Umbria & Abruzzo
Off the beaten track and often over-shadowed by its famous neighbour, Umbria is less discovered and the green heart of Italy. Like Tuscany, this is a land of ancient churches, hamlets and vineyards with hidden treasures and beautiful landscapes. Take a pilgrimage to Assisi (UNESCO World Heritage site). Discover spectacular medieval hilltop towns including Spoleto, Todi, Spello and Orvieto and visit the university town and capital Perugia, also home of perugina chocolate and the famous annual Umbrian Jazz Festival. Witness the ‘bloom of Norcia' wildflowers in June each year – a sight to behold.
Looking for roads less travelled? Abruzzo is the real Italy. Mountainous and rugged, situated between the Apennines and the Adriatic Coast, it is a remote region with a wealth of castles, monasteries and medieval towns, as well as seaside towns, ports and beaches. Off the beaten tourist track, on Italy’s east coast, Abruzzo is full of simple food, wines, traditional Abruzzese cooking, undiscovered cultural riches and artisan crafts… and a slower pace of life. Abruzzo is an unspoilt, hidden gem in the heart of central Italy. Home to Italy’s most beautiful and pristine National Parks, Gran Sasso NP, with the highest peak in the Apennines, abundant nature, even wolves, deer and brown bears still roam free.
When to visit
Umbria & Abruzzo is a truly ‘year-round destination’, with ancient villages, castles, lakes and rivers nestling between soaring mountains that in the winter months offer some of the best skiing in the country, some of them only 30km from a pristine coastline.
The climate is Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cold winters. However, each season has its own charm, the spring and summer period bring pastel-coloured fields with red and purple flowers, an endless calendar of events in charming medieval towns with warm terracotta roofs and, of course, packed beaches. July and August can often be relentlessly hot and dry for long periods, with daytime temperatures typically reaching 38–40°C.
During winter, the region opens up to lovers of winter sports, especially during the months of December to February. Sunny winter days can be magical in the mountains and the snow gives the towns and villages a fairy-tale appearance.