Countryside landscape of Tuscany rolling hills at sunset (in the picture above), in comparison to the green valleys of Umbria (picture below). Both regions are ideal for Italy summer holidays.

Luxury villa holidays in Italy are simply iconic, thanks to a rich tapestry of history, art, culture, and culinary delights. Despite these commonalities every corner of the country boasts its own distinct identity. When considering a villa in Tuscany or Umbria, this couldn’t be more true. Nestled in the centre of the peninsula, they both encapsulate similar qualities with their rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves, medieval villages and luxury villa retreats. Nevertheless, it’s essential not to overlook what makes them unique. Whether you’re drawn to the quintessential scenes of Tuscany or the quieter charm of Umbria, discover these timeless destinations. Read our guide and pick the perfect Italian countryside summer holiday for you.

The Scenery in Umbria and Tuscany

Comparison between the Tuscan and Umbrian scenery. In the picture above, the port in the Island Elba in Tuscany. In the picture below, the green valleys surrounding the village Castelluccio di Niorcia in Umbria.

Travellers are greeted with picturesque vistas whether in Umbria or Tuscany. Rolling hills, verdant countryside, and serene olive groves, create a canvas of tranquillity. However, both regions offer their own distinct scenic delights for luxury holidays in Italy.

Loyal to its nickname – The Green Heart of Italy – Umbria’s landscape is vibrant and showcases true natural beauty. With an extensive network of hiking trails, rugged peaks, and lush valleys, it is a true paradise for adventurers. Although Umbria is Italy’s sole landlocked region, it boasts several lakes, adding another layer of allure to the captivating scenery. Do not miss the expansive Lake Trasimeno, renowned as the largest lake in central and southern Italy. Our luxury villas in Umbria embrace the region’s stunning landscapes, boasting awe-inspiring views and sympathetic design. For further insight into some of our gorgeous luxury villas in Umbria, read our blog about The Murlo Estate!

Tuscany however boasts a diverse landscape that includes the famed countryside, as well as the Mediterranean coastline. With its charming towns and sun-kissed beaches, Tuscany caters to those seeking an Italian seaside holiday. Chic towns, such as Forte dei Marmi, offer a perfect blend of cultural immersion and seaside relaxation. Visitors can also explore the enchanting Tuscan Archipelago, with jewels like the islands of Elba and Giglio.

Further inland, the Tuscan countryside is more gentle than its Umbrian counterpart. Vineyards and olive groves are bracketed by stately cypress trees, behind which peek luxury Tuscan villas and sleepy villages. Will you choose a luxury villa holiday in Tuscany or decide Umbria is your preferred region? Either way you are guaranteed a vacation in one of the world’s most beautiful destinations.

Cities and Towns

Umbria and Tuscany alike offer vibrant tapestries of cities and towns, each rich in history, unique local traditions, and allure.

In Umbria, the atmosphere is decidedly slower-paced; the small towns radiate a sense of tranquillity and authenticity. Here, visitors on a luxury villa holiday to Umbria can immerse themselves in the genuine Italian way of life, escaping the crowds and savouring simple pastoral pleasures. With only two main cities, Perugia and Terni, Umbria remains a region defined by its villages and towns. This is where the true essence of Italian hospitality thrives.

On the other hand, Tuscany dazzles with its array of vibrant cities, long basking in the international limelight. From the cultural hub of Florence to the medieval splendour of Siena, Tuscany’s cities offer a blend of history, luxury, and cosmopolitan flair. On a luxury villa holiday to Tuscany, visitors can indulge in haute couture shopping along elegant boulevards or revel in the buzzing nightlife of trendy clubs. Alternatively, marvel at architectural masterpieces like the iconic Duomo of Florence. While both regions boast landmarks showcasing Italy’s artistic and architectural brilliance, Tuscany’s cities add a dynamic energy and sophistication to the Tuscan landscape, creating unforgettable experiences on a luxury summer holiday in Italy.

Hidden Gems on Holidays to Umbria and Tuscany

View over the green valleys surrounding Castelluccio di Norcia in Umbria. This is a hidden gem to discover during Italy summer holidays.

Similarly, whether in Umbria or Tuscany, adventurous travellers can uncover hidden gems that offer a glimpse into the authentic heart of Italy. Each region boasts a wealth of small medieval towns and villages waiting to be discovered. Time seems to stand still and history whispers through narrow cobblestone streets.

However, it’s in Umbria where the true essence of undiscovered beauty truly shines. With its lesser-known status compared to Tuscany, Umbria hides away a plethora of charming towns and secluded corners that have feel untouched by tourism. Meander through ancient alleyways, stumble upon hidden piazzas, and soak in the peaceful ambiance of unspoiled landscapes in a luxury villa in Umbria. Umbria’s hidden gems offer a rare opportunity to experience Italy in its purest form, away from the crowds often found in tourist hotspots.

While Tuscany undoubtedly boasts its share of enchanting hidden treasures, its well-deserved popularity has rendered many of its most beautiful towns and rural areas well-known among visitors. Nevertheless, for visitors looking for authentic experiences on their holiday to the Italian countryside, there are some unmissable destinations worth exploring. One of the best preserved villages in Tuscany is Civitella in Val di Chiana; in the heart of ‘the land of good eating and good living’ this is where you’ll find the finest olive oil. Nearby Montepulciano will be a name familiar to wine-lovers! A beautiful Renaissance settlement, this elegant hilltop town is perfectly sized to amble around, followed by wine-tasting at one of the renowned local vineyards, during a holiday at a luxury villa in Tuscany.

Umbria’s best offerings remain little-known and undiscovered, promising intrepid travellers a truly authentic Italian experience on an Umbrian villa holiday. However, it’s nevertheless possible to discover a taste of ‘real Italy’ on a holidays to a luxury villa in Tuscany as well.

Food and Wine in Umbria and Tuscany

Traditional dish from I Sette Consoli restaurant (picture above) and a gourmet dish from the restaurant Il Piccolo Principe.

Restaurants in Umbria and Tuscany

Umbria and Tuscany both stand as culinary hubs. Each with its own distinct flavours and gastronomic traditions that delight the senses of food enthusiasts worldwide.

Umbrian cuisine celebrates local produce including olive oil, salami, truffles and chocolate, with simple dishes that let the quality of the ingredients sing. From the Osteria Piazzetta dell’Erba in Assisi to the beloved I Sette Consoli in Orvieto, restaurants in Umbria charm diners with traditional recipes showcasing innovative twists. These delicacies are often served in family-run establishments for an authentic experience. Many of our vacation rentals in Umbria are offered on a self catered basis, allowing flexibility to explore the best restaurants and cuisine in the region! However, undoubtedly one of the most romantic experiences is an alfresco dinner at your luxury villa in Umbria; cooking up regional produce and sipping on fresh local Grechetto wine as the sun disappears over the horizon.

Restaurants in Tuscany showcase the pinnacle of fine dining with over 40 Michelin-starred restaurants. Indeed, the region offers a wealth of top-rated establishments that elevate Italian cuisine to an art form. Indulge in delicacies at Santa Elisabetta in Florence. Or enjoy the Mediterranean breeze at Il Piccolo Principe in Viareggio. For gourmets, a luxury villa holiday in Tuscany is an opportunity to sample the best restaurants in Italy. Choose a bed and breakfast or self-catered villa in Tuscany and explore the best foodie destinations!

No matter whether you choose a luxury villa in Tuscany or one of our Umbrian villa holidays, you can be assured of incredible cuisine. Whether it’s fine dining, serving up produce from the local market for a relaxed dinner in your villa, or savouring the freshest ingredients at family-run restaurants with carafes of wine and hearty recipes.

View over green vineyards.

Regional Wine in Umbria and Tuscany

When it comes to wine, Tuscany reigns supreme with its world-renowned labels and extensive wine production. Among the things to do on a villa holiday in Tuscany, don’t forget to stop at one of the many local wineries to savour some of Italy’s most famous wines, notably the Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. However, Umbria holds its own with niche gems like Sagrantino wines and the DOC-protected Orvieto wines. Here, wine enthusiasts will have a taste of the region’s unique terroir and winemaking heritage, perhaps discovering their next favourite!

Activity Holidays in Tuscany and Umbria

Family biking around the valleys of Umbria, surrounded by red flowers and mountains in the background.

Outdoor activities in Umbria and Tuscany promise unforgettable memories on Italy summer holidays. Whether you’re craving adrenaline-fuelled excitement or a peaceful communion with nature, these are the best places to rent a villa in Italy.

From hiking and biking to horse-riding, both regions provide ample opportunities to immerse oneself in nature. If you are looking for things to do in Umbria, try exploring the trails of national and regional parks. Discover the gorgeous waterfalls at Marmore and the impressive Roman engineering that created them. Hire a boat on Lake Trasimeno, and take a swim in the crystalline waters. For the ultimate family adventure, try completing (or partially completing!), the 104km cycling route from Assisi to Spoleto and Norcia. Suitable for the whole family, including children, it includes beautiful sights, and makes for an incredible family achievement on a villa holiday in Umbria.

While many consider Tuscany to be all about food and wine, there are nevertheless a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy on a luxury villa holiday in Tuscany. Experience the history of Tuscany and make a pilgrimage to the Franciscan monastery at La Verna. For local flora and fauna, explore the UNESCO Global Geopark of the Apuan Alps. One of the best bucket list activities in Tuscany is a hot air balloon ride; floating across the famous landscape is simply unforgettable. While on holiday in Tuscany, a day by the sea is a must! Enjoy the coastline, or take to the water with a boat charter. For the ultimate chill out day, choose a villa in Tuscany with a private pool for days spent relaxing together.

Whether you opt for a luxury villa holiday in Umbria or decide on a one of our villa rentals in Tuscany, the great outdoors has so much to offer in both destinations!

A Luxury Villa in Umbria or a Tuscan Villa Holiday?

In conclusion, luxury villa holidays in Umbria and Tuscany both offer a slice of Italian charm. Yet each presents a distinct experience tailored to different preferences. Tuscany beckons travellers with its diverse itinerary. A dynamic blend of big-city allure and countryside tranquillity. Picture yourself indulging in the grandeur of historic landmarks and panoramic vistas, alongside elegant wine tastings and picturesque sunsets. On the other hand, Umbria entices those seeking a more authentic adventure. With its smaller-scale towns, verdant landscapes, and a slower pace of life that fosters genuine local experiences.

Are you captivated by the allure of Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury boutiques? A luxury villa in Tuscany is the perfect choice for your next Italian vacation. Or would you rather discover the untouched authenticity of ‘the real Italy’? In that case, it simply has to be a luxury villa in Umbria! No matter your preference, both regions promise unforgettable journeys through the heart and soul of Italy. Ultimately, the choice between Umbria and Tuscany depends on your individual preferences. Whichever path you choose, a summer holiday in Italy is bound to be a memorable experience.

Are you still debating between Umbria or Tuscany? Should you have any questions on how to plan your Italian summer holidays, don’t hesitate to give our Travel Advisors a call on +44 (0)1202 203 656 or send us an email. Moreover, keep up to date on InstagramFacebook and our other blog posts for more inspiration.