When I was planning the trip Boyfriend and I made last year 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 tMonti Sibillini National Park right by the town of Preci.
Because we'd be driving all the way from Belgium, we decided to make a first stop in the area of Modena after a day's driving 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.
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 a 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 towns 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 region 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.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are optional.
WiFi is €5/day/device, if I remember correctly, which is a bit of a shame. It was the only downside we encountered to staying here, though.
When you check out Il Collaccio's website, make sure to also check 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, prices and reviews on Booking.com.
After having checked out at Il Collaccio, we drove to >Montefalco, a beautiful walled Umbrian town. At least, the old town of Montefalco is walled.
It's so tiny, you only need an hour or two to see it, but it is worth it. The small streets, the view on the surroundings and the central plaza all make you get 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 to this town a few times for a meal.
While Boyfriend and I usually stay in Airbnb apartments (grab a discount when signing up!) 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 bruscetta, 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 bruscetta 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 center. We parked there three times and there was always ample space.
After a walk around and lunch in Montefalco, we drove on to Bevagna where we'd be staying at a B&B for four nights while making day trips out into 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 the town in the evenings when we also went in search of dinner. Just like Montefalco, Bevagna's old town is an 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 little streets and the beautiful 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.
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 aquaduct/bridge there and although that was cool, the town itself was definitely less pretty than the other Umbrian towns 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.
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 something 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 where to go in Umbria, Spello is the answer.
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 bit 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 of town, but perfectly doable.
Trevi lies beautifully perched upon a hill, making it a great model for shots taken from a distance. This is again one of those typical tiny Umbrian hill towns with cute alleys and great views.
There are a couple of paid parking lots right outside the main gate entering the old 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.
Assisi is one of the most popular cities in Umbria, Italy 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 other things to do in Assisi as well, such as visiting castle Rocca Maggiore, getting lost in its streets, visiting the many other churches, having a look inside the Roman Temple of Minerva and enjoying some people watching at the Piazza del Comune.
We decided to visit Assisi while we were already in Umbria, a decision I don't regret. 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 the city and I can highly recommend anyone to visit Assisi when you're in Umbria.
We could tell Assisi was more touristy than the other Umbrian towns we'd visited by the presence of bigger parking lots. There are several (paid) parkings just outside and even a few inside the old city walls.
Our Bevagna hotel
As mentioned, we spent our first two nights in Umbria at Il Collaccio, before choosing Bevagna as our based for the next few days. Bevagna is more centrally located within Umbria, making it a great base for day trips. While were there, we stayed in B&B In Villa.
Check availability, prices and reviews on Booking.com.
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 to drive 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 every day.
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 bit of a higher chance of rain. It can get chilly in winter but snowfall is reserved only for the mountains.
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