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Umbria is known for a culinary delicacy that is found in few places inthe world - truffles. These rare and elusive fungi, much sought afterby top chefs the world over, grow a few inches below the surface of the ground in this region, and are unearthed by specially-trained dogs and pigs from October through March. You’re definitely not going to want to miss the opportunity to hunt for sometruffles yourself, and we can make that happen with our truffle hunting and tasting excursions.
Umbria is a beautiful year-round destination and the ideal place to rent a villa and enjoy arelaxing vacation, but Autumn is a particularly special time, as leaves turn gold and already spectacular scenery becomes breathtaking. Gastronomes will tell you that it’s not just the landscape that makes Umbria worth visiting at this time of year, but the truffles. The highly sought after black truffle can be found in Norcia, while white truffles are found in Gubbio and gold truffles in Spoleto.
Summer truffles can be found throughout Umbria. While vacationing in Umbria, autumn and winter visitors get the chance to embark on a truffle hunting and tasting adventure. You’ll enjoy walking through picturesque woodlands with an experienced truffle hunting guide, who will teach you how to find truffles. Once you’ve found some of the elusive beauties, you’ll head back to the kitchen where you’ll be treated to a cooking demonstration and delicious meal, using your truffles and other mouth watering regional specialties such as beef, pecorino, ricotta, and chocolate. Your meal will be paired with the best of local wines, which will round out what is sure to be a day to remember.
Let us know if you want to taste those delicious truffles on your next vacation.
Sagre, or food festivals are an important celebration of Italian culture and regional cuisine, and nowhere more so than in Umbria. Travelers to Umbria, can make the most of everything the region has to offer, with a villa rental and a hire car. Each day of a vacation can be an exciting gastronomic adventure, as visitors explore Umbria’s rich culinary traditions, which includes truffles, chocolate and olive oil. Here are just five of the many festivals to be enjoyed:
1. Black Truffle Fair (Mid October)
Nowhere are truffles found than in Umbria. The south eastern town of Norcia, in the province of Perugia, is renowned for its rare and world famous black truffles and meats including prosciutto, and it becomes the lively host of the Black Truffle Fair in mid-late February each year. There’s no simpler and more flavorful way to showcase the black truffle than with a pasta dish.
3. Chestnut Festival (October)
Homeowners in tiny Preggio open their doors and turn their basements into botteghe and restaurants in mid-October for the towns Chestnut Festival, which celebrates the roasted chestnut in all its forms.
4. Eurochocolate (October 19 - 28)
Chocolate lovers from across Europe make their way to Perugia in late October for the city’s Eurochocolate festival, where for eight days chocolate-themed events dominate. Big name chocolate markers, both Italian and International. Some of the main labels are: Perugina, Lindt, Milka, Motta, Eraclea and much more.
5. Sagra della Torta al Testo (August 5 -14)
This “torta” is an unleavened flat bread to enjoy with good sausage or ham. The Sagra takes place not far from Perugia.
Piazza del Popolo, Todi
Todi: Overlooking the east bank of the River Tiber, visitors can enjoy the spectacular views of the countryside that Todi offers, nestled, as it is, on a double-crested hill. When you’ve finished marveling at the city’s beautiful medieval architecture, you can enjoy a visit to local Roccafiore Winery, where you can tour the cellars and enjoy tastings of its wines and local foods. Those visiting Todi in July won’t want to miss the photo opportunities offered by the Gran Premio Internazionale Mongolfieristico, an international balooning competition.
You really can turn your retirement dreams of owning your winery in Umbria into reality. Why retire fully, when you can pursue your passion for oenology?
Rent a luxury villa in one of its picturesque hilltop villages such as Todi, Spello, Bevagna, or Montefalco. From there, you can search for the perfect piece of real estate. From elegant castles to spectacular farmhouses, there’s a potential vineyard that will suit your superior needs. Umbria offers an intriguing mix of history, art and culture as well as fine traditions in food and wine. With a similar geography and climate to Tuscany, Umbria has an aptitude for many white and red varieties. The region’s two DOCG wines, Montefalco Sagrantino and Torgiano Rosso Riserva, are red, although the region is most famous for its crisp, white Orvieto. Like any commercial enterprise, it is essential to learn the business and formulate a strong business plan, before you actually start investing money. Take time to visit with established vintners in the region, many of who run generations-old wineries. They’ll share information with you that will help you decide if an Umbrian winery really is in your future.
Decugnano dei Barbi
There’s no better place to start than with a visit to Decugnano dei Barbi estate vineyards, near the town of Orvieto, at Fossatello di Corbara. Situated in the old zone of production of Orvieto Classico, the estate has been producing high-end wines for more than four decades. Chances are that your wine-related investment is more about choosing an idyllic lifestyle and experience than on its financial returns. With this in mind, there are plenty of ownership options available to you in Umbria that will allow you ample free time to soak up its fabulous charm and irresistible attractions. With a large selection of exclusive high quality properties available in Umbria, your vineyard dreams are only as limitless as your imagination.
Are you ready to start your winery in Umbria?
Located in central Italy, Umbria is a small region that is renowned for its wine, olive oil and tobacco production. Over the past three decades the region has gathered strength in terms of its economy, and attracts northern Europeans who have been dreaming of starting a new business for their retirement days. Most of them are interested in wine and organic agriculture and head to the region to begin a challenging, yet rewarding chapter in their life.
Some outstanding award winning olive oils are produced in this region, and are used by cooking enthusiasts and chefs worldwide. One of the most successful producers of Italian olive oil is Rachel Black. Along with her daughter, Rachel began producing olive oil in the region in 2003 and has enjoyed success with her business ever since.
Umbria provides an ideal climate for olive trees; those require a cool winter and warm summer in order to thrive, which the Umbrian region certainly provides.
Those who want to start a project like this should ideally rent a villa in Umbria to explore what this region has to offer. Investing time in looking at the land available, learning about growing techniques from the locals, and becoming familiar with the local area will be the first step to a successful business.
Are you ready to start searching for your perfect Umbrian orchard?
Umbria celebrates Easter with ancient rituals, food and fun. With Easter marking the end of Lent, food is an important part of Easter celebrations in Italy. Breakfast in Umbria on Easter Sunday traditionally starts with torte di Pasqua, a local bread featuring three kinds of cheeses. In smaller towns they are made on Maundy Thursday and blessed by the local priest, along with a boiled egg for every person in the household and possibly salami and sausages. Colomba Pasquale, or Dove Bread, is like a panettone in the shape of a dove, and popular at Easter. The main meal on Easter Sunday is usually lamb, served along with local artichokes and wild asparagus; while fish is widely eaten on Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Torta di Pasqua in Umbria
To make the most of your travel, here are some other tips on the best places to go and things to do.
Assisi’s Good Friday procession with its colorful costumes is popular. The Processione del Cristo Morto moves through the torch-lit medieval streets. Assisi is also a must visit for its ruined castle and the Basilica of St. Francis.
Playing ruzzolone in Umbria (Credits: Marialisa Calta)
On Easter Monday, or Pasquetta (Little Pasqua), head to Panicale and play ruzzolone. It involves rolling a 4 kilogram wheel of cheese around the town’s ancient walls. The games are followed by music and dancing in the piazza. Lake Trasimeno is busy on Pasquetta with people heading out for a fish meal.
From delicious regional food to breath-taking scenery, history and culture, Umbria has everything you could want from your holiday in Italy. A villa rental is ideal for experiencing all Umbria offers. You can also rent a farm house or stay in a Historic Hotel. Many options are available for your unforgettable vacation in the green heart of Italy.
What is your favorite italian holiday? Tell us!
One absolute must-see attraction for admirers of contemporary art is the Alberto Burri (1915-95), Contemporary Art Museum, in the lovely medieval town of Città di Castello, north of Perugia. Alberto Burri was an abstract painter and sculptor and a leading figure in the Italian “Arte Informale” movement. The artist donated the bulk of his personal oeuvre to his hometown and designed the galleries where his work would be displayed permanently. Accordingly, the museum comprises more than 250 works by Burri displayed in two museum venues: The Palazzo Albizzini, a stately Renaissance mansion from the 15th century that houses works produced up to 1989, and the Ex Seccatoi del Tabacco (The Old Tobacco Dryhouses), which house “big cycles” and sculptures created from 1970 to 1993.
Interesting, note that Burri has a major U.S. connection: For 25 years, the maestro spent his winters at a house in the Hollywood Hills, making a singular impact on both the American and international art scenes of his day. In the past decade, the region of Umbria has become more and more a destination for international travelers. Many rent a villa, or stay in the many vacation rentals that are to be found in the region.
What you think about the Alberto Burri Contemporary Museum?
Travelers who rent a villa in picturesque Umbria will find delightful art works throughout the region. Fan of the contemporary art scene in particular will find myriad cool art experiences across the region. If you have only two or three days to dedicate to the local contemporary art scene, we suggest you focus on the towns of Spoleto and Città di Castello, two Umbrian gems with great modern-art collections. Many superb international artists have chosen to live and work in this green, lush corner of Italy and you can easily make arrangements to visit their studios.
First, stop at the intriguing Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, in the art-laden town of Spoleto. Inaugurated in 2000, this not-to-be missed museum houses noteworthy works donated by Giovanni Carandente, an art historian and patron. Highlights include a four-room cordon of sculptures by Spoleto native Leoncillo Leonardi, as well as paintings and installations by Carla Accardi, Mario Ceroli, and Pino Pascali. The museum devotes one room of the gallery to Sol LeWitt (1928-2007), the American conceptual artist who lived with his wife and daughters near Spoleto.
Next, visit Città di Castello, an ancient settlement with a much-patched duomo, artful palaces, and a sweet, small gallery with canvases by Signorelli, di Bartolo, and Raphael. Modern-art devotees should then head directly to the 20th-century Burri Collection, a relatively quiet yet robust trove devoted to the work of Umbrian son Alberto Burri (1915-1995), long a fixture on the Italian and global abstract-art circuits.
(Note that Flash Art Museum, in Trevi, has closed because of lack of public funding.)
Tell us which is your favorite museum in Umbria.
Contemporary art followers traveling in Umbria might want to discover the latest events in contemporary art in the region. Surprisingly, there are chances that there is at least one contemporary art gallery (if not two or three) within a short drive of your villa rental. For instance, check out Minigallery, in Assisi, or the Galleria Artemisia, in Perugia.
Umbria is in fact home to an ever-growing number of contemporary artists, and most, if not all, are happy to welcome travelers in their studios.
Other stunning and unique contemporary-art hot spots during your family vacation in Umbria could be the spanking new CIAC Museum, in picturesque Foligno, and the renovated Museo Carandente, in ever-so-lovely Spoleto. The latter is part of the modern-focused Palazzo Collicola Arti Visive complex, and both venues organize timely exhibits of local artists.
As an art lover which of these museum you will want to visit?
Things to do vacationing in Umbria.
The name of this idyllic region comes from the Italian word “ombra”, which means shadow. It is said that Umbria was named so because the hills and mountains form shadows on most of the landscape. This is a perfect travel destination, an unspoiled region with friendly and welcoming inhabitants.
Sometimes traveler can have the impression that Umbria is frozen in time. It is not uncommon to see women using traditional methods of making pasta, or vineyards, archeological museums, and many monasteries that are relics from the past. Nevertheless, this region of Italy has a thriving art and culture scene. Quaint yet modern villas abound, that are available for vacation rentals.
Wineries and Restaurants are of outstanding quality (and very reasonably priced). Infact, Umbria is home to some of the best restaurants in Italy, and has a unique and fascinating wine museum in Torgiano that is a privilege to visit. The town of Perugia, which is the capital, comes to life every evening. Assisi is another hill town in Umbria that is well-known for its astounding architecture.
Some interesting things to do in Umbria include museum visits, a day at the spa (the best Italian ones are to be found here), and a visit to an archaeological museum in Amelia. In Assisi, you will get the chance to see the celebrated Basilica of San Francisco, and frescoes of the life of Saint Francis. In Perugia, the Galeria Nazionale awaits you. This grand gallery contains works of Arnolfo di Cambio and Duccio di Boninsegna. Its works date from the 13th to the 19th century, and it is a fabulous place for lovers of art to explore and appreciate Italian art through the ages.
Which is your favorite activity when you travel?