IT’S ALL about 3G. No, not the mobile network, but three generations (3G) of a family holidaying together. And where better to go than Umbria, which offers experiences and activities to suit all ages.
Known as Italy’s green heart, Umbria has a plethora of opportunities for all the family, from its spectacular scenery, interesting culture, delicious food and wine, to its relaxing wellness centres and spas, plus many sporting options. With its rolling landscapes, sweet-smelling vineyards, sparkling lakes and medieval hill towns, Umbria is also an ideal destination for a family wedding. In the last six years, 3G trips have been increasing in popularity, with Mark Warner reporting a 12 per cent rise since 2010, and Thomson research showing 38 per cent of Brits having travelled abroad with their parents and children.
Food & Wine
Situated in one of Italy’s most fertile corners, Umbria is one of the country’s finest gastronomic centres. Although hotels and restaurants serve the delicious local produce, families can travel to the small medieval town of Montegabbione for a truly traditional experience. Perched on a hill and surrounded by fields and vineyards, smooth wine, flavoursome extra virgin olive oil and meat – pork especially – are produced here. Additionally, sample the pane commune (unsalted bread), sip the vast selection of wines around Lake Corbara, and do not miss out on tasting the rare white truffle, or trifola, which flourishes in the limestone-rich soil of the region. www.umbriatourism.it/en/food-and-wine
With its karst caves, Etruscan wells, Roman cisterns and aqueducts, Umbria is an open-air museum for families that love to learn. Head to Umbria’s capital, Perugia, filled with Etruscan, Roman and medieval monuments. Here, stop at the Palazzo dei Priori, one of the country’s finest Gothic palaces, and the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, an incredible gallery with art spanning several hundred years. Leave the tourist trails and travel to Bevagna, a tiny, serene village centred along a single, perfectly straight street, which was once part of a Roman road. On arrival, admire the mosaics and the remains of a temple and amphitheatre, and the beautiful Romanesque churches. Journey to the Convento della Scarzuola e Città Buzziana in Montegiove, east Umbria, an architecturally incredible ‘Ideal City’ built in the 20thcentury around, and next, to a 13th century Franciscan convent. www.umbriatourism.it/en/web/umbria/places-of-culture
Pack a picnic and explore the beautiful landscape of Umbria, from the natural parks and sweeping valleys to the sparkling lakes and cascading waterfalls. Keen birders and fishermen will be in their element, with Lake Trasimeno, Colfiorito Park and the Nera River home to a plethora of wildlife. Stroll through the colourful wildflowers in Monti Sibillini National Park, visit the Cascata delle Marmore (a powerful waterfall in south Umbria) and discover the Valnerina. Strictly translated as the ‘little valley of the Nera’, the Valnerina covers the whole eastern part of the region and is considered the most beautiful part of Umbria. Walk through the upland villages and forgotten farmlands, keeping an eye out for wolves, which still roam the summit ridges. www.umbriatourism.it/en/the-landscape
From hiking to cycling and climbing to caving, Umbria is a natural gym for all sporty families. Enjoy a leisurely pedal around Valnerina or, for a more challenging cycle, explore Gubbio and the mountains overlooking Sant’Ubaldo. Click on carabiners and ascend Mount Pale of Foligno, which has routes suitable for all levels, or clamber up Ferentillo cliff, one of the most renowned and popular places for rock climbing in Europe. Hike the Via di Francesco, a walking trail along an ancient Roman road between Florence and Rome, inspired by the life of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Italy. Alternatively, go on a caving excursion into the watery depths of Risorgenza Solenne, or saddle up a horse and trot around the undulating green hills. www.umbriatourism.it/sports-and-adventure
Wellness & Spa
With its therapeutic sanctuaries, rejuvenating yoga courses and relaxing spas, Umbria is an ideal area to boost body and mind, whatever the age. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, the Basilica of St Francis is well worth a visit. Built in 1228, just two years after the death of St Francis, the beautiful gothic building is one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy, and a distinctive landmark when approaching Assisi in northern Umbria. Alternatively, journey to Orvieto in south-western Umbria and sign up to a yoga course, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Italian countryside, or stop at one of the many spas for a spot of pampering. www.umbriatourism.it/spirituality
Return flights (London to Perugia) cost from as little as £46 pp. For more information on Umbria, visit www.umbriatourism.it/en/homepage