A SERENE FAMILY HOLIDAY IN UMBRIA, ITALY
I FEEL it is only right that I warn you, that this is an EPIC post. EPIC!!
Quite possibly, my most epic yet. So before you begin, you might wanna pop the kettle on, make yourself a decent cuppa and get comfy. Because let me tell you, this post is a biggie.
Such a biggie in fact, that it’s taken me almost a full working day just to whittle down the photos and edit them.
But honestly, when it comes to Italy, can you blame me?
Italy is my favourite country in the world. No question. Plonk me anywhere on the Italian map and I’m as happy as Larry. (Whoever he is). I’ve visited many places in the past but hand on heart, I can tell you that no area in Italy has ‘spoken’ to me as much as Umbria.
I had never heard of Umbria, until I was invited to go there by the wonderful people at Bookings For You to review one of their stunning luxury villas. And for that, I feel slightly ashamed because let me tell you this region is breathtakingly stunning.
Situated next to Tuscany, Umbria is known as the ‘green heart of Italy’ and it is as beautiful as it is charming. Think ‘old school’ Italy, with unspoilt medieval towns, incredible food, rolling hills and a quieter, more contemplative way of life.
We spent a week here at the end of March, exploring the region and even venturing slightly further afield when we ‘popped’ (!) over to Rome for a day.
There is so much to say about this region, so to make it easier for you to read, I’m going to break it down into our highlights. There’s also a little video at the bottom of the post to give you a greater idea of our amazing travels.
And if you haven’t seen where we stayed yet, you might want to pop over for a gander at that post first.
Here it is: our family holiday in Umbria!
Assisi is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the region and is what most people who have heard of Umbria think of when the region is mentioned.
Famous for being the birthplace of St Francis, this serene town is truly spectacular.
Most tourists flock here to see the Basilica of St. Francis – an impressive and huge two storey cathedral.
Although not practising now, I was brought up to be Catholic and so always feel right at home in any church or cathedral. However I think even the most ardent non believer would find it difficult not to feel there is something very special about this beautiful religious building.
Religion aside, there is much to fall in love with in Assisi with it’s cobbled streets, Roman remains, mouth-watering food shops and some of the most spectacular views certainly I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes.
Apparently in summer, the town is chock a block with tourists, but we found it astonishingly quiet and peaceful. With no hesitation I can say it was one of the loveliest places I have ever visited.
This was our nearest town to where we stayed and although it’s certainly not the prettiest place in the region, it’s well worth a visit for a stroll around and a spot of lunch.
It will always be remembered by us as the place where we first encountered the real warmth of Umbrian people, many of whom stopped us on our first day sightseeing to talk to Elsie, pick her up (!) or try and buy her an ice cream.
One of our favourite towns in the area, Spoleto is serene and peaceful.
I think we may have been the only tourists on the day we visited, which is mind boggling when I consider how tremendously pretty and charming this place is.
With quaint cobbled streets, beautiful churches and the quietest open places I think we’ve ever come across, it’s a gorgeous place to visit for an afternoon.
Enjoy a leisurely lunch – we had the most amazing meal here in the town – then stroll around, check out the incredible hilltop views and wander until your heart is content. Just stunning!
There’s not much to see in Montefalco but what there is, is well worth seeing.
It’s a tiny little mountain town, so pretty, so clean, so perfect, that it looks like someone has spent million of pounds designing the most incredible Italian film set.
Famous for it’s wine and for it’s panoramic views of the Umbrian valley, it offers a number of incredible restaurants and some of the warmest and friendliest Italian people you could hope to meet.
(Although to be fair, the Umbrians never failed to leave us charmed with their friendliness and warmth, particularly towards Elsie who was made so welcome wherever we went. It’s not often you get waitresses dancing with children in a restaurant, is it?!)
If you’re lucky, like us, you will leave slightly tipsy, nicely stuffed from the most delicious food that will probably ever pass your lips and with ‘la dolce vita’ feeling tucked well under your belt.
We found Bevagna on our last day and my only teeny regret is that we didn’t find it sooner, as both the husband and I fell in love with this place.
Umbrian towns are mainly extraordinarily peaceful, but this one felt much livelier and was certainly the most cosmopolitan of all the places we visited (bar Rome.)
Full of charming shops, bustling cafes and lovely restaurants, it is the perfect place to sit, take the weight off your feet and watch the world go by.
Stroll the streets to find it’s ancient secrets with an ice cream in hand or enjoy a coffee in the main square. Bellissimo!
When we discovered we were only a couple of hours away from Rome, well it was clear, we had to go and pay the city a visit.
Rome is my favourite city in the world.
My husband Jamie took me for my 30th birthday and I fell in love with it almost immediately.
It has everything you would expect from a major city plus some. Ancient history, impressive art, mind boggling architecture and christianity dominates this fascinating city lending it a real sense of mystery and intrigue. You can almost hear whispers of stories just walking down it’s ancient streets.
The people are warm and friendly – especially if you have a little person in tow – and the food and wine is out of this world.
So the husband braved the crazy Roman traffic and drove us in to the city and we decided to cram as much into our overnight stay as we could… taking Elsie to see the two most famous sites – the Vatican and the Collosseum.
It was an exhausting trip. As every parent knows taking a young child sightseeing in a major city is tiring and often fraught, but I’m so glad we did because mini tantrums and tired feet aside, it was magical.
If you’ve never been, get those suitcases packed and get going!
So there you have it. Yes it’s an epic post – I did warn you! – but for an epic holiday it is to be expected.
As I think you can see from the photos, there is so much to see and do in this region. But what we loved as a family, is that we could do it all at our own pace.
The tranquility of the area is both relaxing and rejuvenating and it’s certainly a place I long to return to.
Umbria – besides being known as Italy’s ‘green heart’ is also referred to as the ‘land of Saints’ and one thing I know for sure is that I certainly feel very blessed to have visited this serene, beautiful and magical region.
Many thanks to Bookings For You for once again sending me and my family on a superb Italian adventure!
If you love the sound of visiting Italy or fancy a slice of the ‘good life’ action for yourself, then check out this super discount!
Bookings For You are kindly offering all readers a 20% discount off any holiday taken this month. Contact them directly to find out more.