With the exception of Assisi, the hilltowns of Umbria are much less crowded with tourists than those in Tuscany. And yet they offer just as much in the way of art, food, shopping, and views. The word for Umbria is authenticity.
Arrive and get settled in the house.
Get to know the nearby villages: food shops, local trattorie, etc. Towns like Montecchio, Guardea, Amelia, Baschi, and Lugnano in Teverina.
Orvieto, one of Italy’s most beautiful hilltowns. Not just the cathedral but the whole place.
Three gorgeous Umbrian hilltowns, quite unvisited by Americans: Lugnano, Narni, and Amelia, the last being a great place for antiquing.
The monster park at Bomarzo, great fun for adults and children alike.
Daytrip to Rome by train. Concentrate on the area around Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori, the Pantheon, and the turtle fountain.
The medieval city of Viterbo and, nearby, one of Italy’s most famous gardens, the Villa Lante.
The town of Tuscania, including two of the most evocative Romanesque churches in Italy, followed by a visit to the garden of the Palazzo Farnese at Caprarola.
The Cascate delle Marmore, spectacular waterfalls not far from Terni.
Climb up to the top of the unspoiled hilltown of Civita di Bagnoregio, featured on Rick Steves’ PBS “Travels in Europe” series. Have lunch there, followed by an afternoon at Lake Bolsena.
Take the backroads to visit two of Umbria’s most famous hilltowns: Spoleto and Todi.
A day in Montefalco, Bevagna, Spello, and Trevi, four particularly evocative hilltowns grouped together in central Umbria.
Another day in Rome, beginnning at the Campidoglio and proceeding by foot through the Forum all the way to the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine. Lunch near the Colosseum, followed by one of Rome’s most delightful walks, along Via San Giovanni in Laterano to the church of San Clemente; then up Via Santi Quattro to the church of the same name; finally continuing on Via Santi Quattro to the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano for the incredibly theatrical facade, immense interior, and delightful cloister.
Montepulciano, Pienza, San Quirico, and Montalcino, four additional beautiful hilltowns in southernmost Tuscany.