Umbria included in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2023: it is the only Italian destination

Umbria is part of Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2023, the 30 places that the renowned travel and tourism publishing house recommends to its readers as must-see destinations each year. Umbria is the only Italian destination for next year. The award was presented yesterday in Perugia.

Umbria is theonly Italian region included in Best in 2023 by leading travel publishing house Lonely Planet. In fact, the house famous for its highly successful travel guides includes the region of Central Italy in Best in Travel 2023, the annual publication that includes thirty destinations considered unmissable around the world, selected with input from the publishing house’s staff, authors, journalists, bloggers and editors. The announcement was made in mid-November, when Best in Travel 2023 was officially unveiled, and yesterday Umbria’s entry into Lonely Planet’s “best” was celebrated with an event held at the National Gallery of Umbria in Perugia’s Sala Podiani in the presence of the president of the Region of Umbria, Donatella Tesei, and Lonely Planet’s vice president, Tom Hall, with speeches by theRegional Councillor for Tourism and Culture, Paola Agabiti, the director of the National Gallery of Umbria, Marco Pierini, the director of Lonely Planet Italy, Angelo Pittro, and the Councillor for Urban Planning of the Municipality of Perugia, Margherita Scoccia.

In 2022, the only Italian place to have made it into Lonely Planet’s “best of” list was Florence, in 2021 the ranking was not published, and in 2020 the honor fell to Marche. This year, the 30 destinations were divided into five categories: “Eat,” “Journey,” “Connect,” “Learn,” and “Unwind.” Umbria was included in the “Eat” category along with Lima (Peru), Fukuoka (Japan), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Montevideo (Uruguay) and South Africa. Completing the Best in Travel 2023: for the Journey category, Nova Scotia (Canada), Bhutan, Colombia National Parks, Istanbul to Sofia train, Western Australia, and Zambia; for the Connect category, Accra (Ghana), Albania, Sydney (Australia), Guyana, Boise (USA), and Alaska (USA); for the Learn category, New Mexico (USA), El Salvador, Dresden (Germany), Marseille (France), Manchester (UK) and southern Scotland; for the Unwind category, Dominica, Halkidiki (Greece), Jamaica, Jordan, Malta and Raja Ampat (Indonesia).

Perugia, Palazzo dei Priori in notturna. Foto Lonely Planet
Perugia, Palazzo dei Priori at night. Lonely Planet photo

“Italy’s green heart,” as Umbria calls itself, the region “is a land unto itself,” says Lonely Planet, “the only Italian region that borders neither the sea nor another country. This isolation has kept outside influences at bay and ensured that many of Italy’s ancient traditions survive today. Travel here, and you will still see grandmothers in aprons making pasta by hand and doors to houses that have not been locked for centuries. The region is best known for its medieval hilltop towns, many beautifully preserved. The Etruscans, Romans, feuding medieval families and Renaissance artists have all left their mark, from Orvieto’s great Gothic cathedral to Assisi’s frescoed basilica. But nature has also played its part, contrasting the wild beauty of the Sibillini Mountains with the gentle rise and fall of green hills and meadows dotted with wildflowers.” Lonely Planet’s page devoted to Umbria then lists the gastronomic delicacies that warrant inclusion in the “Eat” category, from black truffles to local wines.

Umbria’s entry in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel was accompanied by a tour through which two groups of nine journalists from various newspapers, selected by Lonely Planet and the Region of Umbria, went to discover the territory and places of Perugino to tell their stories in Italy and abroad. This initiative, explained Councillor Agabiti, will serve to “launch a form of tourism that goes beyond the idea of hit and run, but oriented instead, to discover the various territorial areas, each with its own story, where cultural greatness is intertwined with that of the excellence of regional food and wine.” For the councillor, Umbria’s entry in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel “is the result of a great work that has led to start a path to promote the image of the region through our tradition to develop a very important promotion project. A work that started, which led in 2022, to an increase in tourist flows extremely positive and a real ’attractiveness’ of Umbria that reached its record during the summer. In fact, from June to September, Umbria records 1,163,681 arrivals and 3,532,087 presences, with an increase on 2019 of 4.6 percent and 11 percent, respectively.” Agapiti went on to point out that “the regional administration in this path of promotion wanted to involve all the protagonists of the sector, from accommodation facilities to tourist attractors, from trade associations to all interested businesses.”

For Lonely Planet vice-president Tom Hall, “everyone in Lonely Planet is excited to present Umbria in Best in Travel 2023. We flagged and chose Umbria for its incredible food and wine offerings, best explored in Perugia and nearby Solomeo and Assisi. All of Umbria offers beautiful towns and villages, views of green hills and a relaxed pace of life. Thanks to Best in Travel, our columnists and experts show us how to leave the crowds behind and truly get to the heart of each destination.”

Duomo di Orvieto. Foto: Comune di Orvieto
Orvieto Cathedral. Photo: Municipality of Orvieto

During the presentation held at the National Gallery there was also a chance to mention the exhibition dedicated to Perugino that will be held in the halls of the museum in Perugia from March 4 to June 11, 2023, and that promises to be a research exhibition, particularly refined and with important loans from national museums (first and foremost the Uffizi) and international ones that will be not mere lenders, but true partners: “We have put together a real task force,” stressed Marco Pierini, director of the National Gallery of Umbria, “to account for the infinite greatness of Perugino, who suffered too much from being Verrocchio’s pupil in an incredible workshop and Raphael’s master. We want to make it clear that there was no painter who did not look to Perugino.” Also in 2023, events will be held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Umbria jazz festival, partly hosted at the National Gallery. “This is a sign of a collaboration that wants to promote the territory and its excellences, and Lonely Planet’s recognition is proof that by working as a team, excellent things can be done,” Pierini reiterated. “In addition to the exhibition, we have focused on related activities,” the director continued, “we have collaborated on the project of Arpa and the Region that won the Culture Fund call that will allow the creation of a docufilm dedicated to Perugino by Ballandi Multimedia, which will go to movie theaters during the exhibition; we will publish a book that will collect all the documents on Perugino; and we will invest a lot in communication. The exhibition is essentially financed with public money (thanks to the Committee and the trust of the General Directorate of Museums in the person of Professor Massimo Osanna), yet despite the support of sponsors and Foundations, we are at half of what we used in 2004. Our strength is in the project, the team and international relations: but do not leave us alone. We have opened an Art Bonus project: it is good to be many pushing in the same dimension. Being autonomous means having more freedom to involve others.”

“Being here,” commented the director of Lonely Planet Italy, Angelo Pittro, “is the culmination of months of work. The listing of Umbria as a must-see destination for 2023 was released a few weeks ago. We are taking the essence of this land around the world, but today we also wanted to tell something directly about the territory.”

Concluding the presentation was the president of the Umbria Region, Donatella Tesei, who expressed her satisfaction by saying that the result achieved “is the result of teamwork carried out with great determination even in moments of great difficulty such as the pandemic. We worked with courage by carrying out a promotional action that yielded excellent results during the first openings during the health emergency phase. Now this project has grown and has been shared across the territory. Umbria has grown a lot from the point of view of the proposal of cultural events that meet great public interest. This is also demonstrated by the great results achieved by the Perugia Airport.”

Veduta di Narni
View of Narni. Photo Tourism Narni

Umbria included in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2023: it is the only Italian destination
Umbria included in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2023: it is the only Italian destination

Warning: the translation into English of the original Italian article was created using automatic tools. We undertake to review all articles, but we do not guarantee the total absence of inaccuracies in the translation due to the program. You can find the original by clicking on the ITA button. If you find any mistake,please contact us.