Umbria may at first glance, seem like a sleepy Italian province but has a lot more to offer than might first meet the eye. The best things to do in Umbria are done outside, and natural beauty abounds here, which means there’s all the more exploring to do! Gather your friends and grab yourselves a vespa or a mountain bike and hit the road, making sure to stop off at the copious wineries and olive oil producers along the way. Collect a few bottles, and take them back to your Umbrian villa to enjoy – it’d be rude not to. There’s also plenty of history to get stuck into, truffles to sniff out and golf to enjoy, perfect for a group holiday!
1. Go green at the Castello Monte Vibiano Winery
Location: Perugia, Italy
Set on a hill overlooking the rolling hills just outside of Perugia is the centuries old Monte Vibiano Castle. The family-owned castle is today a working farm and vineyard, where fine wines and rich olive oils are produced with meticulous care to conserve the natural environment. Indeed, the winery is the only one in the world with a carbon footprint of zero. Visitors can embark on an eco-tour of the castle and farm by way of electric vehicles, and zip across the fields, vineyards and groves to watch the harvesting of the grapes, hand-picking of the olives and the production techniques of both. Tasting sessions will give you the chance to savour some of the best wines in a country famed for its wine-making prowess.
2. Discover a very modern vineyard at Arnaldo Caprai Viticoltore
Book: 0742 378802
Location: Montefalco, Italy
Located just outside of the charming little town of Montefalco is the Arnaldo Caprai Winery, set amid row upon of row of gently undulating vineyards. It is the picture-perfect setting for a day of wine tasting and learning about the meticulous techniques behind the production of the famed Sagrantino di Montefalco wines. Breathe in the rich aromas of the wood barrels in the cool cellars, sample some of their finest reds and whites (including some of their much sought-after reserves) and be guided through production rooms, which have managed to combine traditional viticulture techniques with the very latest modern technology.
3. Head underground at Narni Sotterranea
Location: Narni, Italy
The story of the underground complex at Narni is one straight from the movies, and a tour of the utterly fascinating site is an amazing experience not to be missed. Discovered deep underground by a group of young friends in 1979, was a 12th-century chapel adorned with intricate frescoes and a network of secret tunnels leading beneath the large monastery of San Domenico. Papal inquisition torture chambers and prison cells were also unearthed, and it has become the lifelong ambition of the very same young adventurers to discover the complex’s history. Today Roberto and his team will guide you themselves through the subterranean maze where you will feel like a true Indiana Jones.
4. Go truffle hunting with Umbria Con Me
Location: Assisi, Italy
Umbria is the home of the truffle and while top chefs from around the world covet the root for their gourmet fine dining creations, in this part of Italy, the truffle is a humble ingredient used in traditional age-old dishes. You can spend a delightful day ferreting out the truffles in the beautiful Umbrian countryside accompanied by an expert truffle hunter and his dogs. Wander the valleys and forest-covered hills, gathering truffles to take back to the family farmhouse ready for tasting alongside some local wines. While you’re there, you can learn to make fresh pasta and other local delicacies, before experiencing a meal in true Italian style: with family, friends, neighbours and lots of chatter.
5. Feel the buzz with Umbria in Vespa
Location: Umbria, Italy
There is something charmingly retro and undeniably Italian about the Vespa motorbike. It’s hard not to feel stylish while sitting atop a Vespa and tootling along the winding road that hugs the shore of Lake Trasimeno. Like a scene straight from the movies, you will have the wind in your hair (well actually, you’ll be wearing a helmet, but you get the idea) as you zip through the sunshine and nip in and out of stone-built villages. While you only need a car driving licence to rent a Vespa, it helps to have had some experience on scooters before. The most important thing, however, is a sense of adventure and exploration.
6. Play a round at Antognolla Golf
Location: Perugia, Italy
Just north of Perugia, the Antognolla golf course has been designed to take in the best of the region’s natural features. Umbria couldn’t be more perfect for a sweeping green golf course, with its rolling hills, gentle valleys and tufts of forest making an ideal setting for 18 holes. Designed by the famous course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., Antognolla is of championship quality. Here, you and your fellow travellers can enjoy a leisurely day driving and putting under the blue skies and sunshine. In addition to the course, Antognolla also has a well-equipped pro shop, a driving range, putting green and a plush clubhouse and bar where you can unwind after a day of golfing.
7. Spend a day cycling with Umbria Bike
Location: Puglia, Italy
Set off on a day of cycling with one of Umbria Bike’s expert guides leading you through some of the region’s most jaw-dropping landscapes. Take your pick from a range of themed tours that will get you out into the fresh air and among verdant nature. You might follow the lake road around Trasimeno from Paciano and Panicale and marvel at the shimmering waters and quaint lakeside villages, or embark on a more energetic mountain bike ride along the former railway from Spoleto to Norcia, weaving through tunnels and viaducts as you go. For something more serene, spend a day cycling through vineyards and country lanes, stopping along the way to sample the local wines and olive oils.
If you need advice on the best place in Umbria for your group, give our concierge team a call! They have extensive knowledge of all our villas in Umbria, and will be able to help you find the perfect one for your needs.