Why Umbria is the new Tuscany

Top 5 reasons to buy property in Umbria / Wikimedia
29 April 2019, Tom Beck

Tuscany is many people’s dream holiday destination and undoubtedly a great place to buy property in Italy, but Umbria is Italy’s new up-and-coming area. You may have heard of Umbria before, but not know much about this wonderful Italian region.

We’re here to fill you in on all the juicy gossip about the open secret that is Umbria. Where is Umbria? What is Umbria famous for? Is Umbria a good place to visit and buy property? We’ll answer all these questions and more in the hope that you'll consider Umbria for your next holiday destination or to buy a new home in Italy.

1. Umbria is cheaper than Tuscany

House prices in Umbria are half those in Tuscany / Flickr

One of the main reasons many holidaymakers and house hunters in Italy are increasingly looking to Umbria instead of Tuscany is because house prices have risen somewhat in Tuscany of late. You can enjoy La Dolce Vita in an Umbrian restaurant, eating white truffle pasta and sipping full-bodied wines for half the price than in Florence.

Rental prices for a luxury villa with a private swimming pool in the green Umbrian hills are, on average, 20-30% lower than in Tuscany. This also goes for sales prices for luxury houses in Umbria, which are even cheaper than the already fairly affordable luxury properties in Tuscany, meaning here you can buy your Italian property and live comfortably for less. This is mainly due to the fact that everyone knows about Tuscany, but Umbria is still something of an unknown for many expats.

If that’s not enough to convince you, know that Ed Sheeran bought a house in Umbria recently, and Gwyneth Paltrow has been holidaying in Umbria for years!

2. Umbria has great food and wine

Tuscany is popular among ex-pats in Italy for its excellent cuisine and high-quality wines, and for good reason, but Umbria can more than hold its own when it comes to food and drink. Umbria is famous for using meat and game in its cooking, as well as local truffles and porcini mushrooms.

Umbria has such good truffles, it even has its own fair dedicated to them, the Black Truffle Festival of Norcia, which takes place in February each year in the town of Nursia. What’s more, this beautiful town in Umbria has a very special and delicious pasta dish that it has gifted to the rest of Italy, the “Strozzapreti”.

Aside from the quality food, each village in Umbria houses plentiful vineyards and olive groves, and the Umbrians are famed for their excellent wines. One of the best is Sagrantino di Montefalco, the most famous Umbrian wine, made only from 100% Sagrantino grapes from Montefalco. The microclimate of the area infuses the grapes with a peculiar and flavoursome taste that is not to be missed.

3. Umbria has art and culture

The city of Perugia, Umbria's capital, has ancient architecture and art / Wikipedia

While it’s true that Umbria doesn’t have Michelangelo’s David or any of the other incredible masterpieces present in Tuscany, there is no shortage of architectural and artistic wonders on display in Umbria.

Almost all Umbrian churches are free to go in and look around, and many of them contains some of Italy’s best paintings and artwork. Umbria is the home of such historical towns as Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi. The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi is full off amazing frescoes and other art that pays homage to the saint.

Other Umbrian hill towns to visit include Perugia, Orvieto, Gubbio, Todi and Spoleto, but don’t miss the smaller, and in some ways more picturesque, medieval villages in Umbria like Montefalco, Spello, Trevi, Città di Castello, Città della Pieve, Montone, Bettona, Bevagna, Monte Santa Maria Tiberina and many more historical towns tucked into the green hills of Umbria.

Aside from such historical tourism, Umbria can also boast one of the most popular jazz festivals in the world. The Umbria jazz festival 2019 takes place in Perugia from 12th-21st July and there is even a winter jazz festival from 28th December to 1st January.

4. Umbria is a well-connected region

Umbria has great infrastructure and easy transport links to other places in Italy and the rest of the world. Halfway between Florence and Rome, it only takes about 2 hours to get to either one, from where you can fly to many major international destinations. From the San Francesco D’Assisi Umbria International Airport, Ryanair even flies to London and Malta, so you can get to the UK or receive visitors from there in no time!

Even better, both the beaches on the Adriatic Sea on Italy’s east coast and the Tyrrhenian sea on the Tuscan coast at Grosseto to the west are easily accessible from central Umbria.

5. Umbria has the highest quality of life

Quiet, peaceful village in the Umbrian countryside / Pixabay

According to a study published by the Italian economic newspaper “Il sole 24 ore”, Umbria is the Italian region where people are happiest. The slow pace of life in the countryside means that people here are less stressed, more cheerful and healthier.

The main thing you notice about Umbria when you go is how green everything is, and it’s not for nothing that it’s known as “Italy’s green heart”. The colour green inspires calm, peace and balance, but also vitality and hope, which is everything you’re sure to find if you come to Umbria.

Tuscany is obviously one of the top destinations in Italy for a vacation or to buy a house, but it’s clear that Umbria can hold its own as one of the best Italian regions.

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