When I was planning the trip I made to Italy, I knew I wanted to include Umbria, the region my dad often travels to, and visit some of the places he recommended and has written about on here before, such as Monti Sibillini National Park right by the town of Preci.
If you're wondering where to stay in Umbria, stick around, as I'll be sharing the different places I stayed in on this trip.
Where is Umbria located?
Umbria is a landlocked region in the center of Italy known for its rolling hills, great food, wine, olive oil, art, history, and medieval towns. The area next to Tuscany, Umbria has famous cathedral towns such as Orvieto and Perugia, as well as gorgeous countryside to explore. Definitely one to add to your list of destinations, this post will show you some of the best places to stay in Umbria.
Because we'd be driving all the way from Belgium, we decided to make a first stop in the area of Modena so that we could rest and visit the Enzo Ferrari Modena Museum as well as the Lamborghini Museum before driving onward to Umbria, where our first stop was the town of Preci.
Places to visit & where to stay in Umbria Italy
The reason we wanted to visit Preci was twofold. First, this little town is located right by the Monti Sibillini National Park and second, my parents spoke highly of Agriturismo and Camping Il Collaccio, which we decided to make our base for two nights.
Il Collaccio is not your typical campground. The domain is big and spread out along a winding downhill road over ten hectares of stunning green terraces. Campers aren't all cramped together on a big field but scattered along patches of green along the road from where the views are simply amazing.
The same goes for the bungalows, tents, apartments, and the locanda. The locanda is a big house with a communal area and hotel rooms with lovely balconies. It's also where we stayed.
Il Collaccio has a great restaurant where you can get food all day long and a proper one or multi-course meal in the evenings. Guests can also choose to have breakfast included in their stay, which we did. We also enjoyed two three-course meals on the two nights we were there and definitely ate well.
While there's plenty to see in the area, you won't get bored at Il Collaccio either. There's a tennis court, a soccer field, a volleyball court and a petanque field. You can also play table tennis or go for a swim in one of the two pools.
Those who want to go explore can do one of the hikes starting at Il Collaccio or take the shuttle bus to Monti Sibillini National Park. Plus, there are options to go mountain biking, horse riding, and rafting nearby.
It's a good thing there's so much to do at Agriturismo and Camping Il Collaccio because we encountered some bad luck when we were there. The first night we were lying in bed, watching a movie, when suddenly the room shook.
It was one of the many earthquakes that struck the region last fall and although this one didn't feel too bad, we'd learn the next day that it did have consequences.
Our plan for Preci had been to arrive at Il Collaccio, spend a night and then head to Monti Sibillini National Park for a little road trip. When we did that, though, we were suddenly halted by some barriers and a guy controlling traffic.
Apparently, the earthquake had caused quite a bit of damage in the park and no cars were allowed on the roads that lead to the villages and viewing points we wanted to visit. No Piano Grande for us. No Castelluccio. What a bummer.
On the one hand, we were worried for the people living there, but I'd be lying if I said we weren't disappointed. Preci and the Monti Sibillini Park were a bit out of the way from the other places we'd planned to visit on this trip and now we wouldn't even be able to see the views my dad's photos had gotten us looking forward to.
But we turned bad luck into a fun day at Il Collaccio, going for a walk and enjoying some downtime at the pool.
Before we left, we got to chat with Raffaello, the manager of Il Collaccio. He told us about his expansion and further innovation plans for the future. I always love it when I get to speak to the people behind a business. It gives you a look behind the scenes and almost always these people are incredibly passionate about what they do.
It wasn't any different with Raffaelo, and so I was happy to hear that Il Collaccio didn't suffer any damages during the earthquakes that followed in the weeks after our stay. It's now quiet in the area again and Il Collaccio is ready to welcome guests again in the new season.
Rates depend on the time of the year and the kind of accommodation chosen.
Meals are optional.
WiFi is €5/day/device, if I remember correctly, which is a somewhat of a shame. It was the only downside we encountered to staying here, though.
When you visit Il Collaccio's website, make sure to also look at the events section as this agriturismo often hosts painting and photography workshop groups. My dad actually discovered Il Collaccio while on a photography workshop.
Check availability and prices on Booking.com.
If you are looking to stay in a more luxury place, still in the middle of the countryside, this option between Preci and Montefalco also looks very nice and has a high rating. It's a great place if you are keen on a digital detox for a night or two as there is no WiFi.
After having checked out at Il Collaccio, we drove to Montefalco, a pretty walled Umbrian town. At least, the old town is walled.
It's so tiny, you only need an hour or two to see it, but it is worth it. The alleys, the view on the surroundings, and the central plaza all make you take your camera out and there's some great food to be had here as well.
Because we were spending the next four nights in Bevagna, only a few minutes driving from Montefalco, we came back here a few times for a meal.
While Boyfriend and I usually stay in Airbnb apartments when we go road tripping, we mostly stayed in B&B's on this holiday and so we ate out a lot. Some of the places we ate at in Montefalco and that I can recommend:
Ristorante Il Verziere di Metelli
We paid €20 for a pizza, a plate of bruschetta, sparkling water, olives, beer, and service for two.
Corso Goffredo Mameli, 20
We paid €35.5 for gnocchi, a meat dish, a salad, one glass of wine, one bottle of sparkling water, tea, coffee and service for two.
Piazza del Comune, 14
Enoteca Federico II
We paid €21.50 for a bottle of sparkling water, a soft drink, a plate of melon and cured ham, a plate of bruschetta and service for two
Piazza del Comune, 4
There's a large free parking lot along the SP445, the main road passing by Montefalco. It's only a few minutes walking from the walled town. We parked there three times and there was always ample space.
If you would like to stay in Montefalco itself, this spa and hotel is inside the historic walls and has excellent feedback from past guests.
After a walk around and lunch in Montefalco, we drove on to Bevagna where we'd be staying at B&B In Villa for four nights while making day trips out into the region.
Check availability and prices on Booking.com.
Bevagna is more centrally located within Umbria, making it a great base for exploring the region. We always headed out after breakfast and came back to the B&B for some pool time late afternoon, before going out again for dinner in the evenings.
Because we were staying in Bevagna, we visited it in the evenings when we also went in search of dinner. Just like Montefalco, Bevagna's old town is an ancient Umbrian walled city and as a tourist, you need to leave your car outside the city walls. But believe me, you wouldn't want to drive there anyway!
Also like Montefalco, Bevagna is tiny and you can easily see most of the cute alleyways and the historic main square in a couple of hours.
As for restaurants, there's this tiny wine place right by the church that also serves dinner and that was always crowded which is supposed to be really good. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to get a table there.
Here's where we did eat, and ate well:
We paid €40 for a green salad, a glass of wine, potatoes, a meat dish, a pasta dish, coffee, tea and service for two one night and €39 for salad, a pasta dish, a meat dish, two desserts, one coffee, one wine and service for two another night.
Via del Gonfalone, 1
We paid €35.50 for a glass of wine, sparkling water, a meat dish, a pasta dish, two desserts, coffee, tea and service for two.
There's a large free parking lot right outside the city walls. To get there, follow the SP316 direction Bevagna until you reach a T where you need to turn left (if you come from Montefalco) or right (if you come from Foligno) to continue following the city walls.
Turn left at the next crossroads to continue following the wall and there will be a large parking lot to your right.
Where to stay in Bevagna
We didn't stay at these places personally, but they are highly rated if you prefer to stay in the historic center itself:
Hotel Palazzo Brunamonti, right in the historic center. Check out rates and guest ratings on Booking.com.
Bed and Breakfast Marinucci's House which is rated for its excellent location right in the walled town. Read the reviews for yourself here.
Spoleto was the only Umbrian town that disappointed us a bit. I wanted to visit Spoleto because of the photos I'd seen of the giant aqueduct/bridge there and although that was cool, the center itself was definitely less pretty than the other Umbrian villages we visited.
We stopped for a snack at Bar Primavera and paid €7 for two sandwiches and a soft drink.
There's a large free parking lot by the Ospedale civile “San Matteo degli Infermi” di Spoleto, right outside the city walls, at Via Loreto.
Despite Spoleto not being one of the prettiest villages, it does seem to have some exceptional looking hotels. We didn't stay here but the Palazzo Sant'Angelo, a 15th-century guest house with panoramic views of Monteluco, looks beautiful and has a score of 9.8 on booking.com which is exceptionally high.
Spello must be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, maybe even one of the most beautiful villages in the world. I know you can't say from the photo above, but as often happens when I encounter a view I really like, I chose to enjoy it instead of looking through my camera viewer the entire time.
Think tiny streets, flowers hanging from balconies, lovely views, and a maze of alleys and staircases. If you're wondering about one place to visit in Umbria, this is it.
We had lunch at the terrace of Bizzarri Elisa on what I think was the main street and paid €22 for two salads, water, one Aperol Spritz and service for two. It's a lovely spot to sit down for a while and do some people-watching.
Driving to Spello, you again need to park outside the city walls. It's a bit of a climb up to the center, but perfectly doable.
If you are looking for places to stay, B&B Narcisi is very central, affordable, includes breakfast and has excellent ratings. Check it out here.
Casa Sensi is another central and affordable option for accommodation.
Trevi lies beautifully perched upon a hill, making it a great model for shots taken from a distance.
There are a couple of paid parking lots right outside the main gate entering the old town of this Umbrian hill town. Trevi was one of the first Umbrian towns we visited and so we overestimated the time needed to see everything. I think we only stayed for about an hour while paying for more than two. The ticket machines take coins only.
If you're looking for ideas for places to stay near Trevi: Country House Vedute just outside the town has a panoramic view over the Clitunno Valley, outdoor swimming pool and a traditional restaurant. Again, not somewhere we personally stayed but other guests who have been have reviewed it well.
Assisi is one of Umbria's (even Italy's) most popular cities and that has everything to do with St Francis and the presence of the St Francis Cathedral.
While the basilica certainly is a beautiful building, there are plenty of other things to do as well, such as visiting castle Rocca Maggiore, getting lost in its streets, visiting the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli and many other churches, having a look inside the Roman Temple of Minerva and enjoying some people watching at the Piazza del Comune.
I'd expected it to be super crowded and thought that everything would revolve around St Francis but that certainly wasn't the case.
We spent several hours in Assisi and I can highly recommend anyone to visit when you're in Umbria. It is also a 30-minute trip to Perugia or a 1 hour to Lake Trasimeno which are other beautiful places to explore in the region.
We could tell Assisi was more touristy than the other towns in Umbria we'd visited by the presence of bigger parking lots. There are several (paid) parking lots just outside and even a few inside the city walls.
Where to stay
As Assisi is a more touristic place there is a huge abundance of options for accommodation. Here are a few accommodations with great recommendations from previous guests:
The very affordable Alter Ego b&b Assisi is walking distance to the Basilica di San Francesco. Guests have rated it for the friendly staff.
Il Sagrato di Assisi is 5-minute drive from Santa Maria degli Angeli Basilica and offers free bikes for guests.
The Hotel Il Palazzo is a newly renovated wing of the 16th century Palazzo Bartocci Fontana, in the center of Assisi. Some of the rooms have views of the Umbria valley.
If you are looking for a private apartment with its own pool and garden but still very close to the center of Assisi, then Assisi Charme could be for you. It sleepsup to 4 and also has excellent reviews.
Practical information for traveling around Umbria
Driving around Umbria
Italian drivers are crazy – and that's something coming from a Belgian. That being said, the roads in Umbria are pretty chill on and if you want to properly visit Umbria, doing it by car is the only way to go.
We always checked our route beforehand on Google Maps and found that the time indicated to get somewhere by the app was pretty correct. Don't look at the distance, though, as a lot of the roads are winding and you won't be able to drive fast.
Maps of Umbrian towns
Most, if not all, Umbrian hill towns are so small that you can just wander around without worrying that you'll miss something. However, this website has maps for towns and cities all over Italy, you can find Spoleto maps, maps for Assisi and more.
Weather in Umbria
The weather in Umbria in September, when we went, was lovely. Aside from one chilly day in Preci, we had temperatures around 30°C with clear skies and a bright sun all of our trip.
In general, July and August are the hottest months, followed by May, June, and September. These months are also the driest. October is usually still nice as well, with a slightly higher chance of rain. It can get chilly in winter but snowfall is reserved only for the mountains.
Now that you know where you can stay, which of the Umbrian hotels above would you choose?
Don't forget travel insurance
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. Travel insurance has you covered in case (part of) your trip gets canceled, you get sick or hurt abroad, and sometimes even when your electronics break or get stolen. I always make sure I'm covered every trip I go on.
Don't have travel insurance yet? Check out SafetyWing. They offer super flexible plans that you can even sign up for while you're already on your trip. On top of that, they were the first travel insurance to cover COVID, and when I got COVID, they reimbursed all of my expenses without making a fuss. Their customer support team is great and I can personally recommend them.
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