In Passignano sul Trasimeno (Perugia) near the exit of Torricella is the restaurant pizzeria “Il Gabbiano”, which means the gull. This is a very easy stop on your way from Perugia to Siena or to end a day at Lake Trasimeno. The pizzeria is part of a family run hotel and restaurant with pool and tennis court. One can taste typical Umbrian dishes and the pizza’s are very tasty and thin. During the summer they have a spacious terrace outside and for children there is a small playing field. We were here last Friday together with many Italians: a good sign!
These were the pizza’s prepared for us: quattro formaggi (4 cheeses), margherita (traditional pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil) and perugina (with the typical Umbrian sausage).
And this was the result: buon appetito!
Last week we went to Casa Acquasparta in South Umbria . We drove up a small country lane just outside the town of Acquasparta, with wonderful views over the rolling hills, very quiet and peaceful with large Chianina cows peacefully ruminating away while bluntly staring at us. Chianina cows are rather big and the tasty meat is famous in this area, as well as in Tuscany.
Roberto, the owner of the house, is very kind and helpful. He finds it important that guests are enjoying their holidays in Umbria. In the apartment you find all kinds of information about the surroundings. There is a barbecue, a swimming pool, a private terrace, everything you need for a relaxing holiday. Roberto’s brother Fabio runs the farm where they make an excellent olive oil (unfortunately the bottle we received opened up in the car and spilled out it’s green treasure …. ) .
During our visit, Roberto told us about a traditional pizzeria in Portaria, where you can eat the original pizza baked in a wood fired oven “la vera pizza sotto il fuoco”. The name of the restaurant is “Bar Ristorante Sorelle Pesciaioli“. Besides the pizza you can also eat there typical umbrian dishes with truffle. We definitely need to go there once!
After the tour we visited Acquasparta where each Thursday morning there is a local market. Acquasparta is in the province of Terni and has a total population of about 5,000 inhabitants. Acqua means water. The name Acquasparta is most likely due to the presence of water sources in the area. During the ancient Roman domination Acquasparta was a retreat with Roman baths.
Only a few miles away is Carsulae. This was one of the largest and most important cities during the Roman domination. Amphitheatres, temples, thermal baths, churches and roads were built. Carsulae was along the old Via Flaminia and therefore this city brought many “rich and wealthy” tourists from Rome. In the 18th century, the Vatican rediscovered the ancient Carsulae. You can see the remains of the city. Traces of carts are still visible. Now it is an archaaeological park and museum.
South Umbria is beautiful in many ways. This area is still undiscovered. The people are friendly. You can bike, hike, visit medieval villages, the food and the wines are excellent. The province of Terni has so much to offer!
It is about a month now that people have started harvesting olives in Umbria. Some have already finished, others are still picking olives. During this period there are many events and local markets where you can taste the new olive oil. Bruschetta with new olive oil! Hmmm! During these markets the Umbrian people also promote their local food. For example different kinds of cheeses, sausages, marmalades, wine and honey. You can eat, drink and enjoy all the good things that Umbria has to offer. Last weekend there was a similar event in Spello: “L’oro di Spello”, which means “the gold of Spello”. On every corner of the street there were market stalls offering their oil and other local products. There was music and entertainment for everybody. In the afternoon you could participate at conferences organised by “bloggers” about Umbrian food. An interesting topic was the “Chianina” which is a famous cow in the Umbrian as well as in the Tuscan region. Its meat is expensive and tasty. The animal itself is impressively big.
Spello is well known for its olive oil, the good life and the good cuisine. The village is not far from Assisi and the view is magnificent. Mount Subasio is part of the Apennine Mountains in the province of Perugia. On its slopes are located the ancient towns of Assisi and Spello. In Spello is the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, a beautiful baroque church, worth a visit. Besides the beautiful sights you can also find nice wine bars and shopping addresses.
Yesterday was a sunny day. Together we went to the Spoleto area for visiting villas and apartments. Spoleto is a beautiful hilltown in southern Umbria. Above the city is the medieval Rocca and Spoleto’s most famous sight is Ponte delle Torri. Very beautiful and impressive view.
For lunch we went to Strettura. A little village along the ancient Roman road “Via Flaminia”. The restaurant Palazzo del Papa is a generation to generation restaurant in Strettura. Very well known by the locals. Strettura is famous for its traditional unsalted bread and for the Umbrian norcineria (pork butchery). During the Umbriabeecoming festival in 2012 an American journalist participated to a baking bread and cookies workshop. Sharri Whiting lives in Umbria. She writes a blog about cultural issues, food and wine from central Umbria. Here you can read a nice article about Strettura and how they make the unsalted bread. Enjoy!
The Umbrian landscape in autumn is like a palette of yellow, green, orange, gold and red. The last few days were cloudy and rainy too. But when the sun breaks through, it feels like spring! The chestnut season has begun and we drink young red wine. It is definitely autumn in Umbria.
Yesterday we visited some villas and apartments in the South-West of Umbria. We went to various locations. “Il Convento” or “Residence San Francesco” is a monastery in Lugnano in Teverina, South Umbria. This is a Franciscan monastery from the 12th Century. In the cells where the monks once slept, now there are tiny apartments of several owners and some can be rented for holiday.
The cloister of the monastery has an old well in the centre and fresco’s depicting the life of Saint Francis. The story goes that Saint Francis saved a child at this location. It was taken away by a wolf and Saint Francis convinced a goose to save the child. Inside the church you can admire a wonderful fresco about that miracle.
The monastery is an excellent location for couples who want to enjoy a relaxing and quiet holiday in the Umbrian country side. It is an interesting place, full of history and at an hour from Rome.
Around lunch time we went to restaurant Il Roscio in Attigliano for a good pasta. From the outside you wouldn’t go in. The restaurant is along the road, opposite of the exit for the A1, first floor of an ugly building, but we were recommended to go here and indeed the food is excellent. A very good choice for a quick typically Umbrian lunch on the road!
At the end of the day we visited a villa with swimming pool nearby Orvieto, the Etruscan city with its magnificent cathedral :
After totally ignoring this blog for several months (oooops!) … it is time to announce the reason why!
I (Willemijn) am leaving Villa in Umbria and am also moving. Villa in Umbria will continue and from now onwards the blogs here will be written by Saskia and Sylvia.
I am going to live near Florence and I will have to totally reinvent what I will be doing for a living.
Looking forward to it all and maybe see you in Tuscany!
Looking closely, you will see a small dog peeping through the window. That is my dog. He is getting rather old, but he managed to silently climb the stairs of this house and finish the cat food on the first floor.
Rather normal, but my dog does not see very well and his hearing has mostly gone as well. His sense of smell however, is making him enjoy life fully, stealing all the delicious cat food.
In his younger years, my dog did not dare climb the open stairs up to the first floor. Not seeing well has helped in this case.
He also enjoys a nice run, heat or no heat. His forgets about his stiff legs and dances around me when I am changing into my running gear. Three minutes into the run he loses all his youthful energy and stays a bit behind but keeping a steady pace. Not bad at all!
Once back home he cools off with his belly on the floor, like this: