Spello is an ancient town in Umbria that remains a hidden gem just off the main tourist trail in central Italy. Situated at the foot of Mt Subasio in the province of Perugia the beautiful walled town retains its old world charm and laid back pace of life. Spello is much quieter than the nearby Assisi, which attracts millions of tourists a year, but still retains all the magic of the region where you can enjoy a quality wine with a homemade antipasti in a restaurant full of locals instead of foreign tourists.
The medieval town has an astonishing skyline with its stone buildings climbing up the arching slope of St Francis’ mountain with fantastic views across the Valle Umbra. Surrounded by a lovely patchwork of countryside with forests and farms, excellent hiking and dozens of incredible churches, museums and sites of historical interest, the small town has an astonishing amount to offer the visitor.
Spello, and the region of Perugia, is a cultural treasure chest that is full of amazing sites of artistic and historical significance. While you’re there you simply must sample the legendary Italian food of the central provinces. As well as amazing pasta dishes, salads, homemade breads and finger snacks, you can also find pizzarias, steak houses and some of the finest wines in the world!
In the quietly bustling town of Spello you’ll also find a great range of accommodation, from hotels to Air Bnbs nestled in amongst the classic winding streets lined with stores for you to explore while discovering the local crafts, wine, food and small churches that dot the region. Spello makes the perfect destination for a weekend break, a romantic getaway or a quiet week of reflection. If you want to get to know the region a little better and spend a few weeks there, then Spello makes the perfect place to make your vacation HQ from where you can take day trips and outings to the many surrounding attractions that Perugia has on offer.
How do you get to Spello?
Italy is a highly developed country in the heart of Europe and is easy to get to, by plane, train or even by car if you’re visiting from Continental Europe. The transport system within Italy is second to none, with sensible connections and helpful, multilingual staff on hand to help.
If you’re coming by air then you can fly into Milan from many international airports around the world, with a maximum of one or two connecting flights. Once you arrive in Milan you can take a connecting domestic flight to the Perugia airport which is less than a 20 minute drive away from Spello. Once you reach the airport in Perugia you can easily hire a car, take a taxi or catch a local bus into Spello.
If you’re catching the train into Spello from the airport in Perugia, you need to catch the Foligno to Florence trainline, and get off at Spello. You can also take a long distance train to Spello from Rome which also has an international airport. The long distance trains are a lovely way to see the countryside and really get a feel for the Italian heartland. Make sure that you check with ticket staff to ensure that the train you catch stops at Spello because some of the longer distance trains only stop at major stations en route.
Travelling by car is a great way to get to Spello that allows you to see the countryside as well as stop off to grab a bite to eat and refreshments on your way. To reach Spello (from Rome) you need to drive down the Autostrada A1 heading north towards the city of Florence. Take the exit at Orte and then follow the superstrada in the direction of Terni heading towards Perugia, following the road past Assisi until Spello is the exit before Foligno. If you are driving in Italy for the first time, it’s advisable to use a Satnav system or make use of google maps and travel planners on your phone so you don’t get lost!
When is the Best Time to visit Spello?
The best time of year to visit Spello is undoubtedly in the summer time, although in mid summer temperatures can get quite high, and even though it’s the busier tourist season you’ll find that you are better catered to because during the quiet season some of the smaller hotels close down. But don’t worry, even if you visit in the high season you’ll find that Spello is not too busy, since it’s just off the main tourist track, so you’ll have the freedom to easily visit the main attractions in the region and still be able to return to your accommodation in the quieter countryside retreat of the old medieval town!
What is there to do in Spello?
Although Spello is a small town, it has a thriving local economy with plenty to see and do, so take in the timeless atmosphere of the ancient place while exploring its fascinating streets.
Taste the street food of Spello! No visit to Spello would be complete without sampling the outstanding street food that is available from small bistros throughout the town Enjoy freshly made bread, antipasti, homemade pizzas and much more!
Visit the medieval Roman amphitheatre on the outskirts of Spello, which although not fully excavated, still makes a good day trip when it’s open to the public (check before you go because it’s sometimes closed). There’s also some very pleasant countryside you can enjoy hiking around.
Visit the museum of art, the Pinacoteca Civica, where treasures and artifacts from the region are stored and put on display. You’ll also find some of the region’s most important artwork in the churches of St Maria Maggiore and St Andrea in Spello just next door to the museum. If you’d like to see some more modern artwork then head to the town’s main square and explore the Museo di Norberto.
Infiorata Flower Festival. This spectacular festival is on between the end of May and early June each year, on Corpus Domini Sunday, so if you’re planning a trip at this time of year you will have a wonderful time seeing this and the amazing carpet of flowers that is central to the festival!
Take a walking tour around the old town of Spello. Explore the old streets and visit the medieval town hall (the Palazzo Communale) which is home to some of the town’s oldest artifacts, including some that date as far back as the Roman Emperor Constantine who is famous for converting to Chritianity in the early 4th Century AD.
Across the valley, within easy reach by a short taxi ride, is Assisi, and the world famous Basilica del San Francisco. Founded by the famous Christian saint, St Francis of Assisi, it’s a glorious structure that you must visit while in the region. While you’re there you can admire the superb frescoes by Giotto.
During the summer you can spend an elegant evening near the Church of St Claudio, in the Villa Fidella where outdoor concerts are held, which makes a fantastic choice for a romantic evening and is a must see experience for any culture buff.