The gentle landscape of Umbria is one of the most attractive regions of Italy: beautiful lakes are just as much part of it as high mountains, historic towns and of course many olive groves and vineyards. In Umbria, holidaymakers will find everything they need for a varied and restful stay!
Umbria wine region is located in central Italy surrounded by Tuscany, Lazio and Marche wine regions. Etruscans and Umbrians were the first to plant vines 3,000 years ago. Later, the region was known especially for the white wine Orvieto. The Orvieto still exists today – it is called Trebbiano, Verdello or Canaiolo Bianco – but today Umbria is best known for its characterful red and white wines. You can try Verdello at Palazzone, an artisanal Italian winery.
Terroir & Climate: The landscape of Umbria is characterized by hills and mountains. Therefore, a large number of different grape varieties thrive on the diverse soil types as well as a lot of experiences to discover this vast terroir. Special Mediterranean microclimates in the area of the Trasimeno Lake in the east and in the Tiber valley ensure an optimal ripening of the grapes. The daytime and nighttime differences in temperature, especially at higher altitudes, are ideal conditions for producing elegant, mineral white wines with the potential to mature.
What you should taste in Umbria wine region
Umbria has a total of 2 DOC, 13 DOC wines and 6 IGT classified areas and nearly 60 % of the 16 500 ha of vineyards are planted with red wines especially around Montefalco and Lake Trasimeno.
Lovers of harmonious red and white wines will find what they are looking for in the Colli Perugini (DOC), the hills around the capital Perugia. And as well at Todi (DOC) – south of Montefalco – the autochthonous white variety Grechetto thrives excellently there. Grechotto can produce mineral nutty wines. With more neutral variety Trebbiano is made the wines of Orvietto, for which the region of Umbria is very well known.
Typical for the white Orvieto is the spicy, delicate and bitter aroma on the finish. This wine is vinified in different sweet grades: secco, abboccato, amabile and dolce – mostly it is, however, dry.
Particularly noble red wines are produced from Sagrantino grape variety, the Sagrantino di Montefalco. The volcanic soil in the warmer areas produces this excellent spicy-rich and long-lived red wines. A dark, powerful, alcohol and full-bodied red wine. Very particular, the wine needs a bit of getting used to it, as it can reach enormously high tannin levels
Whether the success of the dry Sagrantino Passito is slightly behind: The sweet wine was once pressed in the farms around Montefalco from dried grapes and drunk for the first time at Easter – the lamb.
You will be welcome at Cantina Benedetti & Grigi, a superb winery in Montefalco area using a typical variety named Sagrantino.
Little is known that in Umbria basically more red than white wines are produced. This is not by chance, after all, the climate and soil conditions are similar to those in the eastern border region of Tuscany. First and foremost Sangiovese for the Montefalco Rosso as well as Barbera and Merlot.
Where to taste wines in Umbria
Visit our recommended wineries in Umbria wine region and enjoy great Sagrantino and Orvietto wines as well as other wine highlights of the region.
Have a look at some of them bellow and learn more about their wine experiences:
In the heart of Montefalco
Benincasa winery is located in the most prestigious winemaking region of Montefalco, an area famous and suitable for producing Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG wine.
At Benincasa, you will be able to taste wines made from local as well as international grape varieties that are cultivated with the respect of the environment.
For the ones interested in culture – in addition to the larger and more well-known cities such as Perugia, Orvieto and Assisi – a visit to many other interesting places with medieval flair and art treasures is worth it.
Orvieto – Historic town surrounded by vineyards
Houses built of and on tufa, one of the most magnificent Gothic facades in Italy and culinary delights on every corner: Orvieto is one of the most interesting cities of Umbria, so you should take some time to get to know Orvieto and its inhabitants.
The Cathedral of Orvieto in the heart of the city is known beyond Italy’s borders. It dates back to the 13th century and has a facade decorated with filigree reliefs and colourful mosaics.
On the edge of the historic centre is another extraordinary sight: the Pozzo di San Patrizio. This 58.5 m deep fountain was built in the 16th century and has two spiral staircases running side by side. On those once loaded with water buckets, donkeys could run up and down at the same time. The city of Orvieto is surrounded by wine-growing areas. Here, on the slopes of the green hills of Umbria, the Trebbiano Toscano and Verdello grape varieties are cultivated on 2,500 hectares.
Assisi – A divine place in the hills of Umbria
History has been written in the small central Italian city that can be visited today. In addition to the well-preserved medieval town centre, especially the Basilica of San Francesco is a visitor magnet. It is the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi and is one of the seven highest-ranking churches in Italy. As he is the founder of the Order of the Friars Minor, now called Franciscan Order.
Nestled in dense green, the sandstone-colored buildings of the medieval town stand out from the surrounding landscape. Particularly impressive and recognizable from afar are the well-preserved city walls and the fortress ruin Rocca Maggiore. The latter has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. The winding streets and ancient buildings of all eras beyond the city wall tell of this long history.
You can find the Tili Vini Winery on the eastern border of this beautiful city, a family estate for generations. The winery that has centuries-old history of wine and olive oil production.
Once a year, the small Umbrian village of Spello, which lies southeast of Perugia, shines in a very special light. It’s not less magical on the other days of the year, but on the weekend after Corpus Christi, it seems almost magical. The reason for this is the famous flower festival “Infographic of Spello”.
Almost 1,000 artists are diligently preparing their works, of which there will be more than 60 in the end. They adorn a 1.5-kilometer long path in the old town of the 8,500-inhabitant village of Spello. Each piece of art, made entirely of flowers and petals, must be at least 12 meters long and cover an area of 24 square meters. The artists let their creativity run free from Saturday to Sunday during the night before the Corpus Christi procession.
Visit this charming Italian village, which shines in bloom and scatters delicious floral scent everywhere.
The green heart of Italy
Umbria is known as the “green heart of Italy” because of its lush green hills, fertile farmland, green valleys, wooded hills and mountains, the landscape is very reminiscent of Tuscany, but is a bit rougher and more untouched than the neighboring region.
The Lake Trasimeno, the largest lake in central Italy, is a favorite destination for Italians, but holidaymakers from other countries also love this oasis of relaxation: the 165m high waterfall “Cascate delle Marmore” near Terni, one of the highest Europe attracts half a million visitors every year. Umbria is an ideal holiday destination for hikers, cyclists and mountain bikers, but also for those who just want to relax in peace and quiet while on holiday.
Cascate delle Marmore – the tremendous power of the water
The Cascata delle Marmore is one of the highest waterfalls in Europe and was founded by the Romans in 271 BC. C. created for draining a wetland near the river Nera.
A masterpiece of Roman engineering that has become one of Umbria’s most spectacular natural sites. The Cascata delle Marmore offers five walkways to admire the cascades from different perspectives and to enjoy the natural beauty of this park to the fullest. The waterfalls pour into the river Nera amidst lush vegetation from over 165 m altitude and are as well a popular destination for canoe and kayakers. If you visit the waterfall during the Christmas season, you can expect the living flu in the waterfall itself.
The fossil forest Dunarobba
The petrified forest of Danurobba is a rare example of a forest that existed three million years ago, whose trunks are still relatively well preserved and form a moon-like landscape.
The fossil forest was discovered in a clay quarry for bricks in the late 1970s. The remains of some fifty gigantic conifers that can be visited are an exceptional testimony to some plant species that grew on the Italian peninsula between 2 and 3 million years ago, in the so-called Pliocene. The largely buried under the clay layers forest indicates completely different environmental conditions compared to today with a much warmer climate than today. Explore this unique natural monument of great scientific importance.
Lago die Trasimeno – bathing, surfing and fishing
In the green heart of Umbria, between reeds and white water lilies lies Lake Trasimeno, the fourth largest in Italy. This natural paradise is rich in animal species, such as wild ducks, cormorants, and other griffons and kingfishers. The backdrops are the gentle hills and dense forests, and the broad sunflower and cornfields, as well as grapevines and olive groves.
However, the largest island of the lake (there are three islands) is the island of Polvese. It’s now an uninhabited area and is today a public park, where you can visit the ancient monastery of San Secondo, the church of San Giuliano and a recently restored 14th-century castle. Be sure to plan a stop for swimming or water sports.
Try rare gastronomical specialties of Umbria
Umbria offers first-class regional cuisine, which has barely embarked on tourist compromises. Even in spoiled Italy such a down-to-earth, natural cuisine has become rare.
Umbria stands for truffles and simple peasant legumes, for the spicy scent of grilled meat, for fish, greenish iridescent olive oil and for generations handed down wild recipes.
Maltagliati con asparaghi e tartufi neri – A dish to melt away
Maltagliati (Italian for “badly cut”) are small Italian pasta slices made from dough pieces that are left from ravioli or lasagna. Maltagliati with asparagus and black truffle was declared by the author, the well-known TV chef Sante de Santis (2016), as a typical dish of Umbrian cuisine.
Besides Alba, Umbria is also known for its truffles. All kinds can be found in Umbria: white truffles, as well as the black summer and winter truffles. But the more important is the black Norcia truffle, which grows in Norcia and Spoleto. For this dish, an asparagus sauce is made from wine, cheese, truffle oil and at the end the pasta is rounded off with freshly planed truffles. Best combined with a powerful white wine from Orvieto.
Cicerchiata – the sweet colorful pastries
Cicerchiata is a very old recipe made from simple ingredients such as flour, oil, and little sugar. The only luxury of this recipe is the honey and the colorful sugar globules scattered over it. It is a colorful dessert that is typical of the carnival.
For this, a dough of flour, eggs, lemon zest and a few drops of the liqueur Alchermes and butter is kneaded. From the dough, small balls are formed and deep-fried in plenty of oil. Peeled almonds are sliced and honey is heated until it colors. In a bowl, the honey and the balls are mixed and the almonds and diced candied fruits and colorful sugar pearls added. Then a cake tin with a hole in the middle is greased and the mass is added so that it cools and takes the ring shape of the cake tin.
Tortino di patate con lenticchie e tartufo bianco – a typical regional dish
Among the antipasti is always the famous Tortino di patate con lenticchie e tartufo bianco very famous in Umbria, a casserole with a base of lentils. On the layer of lenses very thinly sliced potato slices are alternately layered with mushrooms and herbs and then sprinkled with white truffles. This dish combines, thanks to its ingredients, three gastronomic areas of Umbria: the area of Castelluccio with its excellent lentils, the plains of Colfiorito with its potatoes and the valley of Valtopina with its white truffles.
Visit wineries in Umbria and discover more gastronomical specialties of the region paired with local wines.
Calabria is a jewel on the toe of Italy. Calabria has a large number of wineries that offer wine tasting and tour. Visit our website to book beautiful wine-filled experiences and learn more about the wine region.