The geographical centre of Italy is Narni near Terni and perhaps the best way to visit the region is when one of the many annual gastronomic appointments are taking place.
The Associazione “Strada del Sagrantino" or 'Sagrantino Wine Route' sent us a 16 page analysis of this fine wine from Umbria to coincide with annual 'Settimana Enologica'. It would take too long to mention everything here, but these few nuggets of information caught our eye.
The DOCG mark can only be awarded when the Sagrantino grapes have been cultivated in the Comune di Montefalco and parts of the Comuni of Bevagna, Gualdo Cattaneo, Castel Ritaldi and Giano dell’Umbria. The best recent Sagrantino wine years for quality have been 1985, 1990 and 1998. Don't touch the 1992.
'Frantoi Aperti' literally means 'The Olive Press are Open' and who can say fairer than that. A wonderful opportunity to taste the new olive oil and spend a weekend in Umbria. Typically the event takes place over 5 weekends starting from the first week of November. The zone to head for is Trevi in the Umbra Valley.
The National Truffle Market takes place every year at the Centro Fieristico Borgosole near Fabro during the last two weeks of November. It is organised by the mountain communities of the Valtopina, Monte Peglia e Selva di Meana and Monte Subasio near Assisi. It's not just truffles, but also an enogastronomic presentation of rarely seen local cheeses, selected cured hams, fine olive oils and Umbrian sweets.
When and where are the best truffle markets and festivals in Umbria? Between the 'Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Tartufo', the 'Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Tartufo Nero Pregiato' and the 'Mostra Mercato Nazionale del tartufo bianco e dei prodotti agro-alimentari' which do you choose?
The first truffle festival listed is held every year in the last two weeks of November in Valtopina, near Assisi. Although fresh truffles feature it is also a four day celebration of the gastronomy, wine and life of from the Mountain Comunity of the Monte Martano, Serano and Subasio.
The Spoleto Valley is where much of the olive cultivation and olive oil production in Umbria is based. This is the valley which runs all the way to Perugia and passes by Foligno, Spello, Assisi etc. There are over 200,000 trees on the slopes stretching between 80 and 600 meters above sea level.
Trevi is rightly proud of its DOP classification and is a reference point for experts, tasters and all gourmets (but don't tell that to restaurant owners in Tuscany). The festival of olive oil is held in the first week of November every year and is called 'Festivol' while a Spring version ''Pic & Nic' takes place in late April and early May. Festivol is also a part of the annual six week Frantoi Aperte or Open Olive Presses Weekends - www.festivol.it
Italian style soup recipe with farro, the 'wheat of the Roman Legions'. A slight variant of this dish (pictured) we ate deep in the Monte Subiaso near Assisi.
500 gr 'farro' (hard wheat that has been ground by hand), 1 glass extra virgin olive oil, 1 carrot diced, 1 rib celery diced, 1 onion, diced, 100 gr lean slice prosciutto, 1/2 glass tomato sauce, 5 leaves sage, rosemary, garlic.
A picnic in Umbria or rather a 'Pic & Nic' in Trevi is a wonderful idea.
The event is put together by the Comune di Trevi in collaboration with the Association Strada dell’Olio Dop Umbria.
It is basically an excuse for an early Spring jaunt to the countryside, but the town of Trevi also puts on a show over the course of a weekend.
Piazza Mazzini, Piazza Garibaldi and the 'Sentiero degli Olivi' or olives trail are the places to be for tastings, music and more.
Great idea, but like many local tourism initiatives from the Italian regions, the website is only in Italian, but do check out the links for Where to Stay (Dove Dormire), Where to Eat (Dove Mangiare) and Olive Oil Makers (Produttori di Olio) where there are essential links.
Fair of the Dead
The historical and traditional market fair which takes place in early November
The " Fair of the dead" dates back to medieval Perugia : There are written references of the Fair since 1260 - even then defined as " customary " - and his name was then " All Saints Fair " , being located in the period of such religious festival .
The Fiera di Perugia was part of a rich calendar of trade fairs and merchant in Umbria , in the Middle Ages and Renaissance , despite the region suffered the endemic lack of relevant connecting roads and maritime outlets . These fairs possessed the main function of commercialization of agricultural products and livestock is no accident that took place during the summer and autumn , and for the wide availability of agricultural crops that allow the local population to the "supply" of the difficulties before winter .
The fairs enjoyed special exemptions such as the exemption of the sold goods , namely, exemption from any duty or tax , and the peace of the fair, that is, the freedom to trade for anyone, even for those who had trouble with the law for civil cases . Fair also meant great event for the city that housed it , due to the remarkable durability of these events (monthly, fortnightly ), which led to a large influx of people who stayed there .
The Exhibition of All Saints of the games were held in Perugia ancient tradition of hunting the bull, and the travel of the race of the prize or quintana . The testimonials on games are mostly up to the sixteenth century , and over time these traditions have become more rare and eventually disappear altogether. Documentation most recent (nineteenth century) indicate the presence of raffles in the square and circus activities . In recent decades, it has replaced the traditional games the presence of the amusement park , the so-called " sideshows " that are so extensive and significant in the fair.
Only from '600 Saints Fair will be referred to as " the deceased " , while 800 will take its present name of " Fair of the dead ." The significance of this choice seems to express the desire to make compatible the memory and ritual reunion with the ancestors with the need to mitigate the feeling of sadness still present in the memory of absence. The collective ritual of the festival includes even the custom of eating sweets called " stinchetti ", " bones of the dead ", " beans of the dead" , as if in search of a "communion " secular and festive with the dead .
Today , the Fair of the dead is still a tradition deeply felt by the population, it is unlikely that a Perugia does not make at least one visit to the fair and not buy something . The Fair is thus a symbolic ritual of belonging to the community , which is repeated regularly every year , and that seems to mark the cycles of life in the collective imagination , of which the seasonal cycle - the transition from summer to winter - has always factor of identity with the land and its customs.
The symbolic function and aggregation town surpasses well as economic , giving full meaning to a business that , in economic terms , it could certainly compete with the malls or supermarkets.
The progressive increase of quality of the products , more and more oriented to propose typical products, rare and locally sourced , promotes the current Fair also died in the neighboring towns , from where there are a good number . In this sense , the event has now acquired its tourist importance also becoming part of the calendar of large, traditional events of the city attractions.
The Museo del Tulle 'Anita Bellischi Grifoni' is located in the small town of Panicale near Lake Trasimeno in Umbria.
This museum is dedicated to the art of lace making, but in particular to Anita Bellischi who was born in the town in 1889 and became famous for her craft.
It is an interesting story which began when Anita lost her mother at a young age.