Off the Beaten Path in Umbria: A Cultural Experience with Raro

May 26, 2023

Off the Beaten Path in Umbria | Travel Raro

Raro is all about exploring hidden gems and immersing ourselves in local culture, and our 10-day off the beaten path in Umbria trip was no exception.

Our journey started in Rome, where we spent two days traveling like locals, exploring hidden gems of the Eternal City and indulging in delicious food and wine. From visiting the incredible Domus Aurea, considered one of the most extravagant constructions in the history of Rome, to trying all the local specialties in Tratoria Cadorna, a family-run local restaurant – Rome was the perfect place to prepare ourselves for our Umbrian adventure.

Exploring Medieval Towns of Umbria

Umbria is a hidden gem of Italy, full of medieval towns many tourists have yet to hear of. From flower-filled streets to colorful buildings and ancient walls, each town has its unique charm. During our visit, we went off the beaten path and explored some of the most beautiful historical towns, such as Spello, Orvieto, Perugia, di Civita Bagnoregio, and more.

Civita di Bagnoregio

Known as ‘’Dying Town’’ because of its location on top of a hill that is slowly eroding away, Civita di Bagnoregio is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. This fairy tale village is only reachable by a pedestrian bridge, which leads up a rocky hill.

We visited a local trattoria (a family-run restaurant that serves traditional food), where we indulged in local specialties and exquisite wine. After lunch, we had plenty of time to wander its cobblestone streets on our own and admire its ancient buildings. And the view from the cliffside was spectacular.

Orvieto

Nestled in the heart of Umbria lies a hidden gem often overlooked by tourists – Orvieto. This beautiful hilltop town boasts a magnificent Duomo cathedral, one of Europe’s greatest examples of Gothic architecture.

Our knowledgeable local guide took us to St. Patrick’s Well, a 16th-century aqueduct built to provide water to the town’s citizens all year round and in case of calamity or siege. 

After exploring Orvieto’s historical sites, we visited one of the traditional restaurants and enjoyed local food and wine. Thanks to our local host, who knows the best places to eat in the town, we dined at a unique Le Grotte del Funaro restaurant in a cave dug by hand. The food was traditional but prepared with unusual combinations of flavors: truffles, porcini mushrooms, game, and a variety of seafood. The wine list was well stocked with excellent wines from the owner’s private cellar. We had way too much food and wine and ended the night with a drink in a local bar. 

Our two days in Orvieto were filled with captivating history, rich culture, and a lot of delicious food and wine.

Spello

Spello is considered to be one of the most beautiful and picturesque towns in Umbria. We were fortunate enough to stay in Spello for 5 days at the Bastiglia Hotel & Spa, housed in a 17th-century building that was once a mill. All our rooms had fantastic views of the surrounding landscape. 

We also had the pleasure of dining at one of the Michelin restaurants, tasting some of the region’s finest wines and olive oils, and relaxing in the hotel spa.

Assisi

Assisi is a charming town known for being the birthplace of St. Francis, one of Italy’s patron saints. The impressive Basilica di St.Francesco d’Assisi stands tall as a tribute to the saint who lived here over 800 years ago. It houses incredible frescoes and paintings that are comparable to any museum collection. We enjoyed learning about his life and the history of the church. 

After visiting the church, we had lunch at a local restaurant and drank fantastic wines from the region while enjoying breathtaking panoramic views.

Gubbio

Gubbio is the perfect destination for anyone looking to explore off-the-beaten-path in Umbria. This charming town has so much to offer beyond its famous ruins, a beautiful blend of Gothic and Roman architecture, and suspended Piazza Grande. From quaint little shops selling artisanal goods to cozy trattorias where you can savor the delicious local cuisine- Gubbio offers an authentic experience to every visitor.

Our expert local guide gave us a fascinating tour of the city’s historical sites, such as the imposing Palazzo dei Consoli and the magnificent Cathedral of Gubbio. And we enjoyed the breathtaking views from up high in the city.

Perugia

Perugia, the capital of Umbria, is a lively city with a well-preserved medieval center that provides visitors with a glimpse into Italy’s rich history. The city has a unique cosmopolitan feel thanks to many students that come from all over the world. We wandered through the winding streets and enjoyed the wonderful views of colorful buildings while immersing ourselves in the city’s rich history by visiting historical places and learning about its past from our local guide. 

Rasiglia

Rasiglia may be off the beaten path, but it’s certainly worth the visit for anyone seeking an authentic Italian experience. This medieval town has managed to maintain its historic amphitheater structure and is famous for its picturesque watercourses that wind through the streets.

We strolled through its beautiful streets and visited some artisan and souvenir shops. And when hunger struck, we stopped at Agriturismo for some delicious local cuisine and wine.

Indulging in Local Cuisine

Umbrian food is much more than pasta and pizza. This region boasts a range of traditional foods, including truffles, lentils, and wild boar. But for an authentic experience, venture off the beaten path to dine at local restaurants frequented by residents. 

We indulged in delectable meals accompanied by plenty of wine – it was hard not to overindulge! Trying new dishes and immersing ourselves in their culture made our trip unforgettable. 

Wine Tasting Experiences

Umbria is famous for its scenic vineyards and wine-tasting experiences that are off the beaten path. During our visit, we visited two family-owned wineries – Paolo Bea and Paolo and Noemia D’Amico. We tasted some requisite wines, but what stood out was the dinner at a restaurant paired with a fabulous wine-tasting experience. Needless to say, we had a lot of wine! The hospitality and passion of the local winemakers left us feeling inspired and ready to uncork our next adventure. Cheers!

Conclusion

Our off-the-beaten-path Umbria trip was an enriching experience. From wine tasting to indulging in delicious cuisine and exploring hidden gems, every moment was filled with wonder and delight. We embraced the Umbrian way of life, made lasting friendships with other travelers, and created unforgettable memories.