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Episode #216: 10 Reasons We Love Italy’s Umbria Region

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The region of Umbria has earned its endearing nickname of the ‘Green Heart of Italy’. With verdant landscapes, medieval hilltop towns, and a timeless allure, this central Italian region, is often overlooked compared to it’s more famous neighbor, Tuscany. As the only landlocked region in the country, Umbria’s rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards paint a picturesque canvas, offering a tranquil escape from the bustling cities and more mainstream tourist trails. 

Show notes
We welcome back on the podcast, Untold Italy favorite, boutique tour guide and author Corinna Cooke. Corinna writes the Glam Italia series of guides for Italy, with her most recent offering being 101 Fabulous Things to do in Venice and she runs unique small tours all over Italy. Corinna has joined us on a variety of podcast episodes – from enjoying the Italian coast (episode 188), What to wear in Italy (episode 150), Why you Should Spend at least 3 days in Venice (episode 132), Italy Travel Hacks (episode 116), Finding inspiration for your Italy trip (episode 104) to Itinerary Planning (episode 53). In this episode, we talk about reasons to love the stunning region of Umbria, only lightly touched by tourism, compared to nearby Tuscany. From the delicious food and wine, to the welcoming people, beautiful landscapes, cute towns bursting with history – it also offers great value and a quieter experience than the tourist hubs. 

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What you’ll learn in this episode

  • Umbria sits in central Italy, between Rome and Tuscany
  • Untold Italy founder Katy is keen to shine a light on the Umbria region that seems to fly under the radar (probably due to a lack of marketing)
  • Corinna is quite happy about this as it has kept it for those in the know. You don’t pull into virtually any townv in Umbria and have 50 tour buses arrive right behind you
  • Corinna describes Umbria as looking like every romantic dream you ever had about Italy. When you day dream about Italy you are likely thinking of beautiful rolling hills, vineyards, olive tree lined roads and Renaissance or medieval towns with castle perched at the top of the hills
  • Lots of people are familiar with Tuscany, but Umbria feels like Tuscany from 30 years ago – before the mass tourism and tour busses really took hold
  • Umbria feels like a beautiful escape. The last time Katy was there, they had come from the Amalfi Coast, where everything was very busy and crowded so it felt like a real relief to arrive in Umbria
  • It was a different pace of life. There was no crowds. It was peaceful and tranquil. It’s a very different vibe to a lot of the other parts of Italy where things are pretty frantic, like Rome, other big cities and large tourist hubs
  • There is still plenty of life and things to do. Lots of beautiful little towns full of history and lots of art. There’s so much to do – but without mass tourism. The pace of your steps just slows down just a little bit
  • When you walk down these beautiful medieval streets, they are not filled with endless souvenir shops trying to sell you cheap T-shirts
  • Corinna loves taking people on her tours there.  None of them have ever been to Umbria before, so they’re not quite sure what to expect. She picks them up in Florence and can sense a little bit of trepidation, but when they arrive they really get the wow factor every single time – everyone loves the experience
  • Untold Italy Tours took a group to Umbria in November last year. Katy was thrilled that people trusted in the tour as November is sometimes not people’s favorite time to travel. But they had an amazing time because it is such a great time to go.A time of local traditions and festivals and things related to the harvest
  • Things happen in Umbria in a very organic way, in the way they always do. Things are not set up to attract tourists. It’s just happening the way it has for thousands of years, People are surprised at the slower pace and how gentle and genuine people are
  • The locals are thrilled to share their beautiful region with you. People are not jaded, as they haven’t seen a thousand tourists already that week
  • In Gubbio, some ladies on one of Corinna’s tours spotted a store that had truffle-related things – truffle seasoning, truffle oils etc. You get places where you can taste things all over Italy, but the lady in the store was really excited with this group of 6 women so enthusiastic to learn about the products. The whole thing was an experience, not just of tasting stuff, but of having this lady sharing lots of stories and suggestions. The look on their faces afterwards, showed that it was more than just visiting another cute town. It was a whole experience with taste, touch, smell and human connection
  • Connection is something that people are looking for when they’re going to visit Italy. Umbria is definitely a place where you can find that. People are proud of what they do, and they’re proud to share it, but not in an ostentatious way
  • In places where you just get an endless stream of tour busses and people coming through, after a while people can start to get jaded. They are often not seeing the best of humanity – people demanding things and not behaving so well. In these kinds of places you are less likely to get a touchy-feely Italian hospitality experience. It is like you are somewhere like Disneyland. The people that work the counters at Disneyland can’t be all touchy-feely either – they have to crack through the queues of demanding people and get things going

Reasons to love Umbria

  • There’s so much to see and do, here are some of the reasons to love Umbria

Olive oil

  • Umbria has some of the very best olive oil in all of Italy, which is saying something with how good olive oil in Italy generally is
  • Umbria is know for having some of the best olive oil and it is different varieties from other regions due to the different soil and terrain
  • In episode 173, we have an episode all about the olive harvest in Umbria and how you can experience that
  • If you come on our Untold Italy Umbria Tours, it’s a special experience because they pick the olives by hand

Wine

  • Corinna doesn’t class herself as a wine expert, but she does love drinking good wine and Umbria has some sensational wines that probably most people, if they haven’t been to Umbria, may never have heard of
  • If you do like wine it can be fun to have a little checklist you take with you of the wines in the places you’re visiting, that you’d like to try.
  • Everywhere you go in Italy, the wines are different, and it’s all based on the types of grapes, the type of terrain, etc.  Sangiovese-based wine in Umbria will taste quite different from one 30/40 miles away in Tuscany
  • Katy also doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of wine, but loves trying the different wines and learning the way people adjust the taste of their wine, understanding how the weather and the terrain impacts their product
  • And of course they are always trying to complementary the local food
  • In Umbria, the Orvietto wine is a great white wine. Corinna also loves Est-Est-Est
  • Another white in Umbria to try is Grechetto – one of the main whites of Umbria. It’s medium-bodied and refreshingly acidic. Nice and crisp
  • Another one, if you like light, fresh, summery, sparkly whites, from near Spoleto, is Trebbiano Spoletino. It’s a lovely, flavorful, sparkling white wine –  a good summer wine
  • Umbria is most famous for its reds. They have this one called Montefalco Sagrantino, a very tannic and age-worthy wine. It’s the Sagrantino grape, similar to Sangiovese
  • Another red is Montefalco Rosso, which is a blend of Sagrantino and Sangiovese. It is great if you like robust reds – great for drinking in cooler temperatures with a big hearty bowl of Umbrian pasta
  • There’s a winery that Corinna takes her tour groups to that has been in the family for 800 years. A lot of the wine in the area is really deep generational wine

Food

  • The way they make other food like their porchetta or the way they make their cheeses also often goes many generations deep
  • Montefalco is a cute little town, one of Katy’s favorites. When you walk up the hill and come into the little piazza -there are some fabulous restaurants. You can order a Tagliere – a platter of delicious Umbrian cold cuts and cheeses. Alongside a lovely glass of wine, it can be a little moment of perfection in the piazza
  • Umbria is very famous for its cured meats from Norcia. Even in Rome, at the Campo di Fiori, there’s a shop there that specializes in meats from Norcia
  • The pigs graze in the fields and on the hills and eat the local grass, with local flowers and herbs naturally growing there. What they’re ingesting makes everything taste so different
  • It’s the same with the cheeses – they’re specific dye to the cows where they graze
  • Katy loves in Italy when tradition and innovation combine, but if you really want to get to the heart of tradition, in Umbria they’re deeply committed to their traditions. Most of the festivals are rooted in Medieval and Renaissance traditions and have been going for hundreds of years
  • Umbria is also big for truffles. There are truffles on menus everywhere
  • A great dish is the Strangozzi pasta which has the truffles shaved over the pasta, a dish from Spoleto
  • It’s a different type of pasta than you get up north in Piedmont, for instance,  because it’s not an egg pasta – it is made with flour and water. Totally different taste and texture
  • Back in October, Corinna’s tour had stopped off for lunch in Spoleto and had Strangozzi with arugula pesto, pistachio nuts, and a handful of little baby tomatoes and some local stracciatella cheese, which she is pretty sure is the best thing she ate in Italy the whole year. Keeping in mind she ate a lot of wonderful food in Italy that year, so this was exceptionally good
  • Another dish is Torta al Testo which is a kind of bread. It’s a bit like a focaccia – a bit like a pita bread or flat bread. It is a sandwich, filled with something like prosciutto and pecorino. This bread dates back to Roman times, so 2000 years ago. The ‘testo’ part of it is the stone plate that the Romans used to cook this bread on
  • You can get one of these sandwiches for 3 or 4 US dollars / 3 or 4 Euros, and you’re actually eating a little piece of history
  • Katy is a big fan of the Crescia bread in Gubbio. It’s similar. to Torta al Test – it’s a really tasty bread that they fill with meats and cheese and is specific to Gubbio
  • Like wine, it can be good to have a checklist of foods to try when you’re going to places. Hyper-local foods and dishes to try – because otherwise, it is easy to forget about it and will kick yourself
  • Impastoiata is another traditional dish. A mix of polenta and borlotti beans mashed up which does not sound so great but it is really delicious. It looks like one of Corinna’s favorite dishes from Puglia, which she eats every day there – Fave e cicoria, which is fava beans based. This however is made with polenta and borlotti beans
  • This dish comes back to the cucina povera, the poor people’s food, where they didn’t have expensive meat. They would have to make very simple foods normally with just 3 or 4 ingredients. This dish is full of protein and nutrition. It is often served with some bit of greenery, like dandelion greens etc
  • Just before you take a bite, the waiter often comes over and adds a slug of gorgeous green olive oil – heavenly
  • Don’t expect anything fancy in Umbria – this is rustic food
  • Local specialty Porchette, stuffed roast pork, is definitely where rustic food comes into its own.
  • Pasta alla Norcina is another Umbrian pasta dish that you can get it all over Umbria. It’s pork, sausage, ricotta, and local black truffles, tossed in pasta. Corinna believes you could put this on your list for the last meal if you’re about to get executed – it is that good!
  • This food doesn’t look that pretty, but it tastes really good
  • You might look at this food and think – what is everyone talking about, this looks pretty basic. But then you take that first bite, and you realize how delicious it is
  • Corinna loves Aperitivo hour and lots of little snacks so she is unsurprisingly crazy about Crostini and they have a famous one in Spoleto called Crostini alla Spoletina
  • It is originally from Spoleto and is made up of black truffles, anchovies, olive oil, and lemon juice. When you hear anchovies, don’t think of the nasty brown, salty things you get on pizza in the US/Australia. The anchovies here are a soft white fish and give a dish umami – the fifth taste
  • It does look a little bit like cat food. When Corinna took her ladies on tour in October last year, they really didn’t fancy trying to Corinna told them to “just close your eyes and bite”. It is always worth trying it. If you don’t like it – then you can order something else. Especially at Umbrian prices. Or as Katy says – take a sip of wine, then try something else
  • Again this is cucina povera. Back in the day when people did not have enough food and there wasn’t meat, they needed something hearty and substantial in their bellies, to walk up the very steep hill to Spoleto (don’t worry there are escalators to take you up there now!) 

The Umbrian landscape

  • Umbria is known as the Green Heart of Italy for a reason – even when you expect it to be green – seeing it in person can still make you stop in your tracks a little bit
  • It’s a big agricultural area, but also has lots of plains dotted with hilltowns like Spoleto
  • You’ve got fields full of olive trees and wildflowers in springtime and miles of sunflowers in summer
  • There are quite dramatic mountains like Mount Subasio

Spoleto

  • Spleto is everything Corinna has ever wanted in a town. She has a big list of reasons why it is perfect for her – or so she thinks until her driver Luca, reminds her that there are no trains near there and it is a bit isolated
  • It is a castle town on a hill, way up high and you take a series of 3 or 4 escalators to get up there. It was first settled in the 5th century BC by the Umbri tribes, and you can still see parts of the original walls
  • After the Umbri, the Romans were there by around 241 BC. You have lots of ancient Romand stuff preserved inside Spoleto. There’s an amazing, ancient Roman villa house with amazing frescoes
  • It has a Roman Theater which was a theater for plays and music and not any Gladiator action. The Roman Theater is up on the edge of the hill with amazing views. The view used to go on forever, but there’s a little bit more building around it now.
  • It was built in the 1st century BC, and it was still in use in the 4th century AD, so 500 years of this thing being used all the time for poetry readings, plays and music
  • During the Middle Ages, a church was built on one edge of it. This church with cloisters is the Church of Santa Agatha and then there is the Corvi Palace which they were built where the stage is and is now the State Archeology Museum
  • The theater is still in use over the summer. Spoleto has a fantastic festival that happens across June and July that involves music, dance, opera and theater. They have 170 performances and experiences across that time with all kinds of phenomenal artists
  • It is also a really beautiful old Renaissance town to walk through and enjoy that architecture
  • It has a fantastic cathedral, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta. It was originally built in the 800s and then got a little renovation in 1198. It has frescoes from 1209 that are still beautifully intact. Filippo Lippi, came from Florence to do some painting there and it is where he ended his life and was buried
  • There’s also a lot of Pinturicchio. Even if you are someone who’s not majorly interested in art, it’s an incredible cathedral to come and have a look around
  • You can walk the walls of Spoleto. When you come up out of the escalators, you can veer right and go straight into the town, or you can veer left where there are pathways that are wide enough for one and a half lanes of traffic – beautiful, wide and sweeping
  • You take a few steps and suddenly you’re in the countryside, but up high with breathtaking views out over Umbria
  • As you come around the back, you can see their fantastic aqueduct which is one of the symbols of Spoleto. It’s enormous at 230 meters across. One side of it is against Spoleto, and it goes across this ravine to the other side. On the Spoleto side, you have the Rocca Albornoziana, and on the other side, you have the Fortilizio dei Mulini. You can walk across. and be out there in the middle with these ridiculous views – amazing for taking photos
  • Spoleto does get some tourism, but it tends to be people who’ve been told to check it out. You’re not going to be there with hordes of  tourists coming off buses

Spello

  • Spello is another gorgeous tiny Umbrian town known for its flower festival and flower decorations all year around
  • May through August they have an ongoing festival called Finestre, balconi e vicoli fioriti, which is windows, balconies, and little streets full of flowers
  • These little Vicoli, which is a little side street, like an alleyway with maybe just six houses and everybody there gets together and will plan what flowers they do for the festival
  • Every surface is covered in flowers. They take it really seriously
  • The town is an explosion of color and smell from the flowers – so beautiful to experience
  • In June, they then have Infiorate, which is where they make street tapestries of floral pictures
  • On the Untold Italy Umbria Tours, we actually visit this festival. We’ve got a strategic plan about how to visit it because it does get a little bit busy, though mostly with locals – so it is a very early start. It’s a very special festival, and it’s something that you won’t see anywhere else
  • Even if there wasn’t a single flower in the town, you would still think it is utterly beautiful, so add in the flowers and it is breathtaking
  • They even have flower gelato. There are several artisanal gelato shops. Corinna always tells the people on her tours, “you didn’t come all the way to Italy to eat manufactured, pretend gelato” – go eat the real stuff at the artisanal stores
  • In October, Corinna had 2 scoops, after not being able to decide and had one scoop of rose-flavor and one scoop of violet-flavored – delicious!
  • There’s also some great art in Spello. There are two in the Baglioni Chapel that are amazing frescos by Pintericchio from between 1500 and 1501. Almost every inch of this chapel is covered in frescoes and incredibly vibrant colors
  • Just outside of town, there is a treat for lovers of ancient Roman history. In 2005, they were digging to create a parking lot and found 500 square meters of an ancient Roman villa. Of the 20 rooms that they discovered, 10 of them had sensational mosaic floors
  • A great read on the area is the book Il Bel Centro: a Year in the Beautiful Center by Michelle Damiani, all about her year in the town of Spello (hear our episode with Michelle here)
  • It’s fun if you’ve read something and you’ve loved someone’s story, to then be in that town and start recognizing things they have talked about

Assisi

  • Assisis is probably the place most on the tourist trail in Umbria. It is another beautiful town with an interesting past and lots of spiritual connection. We just recently did an episode on Assisi – episode 202

Perugia

  • Perugia, which is the capital of Umbria is another amazing and interesting city. It is very cosmopolitan and chic as well as having plenty of history
  • The first inhabitants there, the Umbri tribes, were from the 6th century BC. Then the Etruscans were there (the Etruscan period is around 850 BC to 350 BC) and there are Etruscan walls and a large Etruscan well that has a bridge going across the middle of it. 
  • Perugia is also famous for its Perugina chocolates called Baci, which means Kisses
  • When you open it up these small chocolates, once you know to look for it, you’ll see it’s in the shape of a boob. The story is that the man who owned the chocolate shop had a mistress whom every day he would send a chocolate to. The chocolate was in the shape of a breast and inside of it would be a little note of sweet nothings. Now when you buy these chocolates, each one has got a little note in it. For more on Perugina chocolates, listen to our podcast on chocolate, episode 200
  • When you arrive to Perugia, you come in and park at the bottom of the town and then you take escalators to get up to the main town. When you get to the middle level of these escalators, you’ll find yourself in an underground city
  • The Baglioni family were like the Medici of Umbria, an important influential family in around 1438 to 1540. Umbria was one of the Papal states at that time and the Pope had decided to impose a salt tax. This hit Tuscany and Umbria hard and it led to massive starvation because salt was how they would preserve food. It was catastrophic, with lots of people dying. The Baglioni decided, to get rid of the Pope’s control and become a Republic. Pope Paul III wasn’t going to let this happen and sent in his troops. He wanted to show his domination and knocked down the Baglioni fortress and built his own Papal fortress on top. Then in around 1860 they knocked that down wanting to show they were not controlled by the Pope
  • This kind of underground city has the remains of the Baglioni streets, villas and chapels
  • This is where they have their Christmas market which is pretty amazing to visit

Deruta

  • Deruta is another small town in Umbria and it is famous for its handpainted ceramics
  • There are just streets of workshops in the town where they’re doing handpainted ceramics. Everything from human-sized, giant urns to little espresso cups – everything ceramic you could possibly think of
  • When you stroll the streets there you look into the different workshops, no one is salesy. It is a very chilled place
  • If you want to buy and ship something and ship it back home – cool, if you don’t, then you just moving on and no one minds. It’s a very relaxing shopping or just browsing experience

Gubbio

  • A lot of people refer to Gubbio as being like Tuscany’s San Gimignano because it’s got a similar medieval setup with towers, winding streets etc
  • Gubbio has a little attraction that was suggested to Katy by Sarah and Sal, who have an Agriturismo in Umbria and were on our podcast episode What is an Agriturismo? At the top of Mount Subasio, they have a church with the mummified remains of Sant’Ubaldo, as well as beautiful views
  • To get up there easily and quickly they have these bird cage-style chair lifts. You stand up in something that the shape of a wrought iron bird cage – open apart from the bars. For Katy who does not like heights – never again!!! 
  • Her son quickly asked “Are you okay, mum?” and her reply, through much heavy breathing, was “Oh… not really”
  • It takes about 10 minutes to get up the top, but there was no way Katy was going back down that way so her poor family, only wearing sandals and on a hot day, had to walk down the mountain on a gravel path
  • They have an amazing festival in Gubbio which involves lanterns and processions. Hundreds of people follow this beautiful procession with giant candles

Summary

  • You could easily lose yourself in Umbria for a week or two, driving around each day, cruising around these little towns. Discovering all these amazing things to see and eating incredible food. You would never get bored
  • If someone is thinking they might add Umbria to a trip, it would be well worth having a look and seeing what festivals and Sagre (food festivals) are on that month, and schedule your trip around those.  They are wonderful experiences if you get the chance
  • Visiting Umbria is such a great experience to really flesh out your Italy travel time. Of course, when people are going for the first time, people want to see Venice, Florence, Rome, Amalfi Coast – it is understandable. But if you can fit some time in to go somewhere that’s less traveled, it’s always special
  • If you’re coming back for a second trip to Italy, why not try and bank a few days in Umbria? It is especially great if you’re comfortable driving, and in fact, driving in Umbria is generally quite easy – it’s not like crazy traffic like in the big cities or down south
  • Corinna recently finished a hilarious book that is set in Umbria and is making her way through the series written by Irish woman Rosie Meleady. She moved her family to Umbria,  by Lake Trasimeno. They accidentally bought a 22-room villa and moved around the time Covid hit – the perfect time to write books. They give you a real feel for Umbria. The first book is called A Rosie Life in Italy
  • An interesting Instagram account to follow is @shaynateresetaylor. Shayna was previously a model in the US and at some point she decided to pack up and move to Italy, buying a little farm in Umbria. Her Instagram shows an idyllic simple life in Umbria, walking around her land with her dogs, feeding her chickens and cooking – she does online cooking classes. It is a way to get a window into how beautiful Umbria is and how it’s like every romantic dream you’ve ever had about Italy

Find out more about Corinna

  • You can find links to Corinna’s books, tours and social media links on her website corinnacooke.com
  • All of Corinna’s Glam Italia best-selling guidebooks can also be found on Amazon >> here
  • Go to Corinna’s Instagram on @corinnatravels to follow her on her amazing Italian adventures and sign up for her newsletter for all the latest news and lots of info and insider tips

Untold Italy Tours in Umbria

If you are wanting to experience authentic Italy, beyond the mainstream tourist sites and enjoy hidden gems in Italy, look no further than the Untold Italy Tours to stunning Umbria. We take care of every detail for you and help you experience an Italy that many visitors simply don’t get to see. Discover places, cuisine, histories and people that will create memories of Italy that will stay with you forever.

untold italy umbria tours

About our guest – Corinna Cooke

Author Corinna Cooke is a favorite guest on Untold Italy. Originally from New Zealand, she fell in love with Italy thanks to a high school art history teacher who introduced her to Italian Renaissance art. After moving to London and traveling throughout Europe, she couldn’t stop returning to her beloved Italy.

Now living in Phoenix in the United States, Corinna is a woman of many skills. She leads several Glam Italia small group tours to Italy each year and writes guidebooks of the same name exploring her favorite corners of beautiful Italia. And her “day job” is a make-up artist. But, her heart is always called to Italy. 101 Fabulous Things to do in Venice is her latest book full of fascinating stories, tips, and tricks on how to have a fabulous time in Venice. 

You can find Corinna on these channels:

Corinna’s books

Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Venice: Fantastic Finds In The most Unique City On Earth
Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things to Do in Rome: Beyond the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps (Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy)
Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Florence: Insider Secrets To The Renaissance City (Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy)
Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy: Secrets To Glamorous Travel (On A Not So Glamorous Budget)

Places mentioned in the show

  • Orvieto – wonderful hilltop small city roughly a great day trip or halfway stop from Rome or Florence
  • Norcia – located in the Valnerina Valley, where Umbria skirts the Le Marche region
  • Montefalco – characterful Umbrian village known for its wine
  • Spoleto – ancient city in the Perugia province 
  • Palazzo Corvi  – palace from the middle ages in Spoleto occupied by Benedictine nuns
  • Spoleto Cathedral – the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta
  • Rocca Albornoziana – fortress that towers over the Spoleto valley
  • Ponte delle Torri –  the aqueduct which stretches between the Fortilizio dei Mulini  and Rocca Albornoziana
  • Mount Subasio – mountain in the Apenine range
  • Spello – small Umbrian town famous for its flowers and flower festival. Listen to episode 65 for more on that
  • Baglioni Chapel – chapel in Spello with amazing frescoes
  • Perugia – a medieval college city in Umbria
  • Palazzo dei Priori – 11th century palace
  • Deruta – town in Umbria famous for its Deruta ceramics
  • Gubbio – city in Umbria, located on the lowest slope of Mt. Ingino, a small mountain of the Apennines
  • Lake Trasimeno – Umbrian lake near the Tuscan border

Food & Drink mentioned in the show

  • Est est est – sparkling white wine from near Lake Bolsena
  • Grechetto – the primary grape in Italy’s well-known Orvieto wines
  • Trebbiano Spoletino – white grape variety grown only in Umbria, especially around Spoleto
  • Montefalco Sagrantino – red wine made with 100% Sagrantino grapes in and around Montefalco (Perugia province)
  • Montefalco Rosso – typical red wine from Umbria made of Sagrantino and Sangiovese grapes
  • Tagliere – Umbrian charcuterie platter
  • Strangozzi – local Umbrian long-shaped pasta, thicker than spaghetti, usually served with truffle
  • stracciatella – is the name for three different Italian foods: soup, gelato and in this case, a creamy cheese
  • Torta al Testo – ancient Umbrian recipe of focaccia cooked on a flat plate filled with local meet or cheese
  • Crescia – a cheese bread from Umbria, typically eaten at Easter
  • impastoiata – a typical Umbrian dish of a mixture of polenta and beans. The name comes from impastare insieme meaning knead together
  • fave e cicoria – puglian dish of fava beans and wild chicory
  • Pasta alla Norcinacreamy pasta dish made with sausage, white wine, cream, Pecorino Romano, and nutmeg
  • Baci chocolates – famous chocolates from Perugia, with Baci, meaning kisses

Resources

  • Umbri tribes –  Italic people of ancient Italy, in an Umbrian region slightly larger than Umbria is now, with most towns settled in the 9th-4th centuries BC on hilltops
  • Filippo Lippi – painter from Florence, of the 5th century and a Carmelite priest
  • Pinturicchio – Italian Renaissance painter. His full name was Bernardino di Betto and his nickname means ‘little painter’
  • finestre, balconi e vicoli fioriti – means windows, balconies, and little streets full of flowers
  • Infiorate –  the flower festival
  • Il Bel Centro: a Year in the Beautiful Center – book by Michelle Damiani on her year in the town of Spellog (hear our episode with Michelle here)
  • Perugino – Italian Renaissance painter
  • Rosie Meleady – author of a series of books about her life in Umbria, the first being A Rosie Life in Italy
  • @shaynateresetaylor – Instagram account of American Shayna, now living in the Umbrian countryside

Resources from Untold Italy

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