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Holidays to Italy's countryside invoke images of a warm sun beating down on the red rooftops of a village nestled in dense green hillsides. Grape vines rustle in the wind and ivy clings to parched brick walls. These holidays are made for those with an eye for beauty, be it in a field of wildflowers, on a tapestry, or in the ruins of a crumbling palazzo.
The exquisite rural landscapes of Umbria and Tuscany offer the best of the Italian countryside. In Tuscany, medieval architecture and ancient landmarks itch to be explored. Fine wines wait to hit discerning palates in the Chianti wine region. Assisi, the hometown of St Francis, the patron saint of Italy, sits on top of a hill in Umbria. Watch the pilgrims who come from all over the world to visit his tomb inside the Saint Francis Basilica or head to the capital, Perguia, where Jazz meets chocolate in two famous festivals. In the Piedmont Countryside, you’ll see plenty of medieval towns set among a backdrop of vineyards, plus lots of opportunities to sample the excellent Michelin-starred cuisine. Basilicata is relatively unexplored, compared to other regions in Italy, so you can expect untouched scenery and historic hilltop towns.
When you book a holiday through Citalia, you can rest safe in the knowledge your trip has been meticulously planned by our Italian holiday specialists. For the past 90 years, we've been using our expertise to ensure our customers experience Italy at its best. We love Italy, and we want to make sure you do too.
Umbria and Tuscany sit next to each other in the centre of Italy, making it easy to visit both regions in the same Italian countryside holiday. If you want to include a trip to the seaside, Tuscany has some beautiful beaches along its coast, such as Viareggio and Torre del Lago. Landlocked Umbria may not offer any seafaring, but it's the place to go if you want to enjoy an area with fewer tourists and a rural feel. Make sure you visit Spello, Montefalco and Bevagna, three medieval hillside walled towns, each with their own charm. Both regions present opportunities for relaxation. Montecatini Terme, a historic spa town in Tuscany is famous for its thermal waters, and Fontanaro in Umbria is an organic farm and culinary school where you can harvest olive oil or take a cooking class.
For those who want to explore the north-west of Italy the Piedmont Countryside would be an excellent choice. With views of endless vineyards and medieval towns it should definitely be at the top of your must-visit list. While you’re there pay a visit to Gavi and Pollenzo, it’s where some of the finest wines in the area are produced. In the south of Italy you’ll find Basilicata, full of rolling hills and quaint towns, it’s perfect for those who want to discover traditional Italy. The former capital of Basilicata – Matera, is steeped in history, explore the pre-historic stone houses that were the dwellings of the first settlers some 9000 years ago.
Umbria is ideal for a holiday in Italy’s countryside. It’s a utopia of rippling green hills flecked with Etruscan relics and medieval hill towns, including Orvieto. Its cathedral has a remarkable mosaic facade, while its streets are full of little cafés where you can dine al fresco as you watch the world go by. Umbria also boasts the fourth biggest lake in Italy, Lake Trasimeno. It is surrounded by small medieval villages, vineyards and olive groves. After you've taken a boat ride across the lake, you can explore this fascinating area on foot or by bicycle.
Your holiday wouldn't be complete without a trip to the capital city of Tuscany, and the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence. Italy has an extensive train network, so wherever you stay Florence is only a short ride away. Head to the Piazza della Signoria in the Centro Storico to see a copy of Michelangelo's David, and then onto the Galleria degli Uffizi for stunning examples of Renaissance art.
The rural landscape of Italy’s countryside regions is home to rolling vineyards producing well-known varieties of wine, including Chianti Classico and Montepulciano.
Cucina povera, or peasant cooking, features frequently on traditional menus, and includes filling soups made with grains and vegetables and served with freshly made bread. Those visiting Umbria should try some of the region's famous truffles, which are often grated over simple pasta dishes adding delicious flavour.