Spello, Umbria: the flower-filled Italian town you’ll love
Essential travel guide to Spello, Italy: what to see, where to eat and how to visit one of Italy’s prettiest villages.
Latin poet Propertius called Spello ‘Splendidissima Colonia Iulia’, aka very splendid Spello (Colonia Iulia was Spello’s ancient name).
Indeed, only an expression such as ‘very splendid’ can convey how adorable Spello is!
A delightful village in Umbria, Spello It is famous for being one of the prettiest villages in Italy and one of the most flowery.
Its meandering medieval streets are a triumph of verdant balconies and colorful flowers, and the town also hosts a significant flower event called infiorata, which is world famous.
Spello is a picture-perfect, small village in Umbria, Italy’s center.
It is a beautiful town to visit for an afternoon or lunch and is ideal for photographers, foodies and anyone looking for a pleasant, relaxing and quintessentially Italian village stop.
Why visit Spello
Spello is a pretty town in Umbria, in central Italy.
Already in existence in ancient Roman times, Spello has a beautiful Roman gate, pretty streets and the typical atmosphere of the medieval village that is so typical of central Italy.
It is perfect for a visit if you:
- Want to experience a small, historical town with stone houses and meandering streets
- love cute village corners with climbing plants, old Fiat 500 and local shops, perfect for that iconic central Italian experience
- Love flowers
- Want a pretty place for lunch in typical Umbrian settings
- Look for a car-free town to visit for an afternoon with kids (or without!)
What to see in Spello: Spello itinerary
Spello is a little village with pretty streets, beautiful churches, restaurants and shops.
The whole town is an attraction in itself. If you have been to places like Pienza or San Gimignano, you probably know what I mean. Rather than individual things to see, the town itself is worth seeing.
That said, I recommend you seek out some specific things to see in Spello.
The first thing you see as you enter Spello is Porta Consolare (Aka Consular Gate).
This ancient gate dates to Roman times and is beautiful and imposing.
Beautiful statues crown the central mouth of the entrance. You find a lovely tower beside it with a surprise on top: an olive tree and some bells!
The tower is lovely and slightly reminiscent of Torre Guinigi in Lucca, albeit not as high.
The tower overlooks a pretty square with cafes and restaurants and is also where you find an info point for visitors.
Top tip! Just beside the gate, there is a drinking fountain. Use it to fill up your reusable water bottle: the water is free and delicious!
Spello develops over the slope of a hill, on the sides of the main street that meanders all the way to the top.
Along this street, you have many pretty shops, restaurants, and significant and beautiful churches worth seeing.
I recommend you take a moment to see:
Cappella Tega, a small chapel with frescoes from the XIV century
Collegiata di Santa Maria Maggiore, a wonderful church from the 1200s especially famous for stunning paintings by Pinturicchio, Perugino and some Deruta ceramics.
The church overlooks a lovely piazza along Via Consolare. It is popular with weddings and a favorite destination for art lovers.
Its most significant chapel is cappella baglioni, which has singificant an Annunciation, Nativity and paitnings of rhe grour Sybuls by Pinturicchio.
Worth seeing is also the little Hortus, the garden beside the church where you will also find a small drinking fountain.
Church of St Andrea -another wonderful church in Spello is Sant’Andrea, which has a beautifully frescoed chapel with beautiful blue vaults.
Church of San Lorenzo has interesting woodwork also worth seeing for lovers of the genre.
Pinacoteca Civica di Spello
Pinacoteca Civica (Museum) Pinacoteca is Spello’s local art gallery, and it is significant for art lovers as it has a meaningful collection of Renaissance art.
You can find here >>> info and opening hours
Spello’s blooming alley (Spello’s Highlight!)
The most unusual and beautiful thing about Spello for the occasional visitor is the town’s charming alleys.
Spello has a long-lasting tradition taking place each summer between May and mid-August: a flower competition that sees the town’s alley compete with one another for the most beautiful flower display.
The event is called Finestre, balconi e vicoli fioriti (blooming windows, balconies and alleys) and it is fabulous.
The town is characterized by pretty, ancient houses made of local stones, and local homeowners go out or their ay to decorate the facades, steps and courtyard with vases with flowers of all colors.
The result is an extravaganza of colors and smells that make the town an absolute delight.
The alleys are all over the village however, we noticed the prettiest part of all is all the way up, where the streets get narrower, the tourism subsides and the flowers truly take center stage.
Infiorata di Spello (June)
The most famous event in Spello and something that makes Spello unique is the town’s wonderful infiorata.
That of infiorata is a very ancient tradition that you see in some ancient Italian town: in that occasion, the village streets get covered in flower art and turn into real canvases colored by flowers of all types!
In Spello, infiorata happens in June and it is a special event that attracts large crowds.
Find here >>> all info and details
Porta Venere is another ancient gate in Spello and it is distinctive because of its imposing towers called Torri di Properzio.
The gate is one of the most famous attractions in Spello and has been restored so that the towers are safe to climb. The gate and towers are open at the weekend in the summer season only, usually morning and evening.
Current opening hours are: Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 – 13:00 e 15:00 – 17:00
Spello is a tourist place and has several charming shops where you can buy authentic souvenirs. The best things to buy in Spello are food souvenirs, Deruta ceramics and perfume, especially acqua di spello, which is a local production.
Visiting Spello with kids
I visited Spello with my kids and my parents and we all loved it.
Being here in the height of summer, the heat was against us (Spello gets a lot of sun!) but we found it to be a pretty and family-friendly town.
A few things you need to know if visiting Spello with kids:
- The town is mostly uphill so it is more easily managed without a stroller.
- There is a nice playground in Giardini Pubblici which is good for small kids (swings, slide, wooden bridge, spring rides, etc)
- There is little shade so if visiting in summer, try to avoid the hottest hours of the day
- There is not a lot for toddlers to do (Aside from the playground) but my kids aged 10 and 12 loved looking at the pretty alleys, exploring the town, trotting around without fear of cars, and peeking in the adorable shops and looking for cats.
Restaurants serve local specialties and are able and willing to make simple pasta for the kids. We noticed high chairs in most restaurants.
There are drinking fountains in several parts of the village.
You have shops selling gelato and pizza.
If you want even more help or you have any questions, please in my FREE Facebook group about traveling to Italy with kids: I will be happy to have you there and the tips from me and the other members are FREE!
Where to eat in Spello
We had lunch in a lovely place called ESoTre, just off the main street.
The restaurant has indoor and outdoor tables.
Outdoor ones follow the slope of the road, making them atmospheric but not ideal with a stroller. If you have a young child, staying indoors may be easier! The service was pleasant and friendly, the food delicious (especially the board of cured meats).
The restaurant has an accessible restroom.
Where to park in Spello
Spello is a gated village surrounded by ancient walls. As such, it is mostly car-free.
Several car park areas are immediately outside its walls and they make leaving the car and exploring easy.
Spello is small and all parking areas are close to the town.
As you e towards the town, you must follow the signs saying ‘Centro’ (town center) and ‘P’ (Parking area).
The closest parking area we found was near Piazza della Liberta’; however, we noticed all others were within a 5-minute walk from the town. Despite visiting in summer, we didn’t feel parking to be an issue: make sure you have payment with you (coins or cards) as parking is pay and display.
The best time to visit Spello
The best time of the year to visit Spello is during the flower festival infiorata (June) and then thee blooming alley time, June to mid-August.
At this time, the weather is likely to be sunny and hot, in July and August even very hot, so some precautions against the heat are necessary.
Light clothing, sun hats, sunscreen and reusable water bottles are a must.
Where to stay near Spello
Since the area of Spello is hilly and verdant, our favorite place to stay in Spello is not in town by nearby.
We love lovely Agriturismo La Corte del Lupo, which has nice rooms, a lovely pool, tons of space for adults and kids and super friendly powers that will make you feel right at home.
I hope you enjoyed this quick travel guide to Spello Umbria and it inspired you to visit!