Top 5 Must Do's in Umbria

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1. Attend the Umbria Jazz Festival

You don’t need to be a jazz music aficionado to appreciate this open air summer concert in the hills of Umbria each July. Music fans from across the world make the pilgrimage to beautiful Perugia every year, to hear live jazz music against a backdrop of ancient ruins, medieval city walls and the River Tiber. The scenery is nothing if not dramatic, and the music is every bit as spectacular. Over the 10 day festival, there are performances from luminaries such as Herbie Hancock alongside new faces and up and coming jazz musicians.

2. Take a Walking Tour

Umbria is Italy’s most rural region, and the lush green hills, sleepy towns and villages, Roman ruins and slow pace of life make walking in Umbria an absolute joy. Set aside a few days to explore this most scenic of regions on foot, walking from town to town and from village to village, stopping at tiny guesthouses or, for those who don’t mind sleeping under canvas, camping.

3. Enjoy Umbrian Cuisine

Forget the diet. Umbrian cuisine is rich, hearty and totally delicious, and there are any number of opportunities to sample it in this rural region. From rustic tavernas to upscale restaurants, you’ll find dishes that are heavy with meat, herbs and rich tomato sauces, with pasta and hearty soups regulars on Umbrian restaurant menus. Wash it all down with a glass or two of wine, bought from one of the many small vineyards to be found in this part of Italy.

4. Visit Spoleto

History buffs, welcome to paradise. This dinky little Umbrian town has roots that can be traced back to before the Roman Empire, and the place feels somewhat like a giant open air museum. Pre-Roman ruins are dotted around the town, and life revolves around picturesque 16th Century town squares. Each June and July, the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds) sees the population swell considerably as visitors flock to the town to take in music, dance and theatre performances in a two-week spectacular.

5. Visit Assisi and the Basilica of Saint Francis

Set against a backdrop of lush green hillsides and rustic cottages, the Basilica of Saint Francis is a stunning 13th Century building built to honor the famous saint. Pilgrims have been making their way here since the 14th Century to pay their respects, but whatever your religion, the peacefulness and beauty of this Umbrian town are awe-inspiring.

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