Umbertide is the town where I was born and spent many years of my life. For this reason, every corner and every monument speak to my heart because they speak of my history.
Beyond the reasons of the heart, Umbertide has much to offer to those who know how to find it: there are numerous points of interest not only in the town but also nearby. But, most of all, they have one a peculiarity: the points of interest of Umbertide are like snapshots or isolated photographs that are interesting in themselves independently of the context in which they are found.
10 things to do and see in Umbertide
1. The Collegiata (Church of Santa Maria della Reggia)
With an octagonal plan, it was begun in 1559 and completed in the mid-17th century. You can’t miss it. It is right in the middle of Umbertide.
2. The Rocca
The symbol of Umbertide, it consists of a 40-metre-high tower and three lower crenellated towers. This late 14th-century castle was later expanded and, for a brief period in the 19th century, was even used as a prison.
Today, after a complete renovation, is a centre for contemporary art.
3. Piazza San Francesco
This little piazza has the distinction of hosting three churches, all aligned on the same side: Santa Croce, San Francesco, and San Bernardino and an ex-convent.
You should absolutely see Santa Croce, a baroque church built in 1610 and today used as a museum, which houses, in its original location, The Deposition from the Cross by Luca Signorelli, as well as an altarpiece by Pomarancio.
4. A stroll along the Reggia Torrent
The city centre of Umbertide is cut by a small stream, the Reggia Torrent, called Regghia by the locals, which runs alongside the Rocca and the main square.
This whole area has recently been redesigned by the city administration to make it more accessible to the public. Today, the old market square below the Rocca has been restored and a superb promenade has been constructed below the late 19th century walls along the Reggia Torrent.
The pleasant and charming walkway is a way to see Umbertide from another angle.
5. Hidden glimpses of the old town centre
From Piazza Matteotti, just go into the narrow streets to be surprised by striking views.
The most beautiful? In my opinion, it’s Piazza Fortebraccio, in front of the town theatre and the entrance to the Rocca.
6. Abbey of Monte Corona (also known as the Abbey of San Salvatore)
The Abbey of Monte Corona is one of the most important Benedictine abbeys in Umbria.
The upper church has 14th-century frescoes.
Note the bell tower of Lombard origin, originally built for defence.
Its 11th-century foundation houses a fascinating underground crypt that, with its cross-vault ceiling, suggests an earlier pagan temple.
7. The Hermitage of Montecorona
The Hermitage was built in the 16th century to accommodate the Hermits of San Romualdo, a branch of the Camaldolese order.
The Hermitage, the centre of religious life, is located 700 meters above sea level, surrounded by a forest of fir and chestnut trees. It can be reached by car or on foot by an old path originally built to connect the hermitage to the Abbey below, consisting of stone blocks without mortar, for this reason called La Mattonata.
Today, The hermitage is inhabited by monks of the Monastic Family of Bethlehem, of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. Bruno. Parts of it can be visited and it is one of those experiences that one shouldn’t miss on a trip to Umbria because it represents the mystic part of what this region has to offer.
8. Borgo di Santa Giuliana
A small medieval village completely and perfectly restored by private individuals.
The village is surrounded by walls and can only be entered through an arched gateway where once there was a drawbridge. Inside, there is a 17th-century church and a tower. The village consists of small brick houses, each with its own small garden.
I remember very well the first time I went to the village of Santa Giuliana and I especially remember the feeling of being in a place where time had stood still. I remember that the only sound I could hear was the chirping of birds.
9. The Castle of Civitella Ranieri, the Castle of Serra Partucci
They are two wonderful examples of the castles that fill the whole valley around Umbertide.
The Castle of Serra Partucci was restored several times, but is now in a state of neglect.
The Castle of Civitella Ranieri is now owned by an American foundation and can only be visited from the outside. It is nevertheless worth a visit for its grandeur and beauty.
10. A sandwich with roast pork
To tell the truth, among the local dishes that are definitely not to be missed, one of them is surely “porchetta“.
Porchetta is an ancient Umbrian recipe, consisting of a roll formed from a selection of different types of pork seasoned with garlic and fennel and cooked for many hours in a wood-fired oven.
A street dish, porchetta is eaten sliced in a sandwich that you can buy from itinerant vendors at the weekly town market held in Umbertide on Wednesday morning.
You should try it because no Umbrian can imagine a world without porchetta.
Why it’s one of the places to visit in Italy
Because Umbertide knows how to promote what it has to offer and is able to carry the heritage of its past into the future.
Because Umbertide is not only the town, but also its beautiful countryside, adorned with countless castles and much loved by the foreigners and celebrities who have decided to buy houses in this area.