Italiaoutdoors Travel Guide to Italy

Perugia Province | Umbria Region

Guide To the Perugia Province

Perugia Province, umbria region

Where to Go and What to See in the Perugia Province

Montefalco Umbria the Sagrantino Wine Country The Old Roman Town of Bevagna, Italy The Pottery Town of Deruta Umbria The Town of Gubbio, Umbria Region

What to Do In the Perugia Province

Eat, Drink, and Sleep in the Perugia Province

Read more: Travel Guide to the Perugia Province

Montefalco Umbria the Sagrantino Wine Country

Bike Tour Umbria Montefalcone, Umbria


Famous for its Sagrantino wine and its site (Montefalco means Falcon's Mountain), this village is dubbed the "Balcony of Umbria" for its expansive views. Intact medieval walls surround the town. Perched atop a hill overlooking the Spoleto valley, Montefalco is a great bike ride up with breathtaking views in every direction. Its slopes are dotted with ancient olive groves, vineyards producing the famous local wine, and stone villas with a rewarding old village waiting at the top to be discovered.

Montefalco is a starfish: the 12th-century town was entered through five gates, each one associated with a parish church, each one giving onto a lane that leads up to a (more or less) five-sided piazza at the town's highest point.

Though smaller than Spello, Montefalco feels equally lived-in. Known as "the balcony of Umbria" because of its lofty position and views over the fertile plain below, the town keeps itself busy as the centre of the sagrantino wine zone. It also has a tradition of woven linen and linen-cotton, kept alive today by the Pardi family, which has two outlets in town, at Corso Mameli 10 and Via Ringhiera Umbra 25 (there's also one in Spello, on Corso Cavour 5).

THINGS TO SEE IN MONTEFALCO

The Museo Civico San Francesco displays frescoes by Gozzoli (Fra Angelico's pupil) of the Life of St. Francis. There is no TI, but the people at the museum can answer questions.

GETTING TO MONTEFALCO

A few buses a day run to Bevagna.

The Pottery Town of Deruta Umbria

Bike Touring Umbria Deruta, Italy

Pottery-lovers the world over start to salivate when the name Deruta is mentioned. Colorful Deruta pottery, considered to be Italy's best, features designs popular since Renaissance times. The high-quality local clay attracted artisans centuries ago, and today artists still practice their craft.

WHAT TO SEE

Deruta is actually two towns: the upper hill town and the lower strip. The upper town, full of small shops run by local artisans, warrants a wander; prices and quality are higher up here.

Ceramic fans drop by the Museo Regionale della Ceramica (closed Tue), in the upper town, next to the TI on the main square. Below, a commercial strip parallel to the superstrada is lined with larger commercial outlets and factories. Many offer demonstrations of their time-honored craft. Prices are about one-third cheaper than in the United States, and most will ship your purchases home with a guarantee of safe delivery.

GETTING THERE

Buses connect Deruta with Perugia.

The Old Roman Town of Bevagna, Italy

Bike Tour Umbria, Bevagna, Italy

Bevagna is a relaxed town south of Assisi has Roman ruins, interesting churches, and more. Locals offer their guiding services for free (usually Italian-speaking only) and are excited to show visitors their town.

WHAT TO SEE IN BEVAGNA

Bevagna differs from the other two points of this Valle Umbra triangle in being essentially a valley town. It lies close to the course of the Teverone river, which was channelled into the photogenic mill races and ponds that can be seen just outside the eastern stretch of the imposing town walls. On a branch of the Via Flaminia, Bevagna was at least as important as Spello in Roman times; Agrippina, Nero's mother, had a villa here, and the area's fertile agricultural lands were famous for their cattle farms (today it is wine and olives that dominate – though Cannara, just to the north, is famous for its onions).

Sleepy Bevagna seems to struggle to fill the area within its walls: but this is all a part of its charm. The town's fitful, slow-motion development after its Roman high-water mark gave rise to an organic urban fabric, in which the past was reused rather than removed. Layers of history coexist. The town's best-concealed Roman-era sight lies underneath a modern building in Via di Porta Guelfa. Sea monsters, a beautifully detailed lobster and a crazy octopus designed on the mosaic floor of a second-century-AD baths complex (entrance is via the combined Museo Civico ticket, which also takes in Bevagna's cute little 19th-century theatre).

Bevagna's other essential sights are San Michele Arcangelo and San Silvestro, the two Romanesque churches that face each other across the intact medieval main square, Piazza Silvestri. Both are fascinating, but my favourite is San Silvestro; its utter lack of adornment and steeply raised presbytery radiate a stern purity.

Get a map at the TI on Piazza Silvestri (daily 9:30-12:30 & 15:00-19:00, tel. 0742-361-667) and wander. Highlights are the Roman mosaics, remains of the arena that now houses a paper-making workshop, the Romanesque church of San Silvestro, and a gem of a 19th-century theater. Bevagna has all the elements of a hill town except one: a hill. You can see the main sights easily in a couple of hours.

WHERE TO STAY IN BEVAGNA

For an overnight stay, consider the fancy Hotel Palazzo Brunamonti (Db-€75-86, more for a superior room, air-con, Corso Matteotti 79, tel. 0742-361-932, fax 0742-361-948).

GETTING TO BEVAGNA

Bevagna can be reached by bus from Foligno.

The Town of Gubbio, Umbria Region

Bike Tour Umbria Gubbio Italy

This lovely town sits on the side of Monte Ingino in northeast Umbria.

WHAT TO SEE

Tuesday is market day, when Piazza 40 Martiri (named for 40 local martyrs shot by the Nazis) bustles. Nearby, the ruins of the Roman amphitheater are perfect for a picnic. Head up Via della Repubblica to reach the main square with the imposing Palazzo dei Consoli. Further up, Via San Gerolamo leads to A lift that will carry you up the hill in two-person "baskets" foA stunning view from the top, where the basilica of St. Ubaldo is worth a look.

GETTING THERE

Buses run to Perugia, Rome, and Florence. The TI is at Piazza Odersi 6 (tel. 075-922-0693).

OUTDOOR RECREATION NEARBY

Pale Rock Climbing Site

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