Long overshadowed by its western neighbor, Umbria should be more than just as a day trip from Tuscany—especially because the regions are so similar.
Very few of Italy's regions are entirely landlocked, but Umbria is. Tuscany is to the north and west, Le Marche to the east, and Lazio to the south. It's known as the “green heart of Italy” for its verdant hills and robust agricultural production, including several varietals of wine grapes. Umbria's landscape includes not only agricultural plains and hill towns but it is also part of the Apennine Mountains.
Umbria's sole UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the world's most famous pilgrimage sites—the complex of buildings dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. Other towns in the region may be as well known as some Tuscan cities, but they bear a striking resemblance. The region has historic hill towns with cobbled streets and views over rolling hills. Although Umbria has gained popularity among tourists, it is certainly less crowded than Tuscany, but with a similar charm.
The fastest high-speed trains in Italy do not yet reach Umbria, but there is train service to all the major cities and most of the smaller cities and towns in the region. Because of the hills and mountains, not to mention the vast areas dedicated to farming, reaching the smaller towns in Umbria can be easier with a car.
Photo credit: leoks