Holiday ideas

Magical Umbria, amid fairy tales and adventures

Breathtaking scenery and uncontaminated nature, but also adventure, fun... and even thrills! Umbria has everything you need for an unforgettable vacation with your kids.

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Umbria and Mother Nature are an inseparable pair. Green as far as the eye can see, with a sprinkle of villages from bygone times, Umbria’s silent and majestic forests look straight out of a fairytale. In their midst, rivers and streams gurgle melodiously, slowly building into the crescendo of a roaring waterfall.

The most famous of Umbria’s waterfalls is undoubtedly the Cascata delle Marmoreone of Italy’s greatest natural attractions. Crafted by ancient Romans, it was designed in the third century B.C. to drain the Marmore plateau. With a 165-meter drop, the powerful cascade of water produces electricity for the towns below and is a sight to behold.

The amazing spectacle is illuminated by plays of light at nighttime, offering a truly unforgettable natural show. Around the Cascata delle Marmore, you’ll find four marked trails for hiking. More enterprising visitors can take part in numerous sports: from climbing up a specially-equipped climbing wall, to exploring caves carved out by water erosion, or rafting on the River Nera.

agriturismo salento

Nature and adventure go hand-in-hand in Città della Domenica, a modern zoological amusement park. Just two kilometers from Perugia, the four-hectare park sits on a green hill criss-crossed by walking paths where children can observe animals roaming freely.

The park’s inhabitants include various types of deer, the African lion, American bison, zebras, llamas, dromedaries, monkeys, ostriches, flamingos and many species of reptile including pythons, cobras, iguanas, anacondas and alligators. There’s also an aquarium where sharks and moray eels swim, plus an area dedicated to animals threatened by extinction, like the white Asinara donkey.

In addition to animals, children can also find fairytale characters and settings right out of a picture book. Aboard a pretty little train, they’ll chug through an enchanted forest home to Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and her castle, pixies’ houses and stone monsters, until they reach the Far West. The Park also organises educational workshops for all ages.

More wildlife and children’s play areas can be found at Parco del Sole, a nature reserve that stretches over four kilometers in the Umbrian countryside near Collazzone (not far from Deruta and Todi). 

The park is home to many animal species that reside in meticulously recreated habitats. For a fun and relaxing day with the whole family, there’s nothing better than Activo Park in the magnificent setting of Valnerina. 

The largest theme park in Umbria, Activo Park is a hub of outdoor activities. Bordered by a narrow, wild valley that rises up from the River Nera to an altitude of 1,700 meters atop Mount Coscerno, the park’s thousands of hectares boast a variety of excursions and adventures. Pathways suspended between the trees, educational lessons and entertainment are all geared for children.

A must for little thrill-seekers is “Il Barone Rampante” adventure park, where youngsters can learn the basics of climbing, or cavort along the adventure trail over the Bridge of Lianas, a log walkway, cableway and Tibetan bridge. The series of obstacles help children gain confidence in complete safety (full safety gear is provided).

Dreamers, on the other hand, will be spellbound by the Paese dei Balocchi, an open-air museum near Terni, that houses the Papigno cinema studios, where some of Roberto Benigni’s best films were made, including “Life is Beautiful” and the magical, “Pinocchio”. Sets from the film, “Pinocchio” are on display and visitors can attend film festivals, art exhibitions, concerts, shows and children’s workshops for a truly memorable experience.

Heading back into Umbria’s lush landscape, visit the spectacular Dunarobba fossil forest near Avigliano Umbro. 

The forest contains about fifty petrified sequoia logs that are over a million years old, possibly the result of a flood during the Jurassic period. Among the ancient tree trunks you can observe extremely rare examples of plant palaeontology, and delight the kids by walking where dinosaurs once roamed!

Another must-see in the Terni province is the WWF Oasis in Alviano. This marshy reserve measuring over ​​800 hectares was created by damming the River Tiber, fostering an ideal habitat for more than 150 native and migratory bird species. Along the walking path, observation points hidden among willows and poplars allow you to spot herons, cranes, geese and wild ducks, while shallow marsh areas equipped with stilted walkways get you close enough to take amazing photographs of mallards, hawks, cormorants and many other species.

Finally, kids who like spooky stories will be fascinated by the Romanesque crypt in the church of Santo Stefano in Ferentillo. Here lie several well-preserved mummies, clearly visible in glass cases, discovered in 1805. The mystery of the miraculous preservation of the corpses is linked to the church’s dry underground atmosphere and presence of special microorganisms that perfectly mummified the bodies - the oldest of which is over four hundred years old!  

Whichever of the attractions you choose to visit, Umbria is a spectacle in itself - a natural masterpiece with beautiful backdrops for every season. Enjoy the view by spending your family vacation at one of the region’s many farmhouses where nature and adventure beckon right outside your window. 

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