Oldways’ week-long culinary and cultural journey traveled through the beautiful Italian region of Umbria. Known as the green heart of Italy, Umbria is the only region in Italy that doesn’t border either water or another country. From our base in Umbria’s capital city Perugia, an historic hilltop city known for chocolate and its maze of medieval streets, we fanned out on country day trips to discover the food, wines, artisanal products, art, and ceramics that make the region so special. We learned from producers and artisans; sampled local specialty wines and ingredients; enjoyed meals in country trattorias, farmhouses, and palaces, as well as city restaurants during six days and seven nights of discovering the elegant and rustic charms of Umbria.
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Benvenuto
Check-in at Brufani Palace Hotel This ﬁve-star hotel oﬀers a hilltop view in the heart of historic Perugia. Welcome reception, wine tasting and dinner at the Brufani Palace Hotel. Federico Bibi from Terre Margaritelli provided an introduction to Umbria through wine. Welcome dinner featuring regional specialties.
Day 2: Truﬄe Day
To Trevi and Tenuta di San Pietro to hunt for the famed Umbrian black truﬄes. To Tenuta di San Pietro a Pettine for a cooking demonstration and to learn how to make umbricelli, a local ﬂour and water pasta, as well as how the truﬄes are made into sauce. Then a truﬄe feast for lunch! Return to Perugia after lunch for a guided tour of Perugia or free time. Dinner of local specialties at Osteria a Priori, a store and restaurant dedicated entirely to Umbrian food and wine products.
Day 3: Orvieto
After breakfast, a drive south along Lake Corbara to Orvieto, one of the most beautiful hilltop towns in Umbria. A tour with David Tordi to see the town’s main sites, including Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza del Popola, and the Churches of Sant’Andrea, San Giovenale, and others. A visit the Duomo and the world famous Chapel of San Brizio. Lunch at La Pergola , a restaurant in Orvieto known for its authentic dishes.
Day 4: Todi and Deruta
Drive to nearby Todi, which has been called “the most livable town in the world.” Elisa Pichiotti guided us through this charming medieval hill town, providing the history of Todi and the surrounding area. A visit to the main churches, including San Fortunato and the Duomo, as well as the Tempieto, which is attributed to Bramante. Lunch in the center of Todi at Ristorante Umbria, a restaurant with traditional food and spectacular views of the surrounding Umbrian countryside. Ceramics in Deruta , one of the most famed centers for the ancient art of majolica, a type of ceramic decoration that was developed in the 15th century. Elizabeth Minchilli, author of the book Deruta, introduced Grazie, one of the oldest workshops in town. Shopping at Sberna, Elizabeth’s favorite store. Dinner in Perugia at Civico 25, a more modern take on Umbrian cuisine with the music of the 60s.
Day 5: Norcia, Mountains, and Chocolate!
The ﬁrst stop of the day is a very special farm, Zaferano e Dintorni, to taste and learn about local heirloom fruits and saﬀron, and learn about traditional medicinal herbs. Next, a journey up the mountain to visit another spectacular medieval town, Norcia. Alessandra Malozzi, a local tour guide, talked about the history of this ancient town. The people of Norcia are famous for their skill at curing meats—so famous that today most salumeria in Italy are simply called Norcineria. A visit to one of the oldest workshops in town and a guided tasting of some of their specialties. Lunch at Palazzo Seneca , a Renaissance palace that has been converted into a stunning hotel and restaurant. A visit to the chocolate factory Cioccolateria Vetusta Nursia for a chocolate tasting. Free time in Perugia for the evening.
Day 6: Farm Day
Leaving Perugia for the Granarium, a traditional ﬂourmill and bakery in Cantalupo, to see the entire transformation process from grain seed to milling to baking during a tour and tasting. They call themselves a 0 km bakery because all phases of the process are completed on site. A visit the historic winery and vineyards of Scacciadiavoli to learn about Umbria’s most important wine: Sagrantino. Farm day continues with a visit to the Angelucci family and their small-scale farm for a tour, a cooking demonstration, a cheese making demonstration, and a simple lunch of products from the farm. A visit to Bevagna, one of the most intact medieval towns in Umbria. A tour of three of the six original guild workshops have been carefully restored and are operating: a candle maker, a paper maker, and an ancient apothecary.
Day 7: Some gems of Umbria
Travel to the historic town of Assisi, birth place of St. Francis. Irene Maturi, a local tour guide, gave a tour of the most famous churches, along with art masterpieces by Giotto, Cimabue, and other Renaissance masters. Free time in Assisi for shopping, coﬀee, or resting. From Assisi, a half-hour drive along the Trevi Valley to the small town of Campello sul Clitunno at the source of the Clitunno River. Lunch at Ristorante Parco del Clitunno, to enjoy trout, eels, and crayﬁsh caught from springs that run right through the restaurant. Free afternoon in Perugia to pack, swim, exercise, or take a last walk around. Farewell Dinner at Postale in Castello di Monterone. Located just outside of Perugia, this imposing castle has been transformed into one of the best hotels in Umbria, with two of the city’s best restaurants.