So, when is the best time to visit this beautiful green heart of Italy and our spectacular Lake Trasimeno?
Well, every season (except winter!) has it's charm. Spring when the green hills are sprinkled with flowers and the fields are buzzing with the sound of tractors. Or maybe the more mellow, earthy tones of Autumn and the olive harvest.
But my favourite is summer! I love the Summer months for walking, painting, sightseeing, relaxing …… simply living! To wake up each morning to a deep blue cloudless sky stretching right on to a glowing sunset predicting yet another beautiful day is heaven!
And the evenings!! I love the evenings! Warm and balmy evenings spent in garden restaurants lazily eating to the music of cicadas or lively ones spent at a local Festa or sagra. Walks at dusk along the lake. An unforgettable sail back at sunset from isola Maggiore to Passignano.
I can never understand why people avoid visiting here during the summer! Living in Umbria is slow and relaxed and the weather to be enjoyed not avoided!
But many people, thinking that all of Italy is smouldering hot, crowded and unbearable in in the summer (which Rome and further South is) choose April, May or October and are sometimes disappointed to find the weather very changeable.
We do have some beautiful days during Spring and Autumn. This year we have had temperatures up as high as 25C and wall to wall sunshine in April and early May when it's been great sunbathing on the beach but we've also had stretches of three and four cold days when it's done nothing but rain! For us residents, a few bad days are not too bad but if you are only here for a week … well, it will definitely be disappointing.
The really settled times are usually June, July and August. Generally we wake up every morning to blue skies and sunshine and go to bed following magnificent sunsets. Temperatures are in the high twenties to mid thirties by lunch time. When temperatures creep even higher, short but fierce late afternoon thunderstorms usually cool it down again.
Enjoying the heat is all a question of adopting the Umbrian daily routine. This means forgetting about that traditional holiday lie-in! Here, the day starts early at 7.30/8am with people up and out shopping, off to work or in bars having their traditional breakfast of coffee and cake. 9am is a really heavenly time to get out and walk or explore the quaint hill-top villages and towns. A perfect temperature. Beautiful light. Quiet and 'tranquille'.
Then at 12 when the heat has risen you can enjoy relaxing in a bar for an hour over a light lunch of Bruschetta before returning to your house or hotel for a quiet few hours relaxation, a swim or snooze. You'll find that the local towns go dead at 1pm. Shops close. People return home for lunch. You can also enjoy a visit to one of the higher hill-top villages like Panicale and Castel Rigone during the heat of the day or explore the wooded trails of Mount Subasio. These places are always a good few degrees cooler and fresher than lakeside towns with shady streets and beautiful wooded picnic areas.
Refreshed, you can then join the locals around 4pm either on the beach or for the daily 'passeggiata' … a leisurely stroll folllowed pre-dinner drinks. Restaurants open late here. There's not usually much point arriving before 7.30pm. Locals, especially on weekdays, will only be rolling in after 8.30pm and will continue arriving until gone 10pm.
The villages and towns are alive well into the evenings. Shops close around 9pm but bars and restaurants continue until late with people enjoying a post dinner 'gelato' and 'digestivo'. More exposed towns like Assisi and Spello and Montepulciano, smouldering hot by day are just magical in the evenings when they are less crowded and the cooler air allows you to wander through golden lit streets.
You will find that adopting this 'up early' and 'to bed late' routine wih a rest during the heat of the afternoon works really well and let's you make the most of your summer in Umbria.