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Often referred to as the “green heart of Italy,” Umbria is smack-dab in the center of the boot, and right next to Tuscany, to whom it’s always compared. Like Tuscany, Umbria boasts dozens of medieval hilltop towns (like Assisi, Perugia, and Orvieto), beautiful countryside, and olive and wine vineyards. And, like Tuscany, it has stunning art and architecture and a fascinating history that dates back to the ancient Etruscans. However, Umbria feels a little “wilder” and more off the beaten path than its famous neighbor. It’s also much less touristy (although it’s far from an undiscovered region) and less expensive.

Visit Umbria if: you like the sound of Tuscany or you’ve visited Tuscany, and liked it but you want an alternative destination that’s a little less well-known, touristy, and expensive; you’re looking for a day or weekend trip from Rome (Umbria is closer than Tuscany); you want to get off the beaten path while enjoying delicious Italian cuisine and wine.

Major cities of Umbria: Assisi, Foligno, Orvieto, Perugia, Terni

What to eat: boar, porchetta, truffles, chocolate, Pecorino & Caciotta Cheeses, Prosciutto di Norcia, Salsiccia Secca (Dried Sausage), extra virgin olive oil, Fagiolina del Trasimeno, Imbrecciata (also spelled ‘mbrecciata), Torta al Testo