queen carp, eels and perch
If you are a lover of good food and local gastronomy and would like to take home all the secrets of this fantastic land, you could participate in captivating cooking courses or simply take advantage of guided tastings of the most representative typical Umbrian specialties, cooked by locals.
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I leave you below some events and festivals not to be missed during your Umbrian vacation:
- Truffle Festival from July 7 to 16 in Tordandrea
- Early Summer Festival from June 30 to July 9 in Resina
- Festival of Two Worlds from June 23 to July 9 in Spoleto
- Castelluccio flowering between mid-May and mid-July in Castelluccio di Norcia
- Chocolate festival from Oct. 13 to 22 in Perugia
How to get to Umbria
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After our tour to see Umbria in three days, here is some information on how to reach it. You can easily reach this region by car via the highway exits A1 Firenze-Roma, A14 Taranto-Bologna, or the E45 superstrada Cesena-Orte, which crosses all of Umbria.
In case you don’t use a car, the main means of reaching Umbria is by train. The main rail line is the Direttissima Firenze-Roma, which allows for a quick connection between the two cities. If you are arriving from far away, the region is served by the San Francesco d’Assisi International Airport, located in Sant’Egidio, a few kilometers from the centers of Perugia and Assisi.
Now that you know what to see in Umbria in 3 days, remember that Italia Delight offers you the opportunity to book food tours as well as food and wine vacations, even personalized, tailor-made for you. Book your next experience as soon as possible and discover everything that this marvelous region has to offer! 😉
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Featured photo: sofia-N3dKyA2UfWk, unsplash