Planning a trip to Umbria? Wish to see the best towns in Umbria Italy? I have explored Umbria thoroughly. Here is the list of the best towns in Umbria, that I recommend visiting. My list covers the main towns in Umbria, the best small towns in Umbria, the best hill towns in Umbria, the most charming towns in Umbria, Umbrian tourist towns, and Umbria’s hidden gems.
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Umbria is known for its picturesque and well-preserved medieval hilltop towns.
Gorgeous Umbria in central Italy is nicknamed the Green Heart of Italy. Its lush green hills, silver-green olive groves, green vineyards, yellow-green sunflower fields, and incredibly charming towns and villages make some of the most beautiful landscapes in Italy.
So, if you are planning a trip to Umbria and now researching which places to visit in Umbria, here are the best towns in Umbria.
A short summary of the best towns in Umbria Italy:
The major towns in Umbria: Perugia, Assisi and Gubbio
The most beautiful small towns in Umbria: Spello, Castiglione del Lago, and Bevagna
The important Catholic pilgrimage towns in Umbria: Assisi, Cascia and Orvieto
- The best towns in Umbria Italy
- 1. Perugia
- 2. Assisi
- 3. Gubbio
- 4. Spello
- 5. Orvieto
- 6. Spoleto
- 7. Todi
- 8. Valfabbrica
- 9. Bevagna
- 10. Castiglione del Lago
- 11. Cascia
- Map: The best towns in Umbria to visit
The best towns in Umbria Italy
Perugia is the capital city of Perugia, an important university city in Italy, and the chocolate capital of Italy.
Perugia is renowned for its universities: the University of Perugia and the University for Foreigners in Perugia (L’Università per Stranieri di Perugia). University for Foreigners in Perugia provides top-quality Italian language and culture classes for foreigners. So, if you wish to learn Italian in Italy, consider Perugia.
As a university city, Perugia is arguably the most welcoming town in Umbria. Perugia is also a town with the most vibrant atmosphere and the best nightlife in Umbria. As the regional capital, Perugia has the best connections with other places in Umbria. Perugia has an airport which serves the region. For its location and connections with the rest of the region, Perugia is a good base for exploring the rest of Umbria.
Perugia is home to the National Gallery of Umbria, a museum with outstanding art collections (such as masterpieces of Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio, Raphael, Bernini, etc.). The heart of Perugia is the Piazza IV Novembre Square with the Fontana Maggiore, a medieval masterpiece fountain. The 11th-century Palazzo dei Priori and the 15th-century Perugia Cathedral stand on the sides of the Piazza IV Novembre Square. Both of them (the Palazzo dei Priori and the Cathedral of St Laurence) are must-see in Perugia. Perugia was an Etruscan town between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC. Today, visitors can see the Etruscan Walls, Etruscan Arch, Porta Marzia, the Etruscan Well, etc.
However, my favorite place in Perugia is the 14th-century Church of St Herculanus (Chiesa of Sant’Ercolano), the patron saint of Perugia. The beauty of its fresco is mind-blowing!
Perugia was a papal residency in the 13th century. Rocca Paolina is a Renaissance fortress that once stood as a symbol of papal power and is a symbol of Perugia today.
Besides its history and art, Perugia is famous for its Baci chocolate. Baci chocolate from Perugia is an iconic Italian chocolate and a must-try in Perugia. Touring the iconic Baci chocolate factory in Perugia is a must-do for all chocoholics and one of the best things to do in Umbria.
Best tours in Perugia
Where to stay in Perugia
Assisi is the most visited town in Umbria. Assisi is a famous pilgrimage town in Italy since St Francis of Assisi (the saint patron of Italy and the founder of the Catholic Franciscan Orders) was born, lived, and buried in Assisi.
The tomb of St Francis of Assisi is in the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, famed for its breathtaking frescoes. The Basilica of St Francis of Assisi in Assisi is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has the masterpiece frescoes of Giotto and Cimabue (the two of the greatest Italian artists of the early Renaissance art).
Not only the tomb of St Francis of Assisi is Assisi. The tomb of St. Claire of Assisi (the founder of the Catholic Order of Poor Claires) is in Assisi. The tomb of blessed Carlo Acutis (a beatified millennial boy who documented online 136 Eucharistic miracles) is in Assisi, too.
Assisi is a famous Italian town of Catholic saints. The most popular sites to see in Assisi are its churches related to the saints from Assisi: the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, Basilica of Saint Claire, Cathedral of San Rufino, Santa Maria degli Angeli, San Damiano, the New Church (built on the site where St Francis was born), and the church of Rivotorto.
However, Assisi is not only a famous pilgrimage town for devout Catholics but one of the most beautiful medieval Italian towns.
Assisi is a gorgeous historic town in Umbria. The ancient cobbled streets of Assisi and its medieval walls take the visitors back to the Middle Ages. Rocca Maggiore, a medieval fortress and another must-see site in Assisi, overlooks the city with panoramic views of the Umbria valley.
However, Assisi has the Umbrian, Etruscan, and Roman past. The temple of Minerva is a Roman building in the heart of the old town and a must-see sight in Assisi.
Assisi is also a great place to make it as a base when exploring Umbria by car. Assisi is 25 km from Perugia, 50 km from Gubbio, 13 km from Spello, and 45 km from Spoleto.
Best tours in Assisi
Assisi: Private Walking Tour with St. Francis Basilica
Assisi: Ape Calessino Panoramic Vintage Tour
Assisi: Hot Air Balloon Ride with Breakfast & Wine Tasting – Assisi is a top destination in the world for hot air balloon rides
Treasure Hunt & Wine Tasting – a fabulous truffle hunting tour in Assisi
Where to stay in Assisi
Gubbio is the best-preserved medieval town in Umbria. While Perugia and Assisi are touristy towns in Umbria, Gubbio is far from tourist crowds. Gubbio is the most authentic major town in Umbria.
Gubbio is my favorite town in Umbria. Its unique medieval charm is unbeatable. The dark grey stone buildings, Gothic architecture, and ancient winding streets reveal its medieval past.
The 14th-century Palazzo dei Console, Palazzo Ducale, Gubbio Cathedral, and the medieval churches (like the 16th-century Basilica of Sant’Ubaldo) are the most popular sites in Gubbio.
Besides them, the bird cage-like funicular that goes up to the top of Monte Ingino is one of the popular attractions in Gubbio.
Gubbio was an ancient Umbrian town called Iguvium, which became a Roman municipium in the 2nd century BC. From the Roman times, you can still see remains of the Roman theatre in Gubbio.
Gubbio became a powerful town in Umbria in the Middle Ages. To demonstrate its past power, let me say that Gubbio sent 1,000 nights to the First Crusader War.
Today, Gubbio is known for its famous Race of the Saints, an annual festival held on May 15. The Race of Saints in Umbria, with its tradition of more than 800 years, is the most visited festival in Umbria. About 50,000 people attend the festival each year.
Besides that, Gubbio is known for a long tradition of producing ceramics. The ceramics that I saw in Gubbio were some of the most beautiful I have found in Italy. Want to buy a souvenir from Gubbio? Get some lovely ceramics!
Gubbio is about 40 km from Perugia and about 50 km from Assisi.
Where to stay in Gubbio
Boson Palace – a 4-star with an excellent location in the heart of the historic center of Gubbio
Spello is the most beautiful small town in Umbria. Charming Spello is the most romantic town in Umbria. Cute Spello in Umbria is on the list of the Il Borghi Piu Belli d’Italia.
Spello is a tiny medieval walled town with a Roman past. The most famous site in Spello is the Baglioni Chapel within Santa Mario Maggiore church. The Chapel has the extraordinary Pinturicchio frescoes. However, this cute small town in Umbria is best known for its Flowers Festival (Il’ Inforate), during which over 60 flower carpets cover the streets. The Flowers Festival honors the Corpus Domini holiday. The flowery Spello streets are the most beautifully decorated in Umbria. The flowery streets of Spello reminded me of the flowery streets in Iznjar and Cordoba in southern Spain.
If you are traveling to Umbria as a couple, romantic Spello is a great place to base yourselves in Umbria. Spello is serene, beautiful, adorable, idyllic and romantic!
Spello is 13 km from Assisi, 19 km from Trevi, 30 km from Perugia, and 35 km from Spoleto.
Where to stay in Spello
La Residenza Dei Cappuccini – a beautiful apartment with a lovely patio with a table and chairs in the historic center of Spello
Orvieto is one of the most beautiful hilltop towns in Umbria. The cliff-standing Orvieto is the most picturesque town in Umbria. This medieval Umbrian town stands on a volcanic tuff, while a vast maze of tunnels and caves are under the historic center.
Etruscans found it, but Orvieto expanded in the Middle Ages when it became a refuge for five popes. The Papal Palace of Orvieto adjoins the Cathedral of Orvieto, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy. The magnificent Orvieto Cathedral is a landmark of the town. The interiors of the Cathedral of Orvieto in Umbria and the Cathedral of Siena in Tuscany are similar. White-grey stripes of white travertine and grey basalt are the dominant features of the interior.
The Cathedral’s Chapel of St. Britius has masterpiece frescoes by Beato Angelico, Benzolo Bozzoli, and Luca Signorelli. The Chapel is a top-visited site in Orvieto. Besides the Cathedral, Orvieto underground, with its over 1,200 tunnels, caves, cisterns, cellars, and passageways, is among the most spectacular sites in Orvieto. The 53-meter St Patrick’s Well is another must-see in Orvieto. It was built in the 16th century to secure the water supply to Orvieto. It has 248 steps and 70 windows and is among the most fascinating sights in Orvieto.
Orvieto is about 120 km from Rome. Therefore, Orvieto is a popular day trip from Rome.
Orvieto is about 40 km from Todi, 77 km from Perugia, 80 km from Spoleto, 80 km from Spello, and 90 km from Assisi.
Best tours in Orvieto
Where to stay in Orvieto, Umbria
Hotel Palazzo Piccolomini – a 4-star hotel, stunningly decorated with Medieval, Etruscan, and Renaissance elements, in the historic center of Orvieto.
Spoleto is another picturesque hilltop town in Umbria. To reach the hilltop town, you need to take a public escalator (the same is the case with Orvieto). The public escalator goes up to Rocca Albornoziana, a 14th-century fortress that overlooks the town and the Umbrian valley.
The most famous landmark of Spoleto is the Cathedral of St. Maria Assunta. The Cathedral has been in many movies and TV series because of its stunning architecture. The Cathedral of St. Maria Assunta in Spoleto also has marvelous frescoes by Fillip Lippi and Pinturicchio. A 13th-century Aqueduct and the 1st-century Roman Amphitheater are other two must-see sites in Spoleto.
The historic center of Spoleto is one of the most charming places in Umbria. Piazzas, palaces, lovely restaurants, and pretty shops fill the historical center. Spoleto is still somewhat off-the-beaten-track in Umbria. Thus, the town retained its authentic charm. Spoleto is one of the most authentic towns in Umbria! Visiting Spoleto means immersing yourself in authentic Umbria.
Spoleto is one hour and a half from Rome. Spoleto is 47 km from Assisi, 65 km from Perugia and 80 km from Orvieto.
Best tour of Spoleto
Cascia Spoleto Guided Day Trip from Rome -a popular day trip from Rome
Where to stay in Spoleto
Palazzo Leti Residenza d’Epoca -a 13th century palace with wonderful rooms and a gorgeous garden
Todi is a hidden gem of Umbria. Todi is a monumental medieval town that overlooks the Tiber River and the Umbrian plain with olive groves, sunflower fields, and rolling hills. Todi appears stuck in the Middle Ages. Todi is far away from tourist crowds.
Piazza del Popolo, the main square in Todi, is one of the most photogenic piazzas in Umbria, along with Piazza del Duomo in Spoleto and Piazza IV Novembre in Perugia. Two 13th-century palaces (Palazzo del Capitalo and Palazzo dei Priori) and the Romanesque Gothic Cathedral of Todi stand on the main square. However, the most photographed place in Todi is the frescoes-covered interior of the Nunziata church. The church is nicknamed the Little Sistine Chapel of Todi.
In addition, Todi has the tiniest theatre in the world. The Concordia Theater has only 99 seats. The Concordia Theatre in Todi is a popular wedding place in Umbria!
The Renessiance-style Santa Maria della Consolazione church in Todi is one of the most elegant churches in Umbria. Bramante (one of the most famous Italian High Renaissance architects) is believed to be the chief architect of the church.
Todi had a strategic location in the past. Todi is halfway between Spoleto and Orvieto in Umbria. Todi is also halfway between the town of Perugia and Terni in Umbria.
Todi is 45 from Perugia, and 44 km from Terni. Todi is 37 km from Orvieto and 46 km from Spoleto.
Best tour of Todi
Where to stay in Todi
B&B Porta Nuova – a cozy B&B in a top location in Todi
Relais Todini – a superb historic property and a 5-star hotel, 7 km from Todi and in the heart of Umbria. If you are on an Umbria road trip, this is a perfect stay in the heart of Umbria!
Valfabbrica is one of the most authentic small towns in Umbria. It has a perfect location in Umbria. Valfabbrica is close to Assisi, Perugia, and Gubbio. Perugia, Assisi, and Gubbio had disputes in the past over the territory of Valfabbrica.
This historic medieval town is the last stop on the Camino di San Francesco (the Camino goes from La Verna sanctuary in Tuscany via Assisi in Umbria to Rome).
Valfabbrica is one of the cutest medieval towns in Umbria. This off-the-beaten-track town in Umbria is one of the most serene places in Umbria and a hidden gem of Umbria. For the same reasons, I chose Valfabricca for my base on my Umbria road trip. Its convenient location is perfect for reaching Perugia, Assisi, Gubbio, and other towns in Umbra comfortably.
The 13th-century walls encircle the historic center of the town, where you can find a medieval castle with a tower, ancient alleys, narrow tunnels, and the 16th-century church of San Sebastian. The adjoining Franciscan monastery is today a budget-friendly B&B. Locanda Francescana B&B is a popular accommodation among Camino di San Francesco pilgrims.
The medieval Giomici Castle is 7 km from the town of Valfabbrica in the Valfabricca municipality. The 11th-century Giomici Castel is a beautiful hotel that recalls medieval times. Giomici Castle is well-positioned in Umbria. It is 14 km from Assisi, 14 km from Perugia International Airport, and 18 km from Gubbio. It is a perfect base for traveling to Umbria and an excellent value for money.
Valfabrica is 17 km from Assisi, 25 km from Perugia and 32 km from Gubbio.
Where to stay in Valfabbrica
Locanda Francescana – a budget-friendly stay in a former Franciscan monastery with a garden and a restaurant in the historic part of Valfabbrica. A good value for money!
Bevagna is on the list of the most beautiful small towns in Italy (I Borgi piu belli da’italia).
This small Umbrian town is valued for its cultural and artistic heritage. Bevagna lies in the heart of Umbria, halfway between Perugia and Spoleto and near Spello and Assisi.
It is an intact medieval small town with encircling town walls, gates, towers, churches, piazzas, and palazzos. The majority of the architecture belongs to the 12th and 13th centuries. The heart of the town is Piazza Silvestri with the 13th-century Palazzo dei Cosoli, the 12th-century San Silvestro church, and the 12th-century San Michele Arcangelo church. There are also a few other churches in the town, among which the 13th-century San Francesco church is the most famous. San Francesco church in Bevagna holds the stone on which St Francis of Assisi gave his famous Sermon to the Birds in the nearby village of Pian d’Arca.
Charming Bevagna is a favorite weekend gateway of Umbrians. If you are visiting Umbria by car, Bevagna is a well-worth stop on a road trip. Bevagna is close to Spello and Assisi.
Bevagna is about 10 km from Spello, 22 km from Assisi, 30 km from Spoleto, and 35 km from Perugia.
Where to stay in Bevagna
Ostello Bello Assisi Bevagna – is a wonderful budget-friendly stay in a historic 10th-century building, with an outdoor swimming pool, breakfast, and free parking. It is 2.8 km from the historic center of Bevagna, a 20-minute drive from Assisi, and a 40-minute drive from Perugia. It is a perfect base for road-tripping in Umbria.
10. Castiglione del Lago
Castiglione del Lago is another member of the most beautiful small towns in Italy association.
This fortified medieval town stands on a tiny limestone hill on the western shore of Lake Trasimeno.
Castiglone del Lago is close to Tuscany. For instance, Cortona is only 20 minutes from Castiglione del Lago, and Montepulciano is a 30-minute drive from Castiglione del Lago.
The historic center of Castiglione del Lago is 300 m above sea level, overlooking the lake. There are a few observation points with panoramic views of the lake and countryside within the historical center. The modern part of the town is at the lake level with a large lake promenade and beaches.
The historic center is within medieval walls. Within the historic walls are the Lion Fortress (Rocca del Leone) and the Palace of Corgna Family (Palazzo della Corgna, the landmarks of Castiglione del Lago. The Lion Fortress is a medieval polygonal fortress with four towers and gorgeous lake views. The entrance is free. So, don’t miss out on checking it out.
The 16th-century Palace of Corgna Family is another landmark of Castiglione del Lago. The palace has marvelous ceiling paintings and murals and is a must-see for history and art lovers.
The walled historic center is full of bars, shops, restaurants, and trattorias. Shops sell local produce, most notably olive oil and wines. Castiglione del Lago si a member of Italia Association of Wine and Oil Cities. Because of the proximity of Tuscan, the shops and bars offer Umbrian and Tuscan produce and dishes.
There are three small islands on the Lake Trasimeno. Two of them you can visit by ferry from Castiglione del Lago.
Castiglione del Lago is a favorite weekend gateway and vacation place for history buffs, nature lovers, swimmers, cyclists, hikers… Hike the trails, swim, and kayak in Trasimeno Lake, enjoy delicious local food and you will have one of the top vacations of your life!
Where to stay in Castiglione del Lago
Palazzo Barbini – a historic palace with fabulously decorated spacious rooms on the main street in Castiglione del Lago
Cascia is a somewhat remote hilltop in Umbria. However, Cascia is one of the top visited places in Umbria.
Cascia is a famous pilgrimage town in Umbria because of St Rita of Cascia, a Catholic saint and a miracle worker. Santa Rita is popularly called ‘the Saint of Impossible’. Faithful Catholics testify answered prayers and miraculous turnovers of impossible causes due to intercessions of St. Rita.
Her intact body rests in the Basilica of St. Rita of Cascia, in Cascia. The church and the convent where she lived as an Augustinian nun are among the top visited sites in Umbria.
Cascia is 48 km from Spoleto, 74 km from Perugia, and 86 km from Assisi. Cascia is 140 km from Rome. Cascia and Assisi, as some of the most famous Italian pilgrimage towns, are often visited on a day trip from Rome.
Best day trips to Cascia from Rome
Where to stay in Cascia
Hotel Monte Meraviglia – a wonderful 3-star hotel, 300 m from the Basilica of St Rita of Cascia.
Map: The best towns in Umbria to visit
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