How to Travel Umbria by Train and Bus

Traveling through Umbrian towns

Want to enjoy a view like this one? Then get to—and get around—Umbria!

With its rolling countryside, fantastic food, and medieval hilltop towns, Italy’s region of Umbria is impossible not to fall in love with. What some visitors to Italy struggle with, though, is how to get there—and how to move around within Umbria once they’ve arrived.

Why is this tricky? Well, we’re always proponents of taking trains in Italy, but at first glance, Umbria can be a little tough. That’s because, first of all, most of the towns aren’t directly connected to big cities like Florence or Rome, meaning you have to switch trains once or twice to get to your destination. And secondly, medieval hilltop towns means no train station in the town—instead, stations tend to be a drive away.

(Nota bene: Yes, you could rent a car and drive. But for reasons we’ll explain further in a future post, we don’t always recommend this. Briefly: The Italian road and signage systems are different from back home, sometimes surprisingly so; there is a different [and, for foreigners, often scarier] driving etiquette, particularly on highways and in cities; and it can be very, very easy to get lost, especially on back roads and the countryside. For more on why you might want to think twice about renting a car in Italy, check out this hilarious account of what it can be like!)

Taking the bus in Umbria

Forget the Amalfi coast bus—the Umbrian bus is where it's at!

But guess what? Despite the apparent transport hurdles, it’s easier to get around Umbria than you might think! On our last trip to Umbria, we were surprised at how well-connected the towns are. We were also surprised at how beautiful the rides were! Both the Umbrian regional train and the buses took us past gorgeous farms, vineyards, forests, and hills.

Most information on how to take Umbria’s trains and buses is in Italian, however. And that’s where we come in. Want to get around Umbria and visit its loveliest small towns, without a car? Here’s how.

Step one: Figure out which trains connect towns in Umbria

Umbrian train line

One of the regional Umbrian trains

This can be a little confusing. Most people are used to using the official Trenitalia site to look up trains. While the Trenitalia site shows you the stops on the national rail service, though, it actually doesn’t include some regional lines, like the one in Umbria.

For that, go to this map of Umbria’s regional and national trains. The blue line represents the regional line; the black, the national line. On the left, “direzione Firenze” and “direzione Siena” mean those cities are in that direction. Same, of course, for “direzione Roma” on the bottom. That means that if you’re at any of those hubs, it’s fairly easy to hop on over to Umbria, and then switch to the regional rain.

Even on the black line, you’ve got lots of options. We especially love Narni, Spoleto, Spello, Trevi, and Assisi.

Once you’ve switched to the regional train, meanwhile, you can see that you can get off at even more towns in Umbria, some of them destinations in their own right, like Citta del Castello, Todi, and Perugia.

Step two: Check out the timetables for trains in Umbria

For the Trenitalia trains (black line), just go to www.trenitalia.it and enter your departure, destination, and date. For the regional trains (blue line), on the same map from above, just click on the town name you want to go to. A PDF will pop up with the complete schedule. Scroll down to the page with the name of the town you want to go to, and it’s all right there.

Step three: Figure out if the train station’s actually near the town

Narni, Umbria, where you have to get by bus

The hilltop town of Narni is beautiful—but, if you're walking, it's far from the train station, so get a bus!

Often, it’s not. But that’s okay. Buses regularly run from the stations to the towns, roughly corresponding with incoming trains. (They run less often, as do the trains, on Sundays and holidays).

Here’s how to find your bus: Either wait until you’re at the station and ask… or, if you want to make sure everything’s planned, go to this map of Umbria’s towns. Click on the town you want to get into. A PDF will pop up with all of the local transport (i.e., bus) options.

Skim the schedules for the little blue symbol of a train on tracks; that’s your train station. Read across to see all of the pick-up times (although be aware that we’ve found that, in practice, these aren’t usually exactly followed), and skim down to see the drop-off times. Generally, we don’t worry too much about exactly which stop is the one in the center—with medieval hilltop towns, you can tell when you’re close!

Step four: Check the buses between Umbrian towns

Taking the Umbrian bus

View from the bus from Todi to Gubbio... not bad!

Not all towns in Umbria have train stations. And even those that do might have a faster connection—even from, say, Rome—by bus. So it’s worth looking into bus schedules.

Sulga Autolinee connects cities, including Rome, Florence, Naples and Milan, with a number of Umbrian towns, like lovely Gubbio, Todi, and Assisi. For most other bus lines, go here. Click on the town you want to get to, and you’ll be shown even more options for getting there.

Putting it in action: Rome to Todi

For the sake of examples, let’s say I want to get to Todi (a lovely town!) from Rome.

The first thing I’d do is see what trains can get me there. By looking at this same, super-useful map, I can see that (great!) there’s a Trenitalia train that goes from Rome to Terni, and then I can hop on a regional train from Terni to Todi.

Beautiful Umbrian town of Todi

Yes, you CAN get to Todi without a car.

Next, I go to Trenitalia’s site and see when the Rome to Terni trains leave and arrive. Let’s say I want to take the 9:50am train from Roma Termini; I’ll get into Terni at 10:39am. With my arrival time in mind, I click on “Todi” for the PDF of the schedule. I scroll down until I find, on page 13, the Terni -> Todi -> Perugia schedule, and look down the times to see when a train leaves from Terni. (They make this even easier for you by, at the top, having a section called “Coincidenze da,” meaning the trains coming from big cities that the other trains correspond with). The train from Terni onto Todi that leaves at 11:10am is perfect. There are a couple of stops in Todi, so I do a quick Google search to see which is the main station; it’s Todi Ponte Rio, and the train arrives there at 11:53am. Great!

Now, though, I have to figure out how I get from Todi’s station into Todi’s center. I can call a taxi when I get there, but I want to see if I can take a local bus. Luckily, the Umbria transport website makes this easy, too. I click on “Servizi Urbani,” which brings me to this map. Then, I simply click on “Todi.” When the PDF of bus schedules pops up, I scroll down until I find the little train-station symbol, for “Staz.Todi”. The bus comes at 12:17pm, giving me some time to relax.

Still, that means that the whole trip will take about 2.5 hours. Not terrible, but I wonder if I can get there faster.

So, first, I check out inter-town bus lines on the same Umbria site. Buses listed here run from Todi to lots of other hubs, including Perugia and Assisi, but not Rome. So then I check the Sulga bus site. Success! “Citta di Castello – Todi – Rome” shows up on the front page. I click on “Orario Completo,” next to it, to make sure I can see everything. In the resulting PDF, on page 8, I see that I can take a bus from Rome’s Stazione Tiburtina at 4pm and arrive to Todi at 6pm. It’s definitely faster, and gets me right from Rome to the center of Todi without having to change lines—but, of course, I have to decide if arriving in the evening is okay.

Have any questions about travel in Umbria, or anywhere else in Italy? Let us know in the comments!

You might also like:

The Best Foods to Eat in Umbria and Tuscany

How to Take a Gondola in Venice

In Autumn, Truffle Festivals Take Over Italy

 

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41 Responses to How to Travel Umbria by Train and Bus

  1. simone June 29, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    To travel in Umbria with bus or train take a look at umbriamobilita.it website

  2. francesca August 25, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    looking at web page are the regionale trains located inside train station? are the intercity inside station? going to umbria and staying in spoleto,no car, will travel surrounding cities using public transportation. thank you.

    • walksofitaly August 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      Hi Francesca,
      It depends on what you mean, but most train stations host both intercity and regionale trains. Use trenitalia.it to ensure that the train you want goes to the station you want!

  3. Stanley April 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Hi thanks for the useful info!

    Are there any restrictions on the bag you can carry onto the Sulga bus?

    Thanks!

    • Walks of Italy April 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      Not that we’re aware of, Stan. Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  4. ellen marsh April 28, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Up-to-date information on places to stay in, not near, IN Panicale. Thank you.

    • Walks of Italy May 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      Hi Ellen,
      Panicale is an extremely small village, so we’re not sure there even are any hotels *in* Panicale! If you must stay in the town, therefore, you might consider looking at apartment/home rentals on Tripadvisor, AirBnB.com and HouseTrip.com. Please let us know if we can do anything else!

  5. Alexa Giacomini May 15, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Thank you so much for posting this information! I was wondering if you’d be able to provide me with some guidance… I’m trying to figure out transportation options between Gubbio and Todi (staying in the countryside outside both of these towns.) I have someone who can drop me off at either the Fossato di Vico train station or the one in Fabriano. Would it be easier to take the train or bus? I’m also open to hiring a private transfer since both locations (start and end points) are outside of town. I looked under your transfers section but it doesn’t seem like you do those… or do you? I’d appreciate any guidance you may provide. (Oh, and I think we might book the Rome-Pompeii-Amalfi Coast Tour. It looks wonderful!) Thanks!

    • Walks of Italy May 27, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

      Hi Alexa,
      We’re happy to help! We tend to like the bus between those two locations ourselves—you get some great views of the countryside. Plus, the train stations for both Gubbio and Todi are outside of the towns, so you have to take a bus then anyway from the station into the towns themselves. But it very much depends on your itinerary!

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  6. maya May 26, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    How to get from Vencie to Umbria?

    • Walks of Italy May 27, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

      Hi Maya,
      The fastest way is with the train, but it depends on where exactly you’re going, of course!

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  7. StVeronicaGiuliani June 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    How about Florence to Citta di Castello, and then to Rome (from Citta)? Is there any way I can ask you via email also? Thank you so much for posting this!

  8. Kathleen June 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    Thank you so much for posting this information. I’m trying to plan my 1st trip to Italy and Umbria and I’m going solo so I really don’t want to rent a car. I was hoping to base for a few days each in a few smaller towns, maybe Todi and/or Bevagna but I was thinking I couldn’t do that without a car. Even if I have to make a connection, the information you posted makes me think it might be doable. Thank you.

    • Walks of Italy June 27, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

      Hi Kathleen,
      We’re happy to help! And it’s definitely doable :-) Enjoy Umbria, and let us know if we can help with anything else!

  9. Flora July 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Hi,

    We are traveling to Umbria for a few days and leaving to go to Florence. What’s the closest train station to the toem of Umbria? thank you!
    Flora

    • Walks of Italy July 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      Hi Flora,
      It depends on where in the region of Umbria you’d like to go! From Umbria to Florence, you will probably wind up changing trains in Perugia or Cortona, but no matter where you stay in Umbria, as long as there’s a train station, you can get to Florence :-) Let us know if we can be of more specific help!

  10. malka wolman August 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Thanks for all the information. I’m a photographer, but have a limited time schedule in Umbria. If I have a choice of a town to visit that is really photogenic, does it make sense to choose Spoleto or Todi. Your advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Malka

    • Walks of Italy August 20, 2013 at 10:32 am #

      Hi Malka,
      Honestly, either one! Both are picturesque, medieval hilltop towns with a lot to recommend them. So we’d say just go with whatever one you feel more interested in, as we promise either will be perfect for photographs.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  11. Deborah November 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    My destination is Gubbio from Rome (Fiumicino) mid December. I can go to either Fossato di Vico or Perugia as then I will be met by friends. My question is, arriving at the Rome airport around noon, would it be easier to take a bus or train? I don’t speak Italian and want to keep the trip as simple as possible.

    • Walks of Italy November 25, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      Hi Deborah,
      There is no train station right in Gubbio, so it will probably be least hassle to take a bus directly to Gubbio. Otherwise, you can take a train to the station at Fossato di Vico/Gubbio, which is 18km from Gubbio, and from there buses run regularly to Gubbio itself.
      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  12. KIRSTY January 6, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    HIya,
    I need to travel to Citta di Castello, do you have recommendation of the easiest/quickest route? I am finding all this very confusing and need help!!
    Thanks.

    • Walks of Italy January 9, 2014 at 12:51 am #

      We’re happy to help! You’ll find that the cheapest flights go into Rome. From there, you’d take the regional train (trenitalia.com) from Rome to Perugia, then the Umbria local train (http://www.umbriamobilita.it/it/orari/servizio-ferroviario) from Perugia to Citta di Castello. You can also fly into Pisa, which might be slightly faster but more expensive.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  13. KIRSTY January 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

    Just to clarify….We havent purchased our flight tickets yet as we are unsure where to fly into…Pisa? Rome?. We need to be there on a Sat, so cannot fly into Perugia as not flights on that day. Thanks again.

  14. Robert February 3, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    My wife and I are traveling in Italy for three months. We would like to spend two weeks exploring Umbria. What is your thoughts on staying in Spoleto and getting there from Rome?

    • Walks of Italy February 5, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

      Hi Robert,
      We love Spoleto, and Spoleto is accessible from Rome, on about a 1.5-hour train ride. And it can make for a great base for exploring Umbria, but remember that the train station is just outside Spoleto (it’s a short bus ride from the station into the town)—but that is true for most of the Umbrian towns, as they are medieval hill towns and therefore can’t have stations within the walls, of course! Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  15. Gwyn February 6, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    We are 4 women traveling fall of 2014. We would like to stay for 2 days in a Agritourism farm around Orvieto .We will be coming from Florence by train and perhaps find a taxi in Orvieto to take us where we are staying(when we find a place). We would like to take one day and go to Sienna and through Tuscany either by tour or train. Then take a taxi back to Orvieto to go to Rome. Any suggestions for tour guides, place to stay or train, bus info would be great. We decided not to drive but want to see the countryside.
    Thanks

  16. Ezgi March 18, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    I couldn’t find any train to Todi directly:( What is the nearest train station to there?

    • Walks of Italy March 21, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      Ciao! We suggest taking the APM bus line to Todi from Perugia (Piazza Partigiani), which usually takes one hour to get to the city center (Piazza Jacapone). Be sure to inquire if the bus stops in Todi: if it does not, get off at Piazza Consolazione and take local bus A or B to the city center. The one way APM bus ticket will cost you 5,20 euro. Buon viaggio and be sure to tell us about your experience!

      • lori March 27, 2014 at 7:42 am #

        How far in advance can you look up train schedules on trenitalia?

        • Walks of Italy March 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

          Hi Lori! Train tickets can be purchased via Trenitalia four months ahead of time. Buon viaggio and do let us know if we can help with anything else!

  17. Tabitha April 9, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    Hi there, I was wondering the best way to get from Perugia to Fratta Todina and Todi please by Bus?

    Thanks

    • Walks of Italy April 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      Hi Tabitha, we suggest taking the APM bus line to Todi from Perugia (Piazza Partigiani), which usually takes one hour to get to the city center (Piazza Jacapone). Be sure to inquire if the bus stops in Todi: if it does not, get off at Piazza Consolazione and take local bus A or B to the city center. The one way APM bus ticket will cost you 5,20 euro. As for Fratta Todina, you can take the F209 bus from Todi. Buon viaggio!

  18. Len May 26, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    Hello,

    Should/can I purchase advance bus tickets from Rome to Umbria (Cascia)? Or do I buy the tickets the day itself?

    Thanks!

    • Walks of Italy May 28, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

      Ciao Len! You can purchase your tickets on the day itself or at the station the day before. Trains leave the Rome Tiburtina station at 7:30 and 15:30. Buon viaggio and let us know if you have any questions!

  19. Fred October 18, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    We want to go from Spoleto to Florence. The best train changes at Foligno, but only leaves 5 minutes to do so. Is this possible?

    • Walks of Italy October 22, 2014 at 11:31 am #

      Ciao Fred, we always suggest giving yourself enough time when switching trains (usually 15 minutes) as sometimes trains can run behind schedule. Let us know if you have any questions!

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