Umbria – The undiscovered green heart of Italy.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting a part of Italy I had not been to before. Ninety minutes from the bustling mayhem of Rome and two hours from the crowds of Florence, the peace and quiet of Umbria; the little visited green heart of Italy. Dating back to pre Roman Etruscia, Umbria is one of the few Italian regions not to have a coastline, but don’t let this stop you from adding it to your holiday list.

In 1538 Perugia, the regions capitol, was rebuilt following a disagreement with Pope Paul III, as his Papal forces crushed a revolt against a salt tax. Not to hold a grudge, traditional Umbrian bread still has no salt in it . The city is split in two, with the historic walled city, sitting atop a hill with some of the most amazing views over the rolling hills, and the newer town at its base.

Accommodation is cheaper than the busier Florence and Pisa, with a wide range of options from the 5 Star Sina Brufani Palace to the fun themed property, “Hotel Gio Wine e Jazz Area” celebrating the world famous Perugia Jazz Festival that takes place every year in July.

If Jazz is not your thing, how about chocolate? Every March Perugia hosts Europe’s largest chocolate festival, and there is a hotel for that at well, the Chocotel, where the room categories are Milk, Dark and White.

However, Umbria is much more than Perugia, the history of wine growing in the region dates back to before the Roman Era and the amazing Sangiovese is a local specialty you must try.

In the 1970’s Ferruccio Lamborghini, decided to escape the world of cars and retired to Umbria, where he created a world class vineyard, then added a nine hole gold course, small hotel and restaurant. Set in the rolling countryside and only a few miles from Italy’s fourth largest lake, Trasimeno, the location is idyllic, the restaurant is amazing and of the course the wine spectacular.

For those wanting a more strenuous holiday, the hills and mountains are full of hiking and biking trails and local groups are working hard to clear ancient paths through the hills to open up the area for more tourism, however the aim of Umbria is to succeed not through mass tourism, but “Slow Tourism”. There is a quietness to the hills of Umbria I have never experienced in Italy before. Standing in the hill town of Cerreto Di Spoleto looking down the valley and listening to wild wolves howling as the sunsets, before retiring to a quiet bar for a glass of red and a plate of locally produced hams, salamis and cheese, along with some bread, of course, without the salt, I think I may have found my new favorite part of Italy.

Contact Carter Goodson Travel to book your trip and discover the green heart of Italy.