Family holidays in Umbria (Italy)

Discover the best family-friendly destinations in Umbria

Rebecca Winke

Rebecca  Winke 
HomeAway travel expert 

Umbria Family Holidays

One of the benefits of visiting Umbria—indeed, visiting just about anywhere--with kids how they change the way we travel. Crafting a trip suitable for your entire family inevitably means adjusting (slowing!) the customary frantic pace and tailoring the itinerary to include activities that go beyond the typical museum/church relay.

These adjustments, however, end up giving everyone in the family the opportunity to experience this beautiful Italian region in whole new way.

Here are five suggestions for unique stops in Umbria that are fun for both grown-ups and kids (and may give the former enough bargaining power to get the latter to tour just one more church!):

Rebecca's verdict on Umbria

The lush Marmore waterfall park has an upper and lower observation deck and a picturesque hiking trail connecting the two. The falls don’t run all day; make sure you check times .

Assisi's Rocca Maggiore is a great place to picnic and run off steam after the a visit to the staid Basilica of Saint Francis. Make sure you bring your camera.  

The mercato delle Gaite in Bevagna (late June) features medieval artisan workshops making silk, paper, candles, iron, and other crafts with period costumes and tools. Fascinating for adults and kids.

The wide open expanse of the Piano Grande plateau in the Sibilline National Park is one of the most breathtaking vistas in the region, and a fabulous place to hike, bike, or take a donkey trek. Pair it with a visit to nearby foodie-mecca, Norcia.

Historic chocolatier Perugina offers chocolate classes at their museum and factory in Perugia. You have to pre-book but they do have an English-speaking pastry chef available for lessons. Don’t miss a visit to the factory, as well!

Top places for families in Umbria


Marmore waterfalls and water sports Water Sports

The reason Umbria is known as the “green heart of Italy” is both its position in the center of the peninsula and its lush vegetation--the result of the region’s ample annual precipitation. Because of this, there’s no lack of bodies of water for frolicking: lakes and rivers abound and can both amuse your kids and cool them off in the hot summer months.  Placid Lake Trasimeno on the Tuscan border offers beaches for swimming or ferries to two of the lake’s tiny islands, Isola Maggiore and Isola Polvese. The roaring Marmore Waterfall has trails which skirt the falls so closely that at times you get a refreshing natural spray.  Nearby, on the Nera or Corna rivers you can spend a day white water rafting with professional outfitters.

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Castiglione del Lago Games of Thrones

Umbria is covered with rolling hills—nearly each is topped by a town, and almost every hill town is topped by a fortress or castle!  Exploring these medieval strongholds for aspiring rulers (while their parental kings and queens enjoy the views from the strategic vantage-points) is always great fun.  Assisi’s Rocca Maggiore is by far the best castle in Umbria for kids to conquer—only partially restored, this stone fortress boasts tunnels, towers, and turrets galore.  Less dramatic, but still fun to visit, are the Castello del Leone in Castiglione del Lago and the Rocca Albornoziana in Spoleto. 

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Chicago Fun Festivals

Most towns in Umbria have one main annual festival--often center around the patron Saint’s feast day and in period medieval garb--and the town gets decked out with flags and banners from every window, taverne (temporary outdoor eating areas which range from refreshment stands to all out restaurant fare) sprout in the piazzas, and street musicians, costumed processions, reinacted medieval markets, crossbow tournaments, jousting, singing and dancing put everyone in a festive mood. Some festivals worth checking out are the Corsa all’Anello in Narni in April, Calendimaggio in Assisi and the Corsa dei Ceri in Gubbio in May, the Mercato delle Gaite in Bevagna in June.

Another traditional Umbrian event is the “sagra”, a locally-organized festival which highlights a specific food or dish--generally traditional specialties (in Umbria this could mean truffles or wild boar or goose)--and is publicized with posters hung along the roads and in the piazzas.  Sagras usually have a booth to place your food order, a tent with long communal tables to dine, a few carnival games, and a dance floor.  A sort of benign pandemonium reigns, which is the perfect vibe for kids who have spent the past few days being “good” in restaurants and churches and need an evening to let their hair down. One of the most popular is the annual onion festival in tiny Cannara (near Bevagna) in September.

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Piano Grande The Green Heart

Umbria is one of the most beautifully green places in Italy, so it’s easy to skip the churches and museums for a day and instead spend some time at one of the many regional parks.  They’re great places to relax and enjoy the view while the kids blow off some vacation steam, or you can walk the trails, eat al fresco, take a dip in the rivers or lakes, or enjoy a scenic drive.  Perhaps the most spectacular parks in Umbria are the Piano Grande in the Mount Sibilline National Park (where there are horse and donkey riding excursions) and the Mount Subasio and Mount Cucco Regional Parks (both of which have hiking trails or offer paragliding, for the courageous).

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Perugia Holiday Homes Back to school

The fun kind of school, of course.  There are many different day courses in Umbria which can be customized for kids.  Try learning how to roll out pasta with a local cook, make finger-licking desserts at Perugina’s School of Chocolate, head to the woods with a guide and dog to sniff out truffles, or pick grapes or olives in harvest season.  

Your family can experience one of your most memorable—and fun—trips in Umbria with just a bit of  creativity, research, and advance planning.  Come and discover what Italy’s Green Heart has to offer!

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Holiday homes for rent in Umbria

VILLA POGGIO VERDE 6 Sleeps, Stone Country House With Pool And Panoramic View Of Umbrian Hills

Villa Poggio Verde is a beautiful stone country house located on a hill overlooking a wide panoramic view. The interiors are well kept, functional and of very good taste. The materials used are of the highest quality and include the work of local ...

IL POGGETTO 12 / 8 sleeps, splenid stone villa with private park, pool, and breathtaking view of Umbrian hills and Todi

THIS VILLA IS AVAILABLE ALSO IN 8 SLEEPS VERSION, PLEASE CONTACT EMMA VILLAS. PRIVATE STRUCTURE. Il Poggetto is a delightful little villa suitable for those who wish to spend relaxing holidays surrounded by the green countryside of Umbria. The vil...

IL BORGO 16 / 12 sleeps, amazing Umbrian stone villa with splendid park, private pool, large terrace, in the green heart of Italy near the famous Assisi

THIS VILLA IS AVAILABLE ALSO IN 12 SLEEPS VERSION, PLEASE CONTACT EMMA VILLAS. RECEPTIVE STRUCTURE. Il Borgo is a characteristic farmhouse in open face stone situated on the gentle hills near Assisi. The property, dating to the 19th century, was i...

VILLA AUGUSTO 10 / 8 sleeps, villa with park, swimming pool, gym equipment and much more, on the Umbrian hills near Città della Pieve

THIS VILLA IS AVAILABLE ALSO IN 8 SLEEPS VERSION, PLEASE CONTACT EMMA VILLAS Villa Augusto is a charming property situated on the Umbrian hills near the attractive little town of Città della Pieve. The property, dating back to 1790, has been skil...

VILLA MORCIANO 10 sleeps, elegant country house in a 30-hectare wine estate in the heart of the Umbrian countryside, near Orvieto

RECEPTIVE STRUCTURE. Villa Morciano is an elegant country house dating back to the eighteenth century situated in a 30-hectare wine estate in the heart of the Umbrian countryside, just a few kilometres from Orvieto. Situated in a particularly peac...
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