We all know about the joys of Tuscany. Its hilltop towns, its superb wines, friendly locals and outstanding cuisine. The only issue with this is that we all know about it. All of us. And many of us go there. What if there was a secret Tuscany, a place where you could get all the same joy, but without the bustle and tourism. Just next door to Tuscany is its twin, offering all the same pleasures, but with added tranquillity. And the best way to experience it? To walk through it, so let us present to you: Umbria – Trails to Assisi.
Walk through Umbria, the ‘Green Heart of Italy,’ on a trip that will transport you to a part of Italy rich in history and tradition, but alive with passion and friendliness. You will go from the historic town of Spoleto, walking parts of the Way of St Francis, as you journey to reach his birthplace in Assisi. Each of the charming towns on this trip has a history to get lost in, and we have built the trip to ensure that your walking days are not so long and arduous and that you can take time to enjoy each of them.
Distance: The full trip is 69km, or 42miles, so not too taxing, just the perfect balance between walking and soaking up the culture.
Grade: Easy to Moderate. The daily distances are around 12-15km, and there is a day of exploration built into the middle of the trip so you have a chance to sufficiently marvel the hilltop town of Montefalco (though you may end up walking 12-15km this day, just to see it all). The paths are a mix of gravel or dirt tracks and trails, and there is even a choice between an easy or more challenging route on the final day between Spello and Assisi.
Umbria is indeed in the heart of Italy, sandwiched between Rome and Tuscany. You can quickly reach Spoleto from Rome, by taking a train which takes around 1.5hrs. There is an airport in Perugia, the central city in Umbria, which is only an hour from Spoleto, but there are far fewer flights available to this location. From Spoleto, you will walk to Poreta, then Trevi, before we transfer you to Montefalco for a free day here. Then you are back on the trail to Bevagna and Spello before arriving at your final destination in Assisi.
This trip is a joy. It is a chance to explore one of the more untouched parts of Italy. The infrastructure for tourism is there, the people are massively friendly and helpful, the scenery while walking is beautiful, but it just doesn’t have ‘the name’ so fewer people travel there. This makes it a much more immersive experience than going to its Tuscan cousin. While Tuscany is entirely wonderful, people are so used to tourists that it is a bit less of a personal experience travelling there. Umbria will enchant you and have you booking to go back.
The walks are stunning. Framed with the backdrop of the Apennine Mountains for much of the trail, you are led through welcoming forest, across open plains, through vineyards and often with your destination clearly in sight. In fact, on a good day, you can look out from Spoleto and see all the way to Assisi. Having to walk to hill towns always adds a certain something to the tour, a concrete certainty that you know where you are going (even though you will be armed to the teeth with excellent maps, apps and notes). There is the knowledge that after that final climb you get to sit on a terrace with a dramatic view and soak in what you have just accomplished.
The free day in Montefalco is definitely not a rest day, though you can choose just to chill out if you so wish. The town on its own is just a great place to get lost. Winding streets full of classic Umbrian architecture, tons of little churches to pop into, piazzas to eat and drink on, it is just perfect. However, there are so many other attractions. The Complesso Museale di San Francesco is a deconsecrated church filled with religious frescoes and renaissance art. A beautiful, quiet museum, filled with beauty. Then there is the wine! You are in the heart of the Sagrantino wine region, which means you can go and visit any of the number of vineyards you can see below the city, get tasting and discover new favourites.
And it is not just Montefalco that has a lot going for it, every town on the trip has something to offer, and with pretty short walking days, you should get a chance to explore them all. Spoleto has a Roman amphitheatre, the Basilica of San Salvatore, dating from the 4th century and the immense 11th century Rocca Albornoziana fortress. Trevi has quiet medieval streets lined with ancient walls and 20 churches to visit.
Bevagna is one of Umbria’s best-kept secrets and home of some fantastic restaurants. It also has the San Michele Arcangelo and San Silvestro, two Romanesque churches that face each other across the lovely medieval main square, Piazza Silvestri. Spello has 24 churches and the remains of an amphitheatre and then there is Assisi. While busier than the other towns on your trip, Assisi is full of history and you can easily spend an extra night there. There are loads of religious and cultural sights to visit here along with some beautiful walks around the city, notably the Bosco di San Francesco walk below the Basilica.
Walking the Umbria: Trails to Assisi trip is simple to get to. Flights to Rome are easy to pick up, with Rome being an international hub and many of the low-cost carriers offering flights to one of its airports, so getting to Umbria is simple.
We have specialists who love all things Italian and know this trip inside out, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with them with any questions you may have by emailing at [email protected]