Umbria is another gorgeous area of central Italy. It is a small region sharing a common border with Tuscany and is, in fact, very much like Tuscany with a similar cuisine and specialties. But it does have its own unique history and charms. It is known for its Medieval hill towns. Towns built at the very summit of the hill to protect themselves from marauding invaders. All to our benefit since although there is no longer a risk of invasion and plunder, it remains incredibly picturesque for us to enjoy today. Some of the most important and charming cities in Umbria are Perugia, Orvieto, Gubbio, Spoleto, Todi and Assisi. Yes, as in Saint Frances of Assisi fame.
Umbria is the only region of Italy south of the Alps that is landlocked. And therefore the specialties are hearty and of the earth. Truffles, cheese, wild boar, grains and wine are among them. Their finest wine is called Sagrantino which is a hearty red wine which is their pride and joy.
On a practical level it is about the same distance from Rome as Tuscany, even a little closer. But the costs tend to be less expensive since it is not quite as famous as its fraternal twin sister Tuscany. And since the zoning ordinances are not as strict as Tuscany, some top castles and villas are renovating along simpler, cleaner and more modern lines if you prefer your hotel room just a little less rustic.