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Journeys in SlowMotion in Umbria

  • Slow Motion journeys in Italy
  • Slow Motion journeys in Italy
  • Slow Motion journeys in Italy
  • Slow Motion journeys in Italy
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Italian earthquake

Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the earthquake which struck central Italy on 24 August. We are relieved that the hoteliers with whom we work in Umbria are safe and well. The damage to buildings and infrastructure means, however, that we are not currently taking new bookings for our Italy’s Green Heart journey, although we hope to offer it again in 2017. All other holidays in Italy remain unaffected.

  • the mystical ‘green heart’ of Italy
  • a landscape of lyrical beauty
  • astonishing Assisi; splendid Spoleto
  • delicious meats & cheeses; robust red wines
  • Sibillini National Park & the extraordinary Piano Grande


Rounded hills, Romanesque churches veiled by cypresses, and the slight haziness which softens the scenery further, lend an undeniable romance to Umbria. This is a ‘land apart’ – the only Italian region that borders neither the sea nor another country – and it is wonderful to explore, not only because of the views but also because of the timeless, medieval towns and villages which seemingly crown every undulation. It is also an abode of saints (St Francis was one of many to be born here), and the tranquil churches, secret hermitages and wayside chapels add an undeniably spiritual air that goes hand-in-hand with the lyrical beauty of the landscape. From world-renowned Assisi to delightful, food-oriented Norcia and then on to the vast, rarefied plains of the Piano Grande, you cannot fail to be enchanted by this ‘green heart’ of Italy.

Read on to discover more of what Umbria has to offer...

Heavenly Assisi

Assisi has been described as ‘the gentle soul’ of Italy and is imbued by the spirit of St Francis, the country’s patron saint who is affectionately known as Il Poverello – the ‘little poor one’. Held aloft on a spur of Mount Subasio, this alluring medieval town surveys the emerald-green Umbrian countryside with a benevolent gaze; and for all its inevitable baubles, trinkets and souvenirs, a serene and mystical atmosphere endures – the remarkable basilica, with its 13th-century Giotto frescoes depicting the life of St Francis, is both beautiful and deeply moving.

Abbazia San Pietro In Valle

Tucked away in the narrow and secluded Valnerina (‘valley of the black river’), and nestling on a broad flank of Mount Solenne, is the sublimely beautiful abbey of San Pietro. Encircled by soaring cypress trees and crowned by a splendid 12th-century campanile, it is a mesmerising sight from afar and also repays closer inspection with its 13th-century frescoes and double-storey cloister. What’s more, thanks to sympathetic restoration by the Costanzi family, you can even stay here – a rare privilege in such an evocative and spiritual place.

Gastronomic Norcia

Norcia is a gem of a town with its medieval walls and glorious, 14th-century church façade. It is also famous for two things: St Benedict, its most revered son and the father of monasticism; and some of Italy’s most highly prized gastronomic delights. There’s the delectable tartufo nero (black truffle), prized salumi ham from acorn-fed pigs, wild mushrooms and an array of tasty mountain cheeses. And don’t miss out on the lentils from nearby Castelluccio – small, brown and underwhelming in appearance, they are perfect with pork and perhaps the finest pulses money can buy.

Castelluccio & the Piano Grande

High above Norcia lies the breathtakingly beautiful Piano Grande, a flat meadow stamped into the foothills of the Sibillini Mountains that, come early summer, is painted every colour of the rainbow by astonishing swathes of wild flowers. Above it is the village of Castelluccio: bleakly remote out of season, yet dreamily alluring in its hill-top beauty. It seems to float between the richer and poorer (northern and southern) halves of the country – a symbol, perhaps, of Umbria itself in Italy’s half-forgotten ‘green heart’.
To delve deeper and linger longer, we suggest:
Umbria - Italy's Green Heart
Journey in Italy
The beautiful landscapes of romantic & mystical Umbria
Little-known Umbria delights with its varied landscapes, fascinating history of saints and abbeys, varied wildlife and tasty cuisine.
read more >
23 Apr-15 Jul & 27 Aug-30 Oct 2016