Forget Tuscany, Umbria is the Place to Be

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Get away from the crowds with beautiful Umbria Italy!

Tuscany is great. Really it is.

We found amazing restaurants in Florence. Thought Venice was beautiful.

nd we had an epic time eating lardo in Colonnata.

But everyone knows Tuscany is great and so everyone is there.

Umbria is different. It’s for a sophisticated traveler that doesn’t need to follow the typical tourist trail.

It’s for people who want to see more than just Rome, Florence and Venice on a holiday – to venture out and really get their hands dirty.

Umbria is awesome and it’s only a matter of time before everyone realizes this.

You really do need help to see the best of Umbria.

We discovered Umbria through our friend Diana at Browsing Italy who connected us with Discovering Umbria because she knew we could not have a meatcation without experiencing Umbria.

And so we made our way to the small town of Todi, which is perfect for exploring Umbria because it’s smack in the centre of the region and only a short drive to all of the attractions.

But it’s also a charming medieval town so in between day trips you are safe enough to wander around at night and shop or just eat gelato.

 
Norcia is the largest city in Umbria and considered the birthplace of charcuterie or, as the Italians say, salumi.

Although Umbria is home to a fantastic heritage of cured meat, many food lovers never visit the region, the lure of Tuscany is too strong.

But if you’re into food, especially cured meat like we are, Umbria’s largest city Norcia is known as the birthplace of curing meat, so much so that someone who cures meat is called a Norcino.

 
Our hosts from Discovering Umbria. It's rare that we do adamantly recommend tour guides but these two are the best. No food vacation in Italy is complete without meeting them.

Discovering Umbria

We loved our time with Discovering Umbria.

It was like touring with friends and they were able to get access to things we could have never done as tourists.

They were impeccable translators and were so flexible with our itinerary.

During our time with them we really felt like we got to know Umbria in a way we couldn’t have done on our own.

Just like Andrea from Taste Bologna, I implore you to check out Discovering Umbria if you want the real deal.

 

Take a tour in Todi, the heart of Umbria in Italy.

Learn

While Todi is a small town there’s a wealth of history. Take a walking tour with Elisa from Todi Guide and llearn the history along with the town’s most famous citizen.

Learn how to cook in Italy, in Umbria you can take classes to learn to make sausages with Discovering Umbria.


So much meat to share! We spent a day in Canarra at Agriturismo Il Cerreto, which is not too far from Todi.

First enjoying lunch at and then making sausages with nonna and nonno at Agriturismo Il Cerreto.

It was a highlight of Dave’s trip as he was able to make sausages with people who had been doing it for decades.

 
Learning about salumi in Umbria, cured meat is a big tradition of Italian food. Here's where you need to go to learn about it.

Afterwards Alessandra and Leonardo took us to a commercial salumi plant for a tour – what other tour guide would plan this kind of awesome itinerary.

 
Cintas pigs in Umbria. Interested in curing meat? The art of salumi is from Umbria, discover why you can't miss it on your next trip to Italy.
Roccofiore in Todi, just one of many great Italian wineries in Umbria. Discover Italy's greatest food secret in Umbria

Drink

Umbria has many great winemakers. Roccofiore in Todi is an organic vineyard powered 100% by solar energy.

Cintas heritage pigs are also raised on site for heritage salumi.  

After a tour we went back to the restaurant for salumi with wine pairing and it was amazing.

 
Hotel Bramante in Todi, Umbria. Just one of many reasons why Umbria should be on your list if you love food.
The view from Hotel Bramante in Todi Italy. If you love food you need to visit Umbria, the home of cured meat.
Relaxing at Hotel Bramante in Todi, Italy. A luxury hotel with a killer view. You cannot miss it!

Where to Stay in Todi

There are options for all budgets in Todi. History buffs will love Hotel Bramante, a former monastery overlooking a spectacular view.

If you’d like more space it’s possible to rent an apartment in the city centre with Discovering Umbria.

Read Reviews on TripAdvisor or Book a Room on Expedia.

 
Traditional lentil soup in Umbria, Italy - which is known as the mecca for cured meat in Italy and yet most tourists have never heard of it. Learn why it needs to be on your Italy vacation itinerary.

Eat

Where do we begin. There are lots of traditional restaurants in the city, and none of them were created for tourists.

For a modern twist of Umbrian food try Vineria San Fortunato, a wine bar packed with locals and great salumi.

Umbria is the home of cured meat, salumi, in Italy. No food vacation in Italy is complete without a trip to Umbria.
 

Getting to Todi

You’ll definitely need a car to explore Umbria.

We did not want the stress of driving in Italy so we asked siblings Alessandra and Leonardo from Discovering Umbria to show us the chef’s tour of the region.

If you want to explore on your own it’s a bit tricky to drive in Rome so it’s better to take the train to Orvieto and rent a car there.

The food and wine in Orvieto is to die for. And Todi is only an easy 40 minute drive from there.

But any way you do it, get to Todi, it’s worth the effort

 
While most people flock to Tuscany you can avoid the crowds and tourist prices in Umbria. Check out our guide to the best things in do in Umbria.
 

Join the Conversation

  1. Definitely looks like a place I need to check out 🙂

  2. Amy Trumpeter says:

    I love these pictures of the cured meats! Italy is one of my favourite travel destinations. I am yet to explore Umbria, mainly because I don’t drive. I think that you have convinced me to take a driver! 😉

  3. Doris Dorisella says:

    I love Todi, so much that I decided to live here.
    Have a look at my website, shame that you were not my guests.
    next time, I love the post, if you agree I will repost it.
    thank you
    best wishes
    Doris

  4. Worth visiting indeed, everything looks beautiful…

  5. Oh, you’re making me so want to go to Umbria! I really wish I’d made time for it last time I was in Italy (when I went to Tuscany).

  6. Jolene Ejmont says:

    Ah we loved Umbria too, we had a glorious stay in Assisi when we were there!! Hubby would love to see your photos of the delicious meats from Italy too 😉

  7. While I love your review about Umbria, I’m afraid I have to make you aware that Norcia is not the largest city in the region. You said ‘Umbria’s largest city Norcia…’ it is not even close. There are in fact at least 30-32 cities and towns more populated than Norcia, it is just to set the right expectations. It is indeed in one of the most beautiful areas, specially because is near Casteluccio.

    All the best,

    Adri.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Adri

      You’re right it’s not the largest city, we should have phrased it as one of the most prominent. Thank you for the correction!

  8. I was intrigued by the food in Umbria, it really suited my mouth. I came here 2 years ago.

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