Explore. Discover. Keep Growing.

My first taste of Umbria

When you are a lush region rich in history and art, with a long and deservedly proud culinary tradition, you would think that you have it easy. And you would, unless of course you happen to be in Italy, where pretty much each region is rich in history and art, with a long and deservedly proud culinary tradition.

Tourism-wise, competition is pretty tough within Italy. With such a high concentration of art, history and natural beauty, it’s hard to shine through.

Enclosed within Tuscany, Marche and Lazio and only a few hours from towering icons such as Florence and Rome, the small region of Umbria doesn’t have it easy and gets often – unfairly – overlooked. Located right at the centre of the country, it is the only peninsular region that is landlocked, thus earning its nickname as the green heart of Italy.

Whereas Umbria’s secluded nature might seem a disadvantage, I think it might be its best strength. In a country like Italy where some popular destinations get celebrated world-wide like famous top models, Umbria has preserved the beauty of the girl next door: genuine, discreet, unpretentious. The kind of beauty that can win your heart.

Lake Trasimeno, Umbria

Lake Trasimeno, Umbria – Photos taken/edited with iPhone4 & Instagram

Simple. Quiet. It’s the beauty of the olive trees, with their wrinkled trunk and silver green leaves. Of the yellow rape fields that look like picnic blankets laid out on the grass. Of vast Lake Trasimeno that constantly changes its colours to match with the sky. Of the tidy vineyards and the winding roads. Of cities like Perugia and Assisi, where every step is a step through history.

Although Umbria’s beauty is undeniable, there is more to it than meets the eye. Whether you are visiting one of the main cities or exploring the countryside, you can’t help but notice how everything in this region is permeated with a deep sense of calmness. From the quiet alleys in Assisi to the tranquil shores of Lake Trasimeno, life in Umbria seems to move at a slower, more natural, pace.

Should you decide to visit, my advice is to take your time. No matter how long you are going to stay – take your time. Slow down and just meander, forgetful of itineraries or time. Touch the stone walls and the cold marble. Follow a staircase just to see where it ends. Lose your way in the narrow alleys. Eat gelato. Listen. Look up.

This is exactly what I did in Perugia last week – and I loved every slow minute of it.

Perugia, Umbria

Wandering around Perugia – Photos taken/edited with iPhone4 & Instagram

While that of slowing down is my general advice when travelling, I find it particularly true for Umbria. Interestingly, this appears to be as true today as it was 140 years ago, when after visiting Perugia a young Henry James felt like giving the potential visitor the very same advice (minus the gelato bit):

His first care must be to ignore the very dream of haste, walking everywhere very slowly and very much at random, […].

Henry James – Italian Hours

I firmly believe that if you’re good at something there is no need of shouting it to the four winds. It will show and people will appreciate it.

This is how Umbria shines through.


Date of travel: 19th – 25th April 2012

Disclosure: I travelled to Umbria to attend the TBU conference and had the pleasure of joining one of the post-conference trips organized by the Region of Umbria in cooperation with Umbria on the Blog. Nevertheless – as always on this site – views and opinions are mine and mine only.

Liked it? -> Share it!

Want to be the first to know about a new post? Subscribe to The Travel Gene RSS feed or choose to have my posts conveniently delivered to your inbox.

10 Comments

[ Add yours ]
Phyllis Smith -- May 1, 2012 at 11:15 pmGrab link

I almost dont want any more people to know about Umbria. MY Umbria. :-)

With so many bloggers flooding the Internet with stunning images and enthusiastic words about Umbria, I think it will be hard to keep it a secret. Hopefully international fame won’t change it though and Umbria will remain true to itself.

Thank you for reading Forrest, I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
P.s. Love the name of your blog :)

I love Italy and Umbria is one of my favourite areas. I try to travel to Italy at least every second year…. and am busy planning a trip again in Sept. Your blog makes me wish it was sooner!

Whoops, sorry! ; ) September is a great time to visit Italy and I bet colours in Umbria will be stunning. I’m going to post more about Umbria and Italy so I apologize in advance for any more induced daydreaming : )

love your instagram photos, especially the one on the upper right of the first photo. i like the way you compose your photographs :)

Thank you Gladys : ) I really like Instagram, it’s one of my favourite apps.

Umbria on the Blog -- May 25, 2012 at 11:11 amGrab link

Oriana, I just loved this post about Umbria. Thank you so much for such a glowing recap, and please keep in touch!

Oriana -- May 25, 2012 at 11:43 amGrab link

My pleasure, I was truly impressed by Umbria. It was really nice to discover such a little gem in my own country and you guys did a fantastic job in showing us around. So.. thank you! : )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*