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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Playing Knights and Princesses: Exploring Umbria with Kids

skyline of Brufa, frazione of Torgiano, Perugi...
skyline of Brufa, frazione of Torgiano, Perugia, Umbria, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By []Giovanni Balboni

When getting together the family for a trip to Italy, it's important to know whether the surrounding areas will have interesting and kid-friendly activities that the whole family will appreciate. In Umbria, villas are often situated in beautiful hillside landscapes and offer easy access to daytrips that can connect children to local culture, architecture, and history. But it doesn't have to all be learning with no fun - many local attractions now offer special family guides that specialise in making history accessible and exciting.

Castles: Rocca Maggiore in Assisi

Kids generally love castles, and most hilltop towns have castles in Umbria. Villas, tiny streets and little local homes descend from the castle's front gates.  Climbing to the entrance can be exciting on its own, but letting childrens' imagination run free might find themselves in a game of warriors, or conquer the castle (but with a real castle!). The grandest castle for conquering is the Rocca Maggiore in Assisi, which looms large over the entire city. Climbing the mountain to the castle you leave the town behind, making it like going on an adventure. Once inside there are historical recreations of medieval life in Umbria, with displays showing costumes, weapons, and even your occasional re-enactment. It connects to a fortress wall that surrounds some of the city, which you can wander along and explore.


Not every school has to inspire dread - the art school in Deruta offers day classes in ceramics, decorative tiles, and painting. A master will lead you and your family through the techniques of a Majolica painting, from the original majolica tile to the beautiful symmetrical design, finishing with the vibrant colours and finishes. This makes a great souvenir to take back from your holiday!


In Umbria, villas are often surrounded by forests, and in those forests are truffles. Tartufi Bianconi, based in Citt� di Castello, offer truffle-hunting trips in Italy's forests. With expert truffle hunting dogs and real forest boars, guides from the group will take you and your family on an expedition where you can learn about this age-old tradition. There aren't many opportunities in life to make friends with a truffle-hunting dog and his friend the boar, all while searching for buried treasure. After the hunt, you can go into the visitor's centre and check out all the truffle related objects that they've collected over the years.

Medieval Gubbio

Imagine life in the middle ages with a trip to Gubbio, the gothic medieval town in northern Umbria. Villas and buildings in this town are connected by narrow alleyways, cobbled streets, and charming town squares. Take a guided tour of the old city and come across the lovely fountain in the centre of town. People used to say that if you walked three times around the fountain you would render yourself mad, so luckily you just have to pass it once on your way to a genuine medieval home that's open to the public. The same people who own this home have a medieval shop where you can check out old weapons, horses' harnesses, and a whole collection of other interesting objects.

Giovanni Balboni works for To Tuscany, who specialise in finding the perfect []Umbria villas as well as selected villas in Chianti and Puglia. To Tuscany is proud of their villas and their reputation. All our []Umbria villas are personally selected and visited by our representatives to ensure we offer only the best in the region.

Article Source: [] Playing Knights and Princesses: Exploring Umbria with Kids

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