A family that is seeking 100% relaxation as well as unwinding ambiance in Italy must choose an off beaten track with a halt in Umbria. This is one of the fewer known family vacation ideas for those who are on a Europe or Italy tour. Situated in the Perugia prefecture is the region of Umbria whose Spoleto Plain holds the scenic town of Bettona that is near the famous Assisi and Torgiano. Although the entire region of Umbria can be visited at any time of the year, I would recommend planning for off-season trip in October that would actually mean cheap accommodations and fewer tourists. And reaching here is also very easy – a train from Assisi or other cities like Florence and Rome and then a 20-minute car drive to Bettona.
Mostly composed of medieval walls as well as sandstone chunks of the Etruscan era, Bettona is a historic as well as lively cultural town. So, let your children experience the live world of history in form of big wooden gates, high walls, and the windows all of which reflect the fact that Bettona was a fortress and so also the site of legendary battles. As you pass via the Etuscan walls, you have to choose from several thinly paved streets that boast house apartments, edifices of two and three storeys, eateries, 5-star hotels, and two lovely worship places namely: the San Crispolto church and the Santa Maria Maggiore church. These meandering streets are reached by stone archways from where you can easily seize the 360 degree vistas of the valley of olive groves and the far away Perugia, Spello, and Assisi towns.
One of the secret family vacation ideas here is to cool down with a delicious Italian hot-chocolate at a cafe in mid morning, which in the cappuccino cup-saucer looks like a custard and is worth tasted by spoons. This is the scene in the town, but the experience is more elaborate and exciting in its surroundings. Amidst its olive groves, families can ride the bikes that are available on rent at some accommodations. This is the best way to explore the environment, while you still spot the different sights as well as music in the countryside. Your children will love this and as you ride together, you get a chance to smell the fresh aroma of thyme, Italian parsley, basil, mint, and more herbs that are cultivated in the flanking garden stretches along with the farm animals’ smell. While passing, just utter ‘Bon journo!’ and see how the locals smile with you.
If at all pedaling is not your family’s choice, catch a local bus for free named ‘Cat Assisi’ from atop a hill, which takes you through the olive groves and twisting farms on the hill top and also halts at many stops. This is the ride of some 30 minutes. On this tour, one of the exciting family vacation ideas is to buy fresh bread rolls and olives from a small supermarket for enjoying a picnic.
Okay, coming to the accommodations, you can choose from villas, old farmhouses, and hotels ranging from B&B to 5-star assets. A week or two stay should be best in a villa or 19th century traditional farmhouse that is today an apartment located around the valley.
At 15 km is the famous town of Assisi as the home of churches, San Francesca Monastery, and incredible vistas for which Europe has always been famous. Adorning the hill, the Assisi town is worth a visit in October when this ancient town is accessible via a tree-lined path road that fills up with orange and yellow embellishments. Once inside, obviously the major attraction is the stone monastery featuring the impressive carvings, stone art, and art of mosaics of the 12th to 13th centuries, Basilica San Damiano (St Damien), and Basilica San Chiara (St Clare). All these churches are well-worth a visit. Talking about the other old edifices here, most of them are now renovated as 5-star hotels or apartments. And finally, be at the walls from where you enjoy the vistas of the valley that looks over Perugia.