21 Jul
umbria food

Discover Umbria food and drink with Gourmet tours

With medieval villages, vibrant cities, rolling verdurous hillsides and troves of artistic treasures, the beautiful region of Umbria stands apart from the rest of Italy for many reasons.

But one of the biggest reasons Umbria possesses a scene that is inimitable from the rest of its country is due to its production of many gourmet delights.

From artisan cured meats to world-renowned wine, from intensely-flavoured truffles to deep and luxurious extra virgin olive oils, Umbria food and drink is an abundant source of gourmet goldmines just crying out to be explored.

Whilst Torgiano and Orvieto are two of the biggest winegrowing regions in Umbria, where lush and fruitful vineyards and delightfully characterful wine cellars are open for tourists to visit all year round, it is north of Rome, in Bella Umbria, where some of the most legendary Umbria food tours take place.

One such Umbria food tour is in the village of Bevagna that lies to the north of Spoleto and to the south of Assisi. What has been described as being a “fairy tale hamlet”, this ancient village dates back to the Roman era, and as a consequence many Roman treasures have remained there including Roman mosaics in the museum and a second century Roman temple and amphitheatre.

On a ‘luxury Umbria culinary tour’ guests enjoy five days exploring this fascinating region, including lunching at the mythical Giancarlo Vissani restaurant, olive oil tasting at the ancient “Frantoio”, truffle hunting close to the stunningly picturesque Citta del Castello, enjoying private Umbrian cooking lessons, visiting delightfully intimate wine cellars and even witnessing the ancient Umbrian artistic practice of ceramic making – quite an accomplishment in just five days!

Aside being introduced to some of the most fascinating, ancient and prevailing cultural practises in Umbria, guests will also visit many of the region’s most interesting and magnificent towns, including Perugia, Orvieto, Assisi and Spoleto.

For more information on what could possibly be one of the best ways to discover Umbria in its ‘truest’ and ‘natural’ form, click HERE.

 


 

24 May

Umbria Jazz Festival 2012

Umbria Jazz Festival 2012– An electrifying mix of world quality music in the most idyllic of settings.

From the 6 – 15 July, the Umbria Jazz Festival 2012 will be taking place in Perugia, Umbria. This world-acclaimed musical event has become one of the leading jazz festivals on both the Italian and international music festival calendar.

Since it was launched in 1973, the Umbria Jazz Festival has been held each year in the month of July in the city of Perugia. In fact so popular and highly esteemed did the festival almost immediately become that it justified a sibling event to be held, the Umbria Jazz Winter Festival, which takes place in December and early January, in the city of Orvieto.

Many a legendary jazz musician has confirmed their unique talents at this top Italian music festival, with the likes of Tony Bennett, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Sting, Alicia Keys, Oscar Peterson and even the legendary B.B. King, wowing the crowds of thousands of jazz fans who have made their way to this idyllic Italian town to witness the Umbria Jazz Festival over the years.

Aside the fact that the Umbria Jazz Festival attracts the biggest and most celebrated names in this seductive genre of music making the festival the huge success it has become, the event’s setting can not be overlooked as having a major influence on the popularity of the festival.

Similar to how Glastonbury Festival is said to be inspired by its location in the heart of the rural tranquillity of the verdurous and rolling hills of Sommerset, held in the beautiful, quaint and ancient squares of the city of Perugia, the capital of Umbria, surrounded by simply spectacular scenery, there really could not be a more atmospheric, idyllic and inspiring location than to host this leading jazz fiesta, which sees a throng of fill up Perugia’s charming streets.

The whole of this captivating city comes alive during the Umbria Jazz festival’s ten-day duration, with most of the concerts taking place outdoors, including those at the Perugia’s main venue, the 4,500-seat Giardini del Frontone.

This year the Umbria Jazz Festival promises to be as spectacular as ever with headlining artists including some of the celebrated names in the world of contemporary jazz, including Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Sonny Rollins, Melody Gardot, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea.

Even if you do not consider yourself to be a jazz fan, its inimitable atmosphere, unrivalled joyousness and unique medieval setting, means the Umbria Jazz Festival 2012 is there to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their musical taste.

To really spoil yourself, why not consider a luxury villa in Umbria from Vintage Travel?


 

26 Apr
luxury villa in Orvieto

Vintage Travel’s latest luxury villa in Orvieto

A marvel within a marvel – Vintage Travel puts II Rosaio in Orvieto, Umbria on their books!

The city of Orvieto, perched on a volcanic plug, on the flat summit of a huge butte of volcanic tuff in south-western Umbria, has been cited as being one of the most dramatic cities in Europe. This ancient city surges above the perpendicular faces of the tuff cliffs, which were made even mightier when defensive walls were built from the same Tufa stone.

The old part of this absorbing city is identifiably Etruscan, developed in Italy in approximately 800 BC and was a major town during the Etruscan civilization, and in a city this ancient yet amazingly well-reserved, there are naturally a plethora of sites and marvels for the historically-minded tourist to get lost in.

The magnificent Orvieto Cathedral (Duomo) is one such site, a huge awe-inspiring structure which was built under the orders of Pope IV in the 14th century. A large rose window, three mighty bronze doors, walls strewn with golden mosaics and two intrinsically decorated chapels, possessing glaringly stark images of Judgement Day, means Orvieto Cathedral never fails to mesmerise all who catch sight of it.

Stroll across the street from the Duomo and walk into the Museo Claudio Faina, Orvieto’s archaeological museum. Here visitors can muse through this former palace’s many rooms, crammed with artefacts from the Etruscan era.

Asides the hordes of historically-inspirational sites and attractions, Orvieto is famous for its wine, with many of the town’s local wineries putting on tours and tastings. Or, perhaps a simpler pleasure, is sipping classic Orvieto wine from a ceramic cup with watching the sun drench the magnificent Duomo cathedral – life doesn’t get much better than this!

If you are looking for a luxury villa in Orvieto, Vintage Travel recommends II Rosaio, a delightful stone property set within spacious grounds just five kilometres from the city of Orvieto.

This beautiful house, snuggled within a frame of trees and laurel hedges, sleeps eight, with its four airy bedrooms and three bedrooms featuring many traditional delights, such as wooden floors, beamed ceiling and stone walls – in-keeping immensely with the area of which II Rosaio sits.

Outside in the property’s expansive grounds, one can be absorbed by the simply breath-taking views that surround II Rosaio, or be refreshed in the large private pool. Dining outside on the covered terrace which abuts the kitchen, listening to the small stream which runs alongside the grounds, is as pleasurable as dining inside, just another arduous decision visitors are faced with during their stay at II Rosaio!

A week’s rental of the luxury villa in Orvieto, II Rosaio, starts from £1650, rising to £2995 during peak season.

 


 

04 Apr

Three of the best museums in Umbria

Three majestically mesmerising museums in Umbria.

The Italian region of Umbria is home to a large number of unique and interesting museums, with even the smallest and least well-known being most definitely worthy of a visit. With such a vast choice of intriguing, surprising and highly enlightening museums on offer, knowing which one to head to during your Umbrian holiday is an onerous choice.

To help you decide, we’ve highlighted three of the best museums in Umbria.

Museo della Porziuncola, Assisi

Set with the walls of the Museo della Porziuncola, are many rare and important works of art including the Crucifix of Giunta Pisano (1236). This fascinating museum, with an emblem that states “Where Art tells the Story of Faith”, was founded in the 1920s.

Its exhibits are set out in chronological order, with the first section of the museum be dedicated to the Church of Porziuncola and the second half devoted to the Basilica of Galeazzo Alessi.

Museo Burri, Citta di Castello, Perugia

This mesmerising museum is set within twelve great barns, which were once used for growing tobacco before they were transformed into an enormous art studio by Alberto Burri, the Italian abstract painter and sculptor. All of its 12 rooms boast a noble Gothic hall of ‘majestic proportions’, the result of a painstakingly meticulous restoration project in 2000 to restore the rooms to their original character.

There are literally thousands of ancient artefacts and treasured art work on display at Museo Burri, and if you are a history and art enthusiast, a visit is imperative.

Museo Civico, Portica

Not only is the Museo Civico home to hordes of Etruscan-Roman objects, but visitors can access the ruins of the Roman Forum, the foundations of an aedicule which contains ancient statues of Pollux and Castor, and the foundations of the Temple of Minerva, via a corridor in the museum – Definitely not your average museum and most certainly worthy of a visit!

That’s three of the best museums in Umbria, how about a look at the very best villas in Umbria?


 

16 Aug

Three top restaurants in Umbria

For many, the cuisine in Umbria is the best in Italy. From its famous black truffles, to its legendary olive oil, food does not get much better than in Umbria.

Born from ‘cucina povera’ – poor peasant cooking – chefs in Umbria always rely on fresh seasonal ingredients cooked simply yet to a very high standard. Naturally, with such a huge and serious devotion to cooking in Umbria, the region is littered with top-quality restaurants, all serving delicious Umbrian cuisine.

We take a look at three top restaurants in Umbria…

Osteria dell’Enoteca, Spoleto

With a curved iron staircase, dark wooden benches lay under a high stone ceiling surrounded by row upon row of bottles of local wine, this 12th-century tavern certainly looks the part, but does its cuisine live up to its façade?

In a word, yes. With the food – all of which is typical of the area, such as truffle omelettes and ‘shoelace’ pasta – wine, the service, ambience and prices being described as ‘terrific’, a trip to Osteria dell’Enoteca in the town of Spoleto has to be on your culinary agenda during your stay in Umbria.

II Gufo, Perugia

Situated in the heart of the city of Perugia, this top quality restaurant never fails to be at the hub of the region’s vibrant restaurant scene. The owner always buys the ingredients from the local markets so that the dishes are always brimming with freshness and flavour. From cinghiale’ (wild boar), to ‘riso negro’ (black rice), the comprehensive menu at the II Gufo caters for a range of tastes. Prices are more than acceptable and so is the service, making II Gufo a firm favourite amongst the diners of Perugia.

Trattoria II Cortile, Macerata

A visit to the Umbrian town of Macerata would not be complete without dropping in at Trattoria II Cortile and experience home cooking like you have never experienced it before. All dishes are lovingly prepared by the restaurant’s boisterous yet friendly family and are followed by a delicious selection of homemade cakes – You will never walk out of Trattoria II Cortile not feeling full!

One of the top villas would have to be Villa Magnolia (pictured), a 4 bedroom villa in Lake Trasimeno, which would be a fine base for taking full advantage of Umbria’s top restaurants.


 

28 May

The Umbria Jazz Festival 2011

With the advent of the warmer weather and lighter nights, all of a sudden the summer months do not feel as far away, and knowing how quickly time flies, July and August will some be upon us.

It is therefore important that you start to plan your summer break.

If you love jazz music and love Italy, it is almost imperative that you attend the Umbria Jazz Festival 2011– one of the biggest and leading jazz events in Europe.

Since 1973, this ten-day event has been held at the Renaissance Hill in the Umbrian city of Perugia, and has always attracted a huge crowd of more than 200,000 jazz fans from around the world; eager to see some of the biggest names in jazz perform at the festival.

As well as attracting some of the most exclusive jazz musicians (including Paolo Conte, Milton Nascimento, Sergio Cammeriere, The Coolbone Brass Band of New Orleans and Gilberto Gil), the festival also caters for other musical tastes, with rock n roll, Cuban salsa, African tribal music and world music also featuring at the event.

Throughout the Umbria Jazz Festival, Perugia’s quaint and picturesque squares and streets are filled with marching bands, gospel groups, and of course, stunning solo performances by the best jazz musicians the world has ever known.

Many of the performances take place outside under the warm Perugia July sky. The shows are all free, with the majority taking place in the city’s Giardini del Frontene, which has a seating capacity of 4,500.

Last year more than 400 artists made their way from around the globe to Perugia to perform at the jazz festival, including Melody Gardot, Mark Knopfler, Chick Corea and Enrido Rava.

The 2011 Umbria Jazz Festival’s line-up and programme has yet to be announced, but more information on this sensational event, which is a ‘must see’ for any jazz fan, can be found at the festival’s official website.

For one of the best 4 bed villas in Perugia, have a look at Vintage Travel’s stunning Gli Oleandri.


 

28 Jun

Visiting the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Otherwise known as Basilica Papale di San Francesco in Italian, this is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order amd the bitrthplace of St. Francis. It’s therefore one of the most important Christian pilgrimage in Italy and a recognised World Herritage Site since 2000.

The impressive Basilica Of St Francis


 

04 Apr

Luxury Villas in Umbria

Recharge the batteries at Cà di Cicala which is located in a tranquil setting in an off-the beaten track location in Umbria – the green heart of Italy.

Cà di Cicala - private villa in Umbria

The property comprises two charming restored cottages – interlinked by a stone walkway – which are located at the end of a winding lane past woods, vineyards and tobacco fields and situated in seven acres of unspoilt woodland – teeming with wildlife – in a hidden Umbrian valley.

Cà di Cicala's private pool

These forested slopes are ideal for enjoying leisurely walks and for getting close to nature.