Umbria Things to Do
Umbria is not only a gorgeous region, but also a region boasting a variety of immersive, exciting, and lively activities to enjoy. No matter what time of year travelers visit, they will find something interesting and unique to experience.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
One of the biggest festivals in Umbria is the ancient tradition of Festa dei Ceri. Held on May 15th each year in Gubbio, this event has been enjoyed since the 12th century. The town enjoys feasting as well as a race through the city streets. Designated males carry large pedestals during the race, on which stand statues of St. Ubaldo, St. George, and St. Anthony. Meant to represent candles, these pedestals are carried to the top of Mount Ingino. Visitors to the festival will enjoy the exciting and lively fun.
In Foligno, a must-see is the Giostra della Quintana (Joust of the Quintana) – a bi-annual horse race during which riders must use a joust to skewer rings. The night before the event, the town is taken back in time with a Historical Parade featuring locals dressed in wonderful Baroque costumes.
Held each June to July in Spoleto, the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds) is a must-see for travelers. This annual Summer festival features art of all kinds – including live music concerts, dance performances, theatre, visual art performances, and scientific roundtable discussions. Also known as the Spoleto Festival, this world-famous event takes place in the old city center.
By far the most well-known festival Umbria hosts is the annual Umbria Jazz Festival. Known worldwide as one of the most important jazz events, the festival began in 1973 and has continued ever since to bring premiere musicians from around the globe together for an incredible musical experience. Usually held, during summer, in Perugia, this festival became so popular that also a winter version is now held in Orvieto.
Umbria is most well-known for its vegetation, hence its common nickname as the “Green Heart of Italy.” Its dense woods and lush flora stretches out along the region’s hills and valleys giving travelers the opportunity to experience crop-focused seasonal activities, much like Tuscany.
With ample olive groves, vineyards, and mushroom growth, participating in picking and harvesting during the right time of year can be enriching and fun. Umbria also features multiple truffle picking periods throughout the year for visitors to take part in.
With so much untouched, pristine, and wild landscape, Umbria is the ideal region to enjoy outdoor activities with family and friends.
For adrenaline junkies, the incredible Marmora Falls offer ample opportunity to experience the rush of kayaking, rafting, or tubing. Horseback riders or ATV enthusiasts will enjoy trekking the region’s untamed forests around Lake Trasimeno and Perugia. Hunting can also be experienced in that area. Biking in the Umbrian countryside is another way to take in the breathtaking views and natural green landscape.
To bring home a souvenir, travelers can shop throughout Umbria and experience the local artisans’ work up close.
In Umbria, there is a pottery route from Orvieto to Gubbio, passing through Deruta, where pottery lovers can browse, enjoy, and purchase pottery styles of all kinds – including majolica and terracotta. Deruta is known worldwide for its pottery masters who truly view pottery as art. Pottery workshops in Deruta preserve old rituals and traditions, including apprentices who spend years learning from their masters to create one-of-a-kind pieces.
Throughout the region, travelers can also enjoy traditional embroidery. Various, time-honored techniques are used on all different types of fabrics. The tradition is so honored in Umbria that the Museo del Merletto (Museum of Embroidery) can be found on the island of Maggiore on the Trasimeno Lake.
Another key export from Umbria is cashmere. The location of many high-quality cashmere factories, workshops, and artists, the region is the perfect place to invest in the luxurious fabric.
For travelers more interested in history and architecture than sporting activities, Umbria is a treasure trove of sightseeing and indoor activities.
Umbrian people have a long history with and deep appreciation for art. One of Italy’s most well-respected art schools, the Umbrian school, taught some of art’s greatest – including Raphael and Perugino. Travelers can browse the many frescoes and paintings all over the region. The area boasts many famous museums which focus on everything from art to archeology and beyond, including the National Gallery of Umbria in Perugia, the Civic Museum of Palazzo dei Consoli in Gubbio, the Archeologic Museum of Spoleto, and the Museum of the Castle of Alviano.
As for sightseeing, there are countless churches, palaces, cathedrals, and more to take in throughout Umbria. Some of the most popular sites include the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, the Duomo of Orvieto, Priori palace in Perugia, and the Cathedral of Spoleto.
For travelers exploring Umbria with their family, one of the best locales to visit is Lake Trasimeno. This gorgeous area allows every member of the family some special opportunities. From water activities such as boating and windsurfing to hiking paths to simply relaxing on the beach, there is something for everyone. Towns on the lake like Passignano and Castiglione as well as the lake’s island, Maggiore, offer even more experiences for the whole family.
If traveling to Umbria with kids, visit the Fabbrica Cioccolato Perugina, the museum of the historic Perugina Chocolate Factory. The museum features labs where master chocolatiers create decadent delights, samples of the highest quality chocolate, and a variety of priceless memorabilia, so kids will feel like they are in the Italian version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
Throughout Umbria are a variety of completely one-of-a-kind experiences that can only be had in this special region.
For chocolate lovers, there is no more unique experience than the Eurochocolate Festival in Perugia. The biggest chocolate event in Europe, this festival celebrates chocolate as more than just a sweet treat. It is hailed as an artform and essential part of European culture. Streets become filled with artisan chocolatiers serving up their concoctions, sculptors carving giant chocolate blocks, and a countless number of chocolate varieties for sampling.
Other incredible and unique experiences throughout Umbria include: visit Assisi, a worldwide pilgrimage site and the birthplace and burial location of famed St. Francis. The city of Assisi is filled with beautiful architecture and religious significance.
Make time to visit the Castle of Spoleto – an astonishing castle that is the focus of the town.
Travel to Castelluccio during Spring, where nature lovers will delight in the breathtaking natural scenery and stunning fields of freshly bloomed flowers along the town’s gorgeous walking paths.
See the second highest waterfall in Italy – Cascata delle Marmore – which features hiking paths to reach the three different levels of the falls.