Tour Umbria – the Lungs of Italy
The second part of our tours of Italy, after staying in Vicchio, north of Florence, was to stay for seven weeks near Montegabbione, in Umbria. Umbria is about an hour north of Rome. At the very top of Umbria is Assisi, about two and a half hours from Rome.
Umbria is known as “the lungs of Italy” (as is a city further to the south, Abruzzo). The reason is that it is completely covered with forests that are lush green year round, providing fresh air to the country. This is what makes it so interesting to visit, compared to, for example, tours of Rome.
Once you are done with Rome, Florence, Venice and the other major Italian sights, tours of Italy should include other interesting areas. Umbria is very fun to drive around, and includes some very important sights in the nearby areas.
Assisi, the city of St. Francis and one of the main secondary tourist sights in for tours of Italy, is in northern Umbria. See our post on Assisi the City of St. Francesco, in Umbria. Nearby is Perugia, the city of one of the most important universities in Italy, dating from 1200.
To get to Umbria, and to drive across it, a possible route from Rome is to go north to stop at Orvieto for an hour or two, and go back to Ovieto Scalo and turn east to Marsciano.You will then wind through the fabulous lush forests, and a few small towns.
Just north of Marciano is the village of Deruta, known as a center of Italian ceramic art. (Wikipedia on Deruta). You coiuld spend hours viewing the dozens of art stores, and there are some great restaurants. (TripAdvisor on Deruta Restaurants).
If you are really adventuresome, you can find a couple great restaurants hidden in the hills to the east of Montegabbione, before Marsciano. You will be on a little smaller roads, but the countryside is incredibly beautiful and lush.
I suggest Da Angelino E Peppa (TripAdvisor link). Please note that we are talking really remote here, but this is a true find, totally Italian. It almost feels like a camping ground, where you get your food from a window, very casual, but incredibly good. The reviews (minus the only low rating that must be some oddball) are incredible.
Another one down the road, and down a little road again, is Country House Casamarena (TripAdvisor link). You will not believe the view at this place. It is “cucina tipico” which in English means “typical cooking” of the area. I don’t think you can get the spirit of what they mean with this translation.
We had tripe, the first time for me, and it was excellent.
It really is a country house, in the middle of the forest. You will get what they have, it will be good, inexpensive (maybe 15 Euros), and the hosts are absolutely wonderful. As the husband if he has any property for sale in Las Vegas.