6 Reasons to Visit Umbria Instead of Tuscany

March 7, 2024

visit umbria instead of tuscany

You must have noticed how every part of Italy feels like an extraordinary world. Although it’s not a big country, each region has its own story filled with history, art, culture, and delicious food.

Now, imagine two neighboring regions – Umbria and Tuscany – both stunning but with their unique charm.

At first glance, they might seem pretty similar with their rolling hills, medieval towns, and stunning landscapes.  However, each has its own culture and history and offers a unique experience to its visitors.

You’re likely already familiar with Tuscany and its world-famous cities such as Florence, Siena, and Pisa. However, not many people have heard of its neighboring region Umbria, also known as ‘’The Green Heart of Italy.’’ And that’s one of the things that makes Umbria unique. It’s an unexplored gem that offers an authentic off-the-beaten-path experience. 

Still not convinced? Keep reading as we uncover 6 reasons why you should visit  Umbria instead of Tuscany. 

1. Umbria has the highest concentration of medieval towns in Italy

Umbria has the greatest number of medieval towns in Italy. 

It has a collection of picturesque hill towns that are easy to explore. Towns like Assisi, Orvieto, Gubbio, Todi, Perugia, and Spoleto offer an authentic cultural experience. Exploring even more profoundly you’ll find smaller places like Montefalco, Bevagna, Spello, Rasiglia, Civita di Bagnoregio, and more. One that particularly stands out is Civita di Bagnoregio, a medieval hilltop village perched atop rugged cliffs and only accessible by a pedestrian bridge.

So, if you love history and medieval architecture, Umbria is the perfect place for you!

2. Umbria is unspoiled while Tuscany is very touristy

Tuscany has many beautiful towns, but they are often crowded with tourists, especially in famous places like Florence and Siena. Even the smaller towns in Tuscany get more visitors than the well-known spots in Umbria.

Umbria is different. It’s a quieter, untouched place where you can explore hidden gems without big crowds. It feels like a secret because not many people know about it. Umbria has cities like Perugia and Assisi, with a lot of history-filled streets.

You can also enjoy the calmness of less-known places like Spello and Orvieto. These towns feel like time has stopped, and they are a nice break from the busy tourist spots in Tuscany. In Umbria, the charm lies in finding undiscovered places and feeling like you’ve found a paragon.

3. Umbria has impressive culture and art

If you have a passion for art, you will be impressed by the Umbrian churches which showcase some of Italy’s finest paintings. In Assisi, The Basilica of Saint Francis, a pilgrimage site for Christians and art lovers, features works by renowned painters like Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, Simone Martini, and Giotto.

In Perugia, a Perugia Città Museo pass grants access to the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, home to masterpieces by Piero della Francesca, Perugino, and more, along with four other art sites.

Umbria has stunning views, just like Tuscany, with olive groves, vineyards, hills covered with cypress trees, and tall mountains like the Sibillini Mountains. The region’s countryside is like a peaceful painting that complements its rich culture.

Besides its towns, tasty truffles, and famous cypress trees, Umbria is known as “Mystical Umbria” or the “Land of Saints.” Many saints, like St. Valentino and the founders of Western monasticism, St. Francesco and St. Benedetto, were born here. Umbria’s spiritual and mystical feeling adds an extra layer of meaning to its cultural and natural beauty.

4. Both Umbria and Tuscany have excellent wines

Tuscany is famous for its wines like Chianti and Brunello, but Umbria, although it’s a less-known region, has some hidden assets made by smaller but equally good wine producers. Its wine is recognized throughout the world.

You might like the Orvieto DOC white wine from the region’s special white grape or the Rosso di Montefalco, a rich red made from Sangiovese grapes. And let’s not forget the iconic Sagrantino di Montefalco. 

This red wine, made only from native Sagrantino grapes is a symbol of Umbria’s winemaking tradition, and if you store it properly, it can be enjoyed for up to 30 years. It’s an excellent choice for those who love the finest and long-lasting wines.

So, even though Tuscany gets a lot of attention, Umbria has its vineyards waiting for you to explore and discover some fantastic wines with great flavors.

5. Umbria offers a more authentic local experience

Umbria, a less-traveled region of Italy, offers visitors a more authentic local experience. You can easily connect with the friendly locals because there are not as many people around as in Tuscany. 

With fewer crowds, you can explore the pretty flower-filled streets and chat with locals at a lovely café or a small family restaurant. These conversations will help you learn about the local culture and you might discover some hidden places only locals know about. 

6. Umbria is the happiest region in Italy

Umbria stands out from Tuscany in its unique way. A recent study by “Il Sole 24 Ore,” Italy’s top economic newspaper shows that Umbria is the happiest region in Italy.

Unlike Tuscany, which is overcrowded with tourists, Umbria is unspoiled and both locals and visitors can enjoy a slow pace of life. 

So, if you’re looking for an untouched place where happiness thrives, Umbria is the perfect choice for your next Italian vacation. 

The hidden medieval towns, friendly locals, and the region’s slower pace of life are just some of the reasons to visit Umbria instead of Tuscany. With fewer tourists and a focus on authenticity, Umbria is a unique destination that allows you to immerse in the local culture and enjoy the beauty of Italy more peacefully and genuinely. So, if you’re looking for a more authentic, local, and off-the-beaten-path experience, don’t hesitate and visit Umbria.

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