Umbria Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Umbria

Planning a short break to Umbria? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Umbria. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Umbria. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.

Spoleto Festival

One of Europe's most important and anticipated carnivals of contemporary music, art, dance, and theater.

Umbria Jazz - Moves from Perugia to Orvieto for the winter, celebrating the last 5 days of the year with wine tastings and jazz artists from around the world. Call tel. 075/573-3363,

For more information visit - www.umbriajazz.com or www.umbria2000.it

Galleria Nazionale

One of central Italy's top museums, Perugia's National Gallery houses the largest and finest collection of Umbrian art in the world, including plenty of Perugino paintings. The museum is divided into 11 rooms, each with its own theme and art period. You will get to see many world famous art works, and this venue should not be missed by lovers of the visual art. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 7:30pm. Admission is 6.50€ (adults), 3.25€ (ages 8-25 and seniors over 65). It is located Palazzo dei Priori, Corso Vannucci 19. Tel: 075/574-1247, or 075/57-411.

Ipogeo dei Volumni

A tomb of the late Etruscan era, that was used from the mid-2nd century to the mid-1st century B.C. This is one of the finest Etruscan tombs in Italy, built like a house underground and still set with its cinerary urns. The ashes of Arunte Volumni, the father of the clan buried here, rest in the central travertine urn carved with his effigy, reclining in true Etruscan style. His daughter's effigy, shows a seated lady (after the Roman fashion), an indication of the increasing influence of the Latin conquerors on local customs. The tomb is decorated with carved reliefs, including Medusa heads, dolphins, and owls. It is open daily 9am - 1pm and 3:30 - 6:30pm (Sept-June); 9am - 12:30pm and 4:30 -7pm (July-Aug). Admission is 2€ and the tomb is located about 5km south of Perugia (on the road to Foligno, but still in Perugia's suburbs). Tel: 075/393-329.

Visit www.archeopg.arti.beniculturali.it

Torgiano

The town is celebrated for its wines, considered the best in Umbria. The top label is the complex red Rubesco Riserva, produced by the local estates of the Fondazione Lungarotti, whose vintages were formulated by contemporary wine guru Giorgio Lungarotti. http://www.lungarotti.it

Museo del Vino (Wine Museum) - Founded by wine guru Giorgio Lungarotti. It is one of the best didactic collections of its kind. Fascinating even for those mildly interested in viticulture, and most of the explanatory signs are translated into English. Admission is 4€ (adults) and 2.50€ (children under 6). The museum is open daily from 9am to 1pm and 3 to 6pm (until 7pm in summer). Located in the Palazzo Baglioni at Corso Vittorio Emanuele 11. Tel: 075/988-0200.

Tre Vaselle - The nearby hotel/restaurant complex that also belongs to the wine estate. It serves exquisite Tuscan fare in a refined dining room and offers upscale guest rooms rambling through several 17th-century buildings. The hotel has an indoor and outdoor pool and a large conference center. Tel: 075/988-0447.

For more visit www.3vaselle.it

The Town of Deruta

One of Italy's most famous ceramic production centers, since the 14th century. The merchandise is usually pretty good quality, but if you explore the back roads in the old town, you can find true artisans, hand-painting ceramics they have tossed on foot-powered wheels. Visit Deruta Placens, with shops at Via B. Michelotti 25, Tel: 075/972-277, and Via Umberto I 16 , Tel: 075/972-4027.

Museo Regionale della Ceramica (Regional Museum of Ceramics) - Visit this museum to get a sense of the evolution of ceramics. It houses a precious collection of Deruta ceramics of various periods, from the Middle Ages to the 1930s. The museum is open daily from 10:30am to 1pm and 3 to 6pm (April through September), and Wednesday through Monday 10:30am to 1pm and 3:30 to 7pm (October - March). Admission is 3€. Located on Largo San Francesco. Tel: 075/971-1000.

www.derutainfo.it or www.comune.deruta.pg

Exploring in the Mountains

On Mt. Foce, off a path reached by backtracking down Via del Fosso from Porta Metauro, are the remains of prehistoric Cyclopean walls and the 13th-century Hermitage of Sant'Ambrogio, with some frescoes inside and a 14th-century aqueduct nearby.

Monte Ingino - Outside Porta Romana, is a ski lift contraption that dangles you in a little blue cage, as you ride up the side of Mt. Ingino (at a vertical elevation of 300m). It lets you off just below the Basilica di Sant'Ubaldo. The current structure is a 16th-century incarnation over whose high altar the withered corpse of the local patron saint, Ubaldo, is preserved in a glass casket. Stored in the aisle are the three giant wooden ceri used during the annual Corso dei Ceri.

Even more spectacular is the panorama that opens up east across the surprisingly wild Apennine Mountains and the snowy peaks of Monte Cucco National Park at the Marches' border in the distance. A few trails run off here if you want to do some backwoods exploring.

Shopping

Ceramics shops line Via Duomo. They cater mainly to tourists, but you can still find some quite lovely pieces.

You will see the Michelangeli clan's wood sculptures, puppets, and stacked-contour reliefs all over town. Several Michelangeli showrooms line either side of Via Gualverio Michelangeli. Tel: 0763/342-660.

For more info go www.michelangeli.it

One of the top antiques shops in town is Carlo & Cesare Bianchini. Located Via Duomo 37. Tel: 0763/344-626. The shop is filled with gorgeous pietra dure tabletops, inlaid with semiprecious stones and marbles. Whether antique or made by a local artisan, they do not come cheaply!

Wines in Orvieto

The plains and low hills around Orvieto grow the grapes that go into one of Italy's great wines, a pale straw-colored DOC white called simply Orvieto Classico. To sample a glass (or buy a bottle) with a pastry or panino, drop by the Cantina Foresi (Piazza Duomo 2. Tel: 0763/341-611). Ask to see the small, moldy cellar carved directly into the tufa. You can also visit one of Orvieto's friendliest shopkeepers at his enoteca/trattoria above the Pozzo della Cava excavations at La Bottega del Buon Vino (Via della Cava 26. Tel: 0763/342-373). Most Orvieto Classico is secco (dry), but you can also find bottles of the more traditional abboccato (semidry/semisweet), amabile (medium sweet), and dolce (sweet) varieties. The secco was created for export, but the sweeter varieties are treats seldom exported, so try them while you can.

www.pozzodellacava.it/visita/servizi/bottega.htm

To visit a vineyard, try the direct sales/tasting office for the Barberani vineyard at Via Maitani 1. Tel: 0763/341-532 or 0763/341-820. It lists the wineries open to visitors, along with the hours of tours and contact numbers.

www.pozzodellacava.it/visita/servizi/bottega.htm">www.pozzodellacava.it/visita/servizi/bottega.htm

To visit a vineyard, try the direct sales/tasting office for the Barberani vineyard at Via Maitani 1. Tel: 0763/341-532 or 0763/341-820. It lists the wineries open to visitors, along with the hours of tours and contact numbers.

Grotte della Rupe (Etruscan Orvieto Underground

The Orvieto comune leads groups down into the caves, and try to explain the network of tunnels honeycombing the tufa subsoil. The visit can be didactic and explanatory, but you do get to see an underground medieval olive press (the constant temperature was great for oil making). You can also look down a few claustrophobically narrow Etruscan-era wells, wander around a subterranean quarry for pozzolano (a volcanic stone powdered to make cement mix), and tour a series of Etruscan pigeon coops carved out of the cliffside tufa. There are tours daily at 11am, 12:15pm, 4pm, and 5:15pm. Admission is by guided tour only, and a ticket cost 5.50€ (adults), 4.50€ (Pozzo della Cava ticket holders), 3.50€ (students and seniors). Located Piazza Duomo 24. Tel: 0763/344-891.

Foe more information visit www.orvietounderground.it

Hotel Priori

The best of Perugia's lodgings is just 60m down the hill through the central arch of Palazzo dei Priori. Plants liven up the halls, and the huge, sunny terrace (surrounded by the buildings and roofs of old Perugia) is great for breakfast alfresco in warm weather. Many savvy younger travelers and Italian families stay in the whitewashed, tile-floored rooms.

The fine dark wood furniture was handmade by a local craftsman. The six newer rooms, just off the reception, have 17th-century detailing and air-conditioning.

Facilities include a tour desk, car-rental desk, babysitting, and laundry/dry cleaning service. Rates are 45€ - 60€ (single), 60€ - 85€ (double), 100€ - 135€ (suite). Rates include breakfast. Located Via Vermiglioli 3. Tel: 075/572-3378.

For info visit www.perugia.com/hotelpriori

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