relaxing umbria

Old Jun 28th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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relaxing umbria

We just got back from a few days relaxing at a friend's home in the rolling umbrian hills outside of bevagna.

this was a long overdue visit. we had visited some of the surroundings on other trips, but this time got to go back to assisi twice, discover bevagna, its medieval fair, and wander through todi.

the area is full of agriturism places. and wineries. montefalco has quite a few itself. we enjoyed the antonelli winery. it also has its own rental apartments somewhere on the property. they have won some awards for certain wines which my husband enjoyed tasting and buying.

the medieval fair at bevagna should not be missed if you are anywhere near. i have never seen such authenticity. the town divides itself into four areas, and each quarter during the year decides on how to make its quarter even more authentic for the next fair.

from the food, to the garb, the street oil lamp lighting at night, the shops, and the wonderful theater and music in the streets.. the craftsmen.. all is so authentic, you feel pushed back in time.

the judges go by during the week, and make very important notes, taking off points for overlooks and giving points for outstanding acheivements.

the last night the winning quarter is announced. bevagna is a wonderful town that still today gives you the feeling of historic roots, from its exquisitely restored edificies down to its townspeople. the efforts during this fair made by all these volunteers, shows such pride.

we were pleasantly surprised by the professionalism of all the aspects of this event and would encourage it as a stop on a future trip for anyone.
i believe it is usually the last week in june.

We ate mostly at surrounding towns in little unpretentious places my friend knew. It is hard to get a bad meal in italy. most of our meals for three, with one bottle of wine, one dessert, and one or two coffees were 40-60 euros.

Santa maria d'angello.: at base before going up to assisi you have this wonderful basilica where st. francis' original chapel is. it is also where he died, and this basilica was built around the little chapel to protect it .

saturday evenings, at 9 pm. you have the mass and procession of the candles. the mass lasts about 40 minutes and then everyone receives a candle to light, and the entire church slowly empties into the plaza, each one holding a lit candle singing a beautiful hymn as they all walk around the entire plaza in the dark.

this is quite a moving spectacle. the view from outside in the plaza looking into the open doors of the church, where you can see the original chapel, as all the people start to stream out with the lit candles was exquisite. i was very glad to have happened upon this weekly procession.

Behind this same basilica is a very nice reasonably priced restaurant called "La Basilica". my friend is a regular there. the food is correct and not over priced.

getting around umbria is simple if you have a car. it is not well connected among itself by public transportation, with the exception of some of the better known cities.

each town has its own charm, shops with tempting salamis and cheeses and ecological oils, not to mention prized wines.

i am looking for a brochure about an interesting sunday wine and local olive oil tour where a bus collects you and takes you to four or five prearranged visits. as soon as i locate it i will post the website, along with some other interesting places we went past.

there seems to be alot to do through all the local city halls and councils.. jazz..fairs, onion fair, truffle fair, concerts, recitals, dance,etc. etc. depending on what time of year you are there.

what we enjoyed most was the view from our friend's place and knowing that the building laws protect the land so a developper cannot come in and turn that lovely mountainside into a retirement community. you can only build if you find a ruin to build upon. and the you can add 30 % onto its previous size. So the ruins are in great demand, and few and far between.

if you go to this area, enjoy the starry nights. there is very little light pollution so the black skies and shiny stars, venus included, are a fulfilling site in themselves.

there are two important local museums near bevagna we will visit next time.. one is the wine museum, and the other the oil museum.

oh.. and the gelattos were great also. tried pink grapefruit, montefalco wine, blood orange , and many many more.

if you see this pasta on a menu, try it. cream sauce, sauage bits and truffles.. "Pasta a la norcia". delicioso!!

we are addicted to umbria, (among other italian destinations)!
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 10:18 AM
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WOW... I am soooooooo envious.

Sounds like a slice of heaven
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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How lovely to read of beautiful Umbria. I have just returned from two weeks at Montefalco. You describe it well. I also loved the night sky there. We were treated to the fireflies at night all through the olive groves. Did you see them? It only happens for a couple of weeks, I was told.

Another thing I loved was the beautiful soft blue light around the hills.

A landscape that is good for the soul!

I cant wait to go back there.
 
Old Jun 28th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Thank you lincasanova for this very nice report...

We're looking forward to being there for a week in early September. You talk of Bevagna's medieval fair; I'm seriously considering the "Giostra del Saracino" in Arezzo on September 4th.
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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a few extra lodgings, etc:

"Il Chiostra d Bevagna", a cloister from 1600's turned hotel in central bevagna.
very nice. rooms about 70 euros.
www.ilchiostrodibevagna.com

Historic luxury hotel: "L'Orto degli Angeli"
www.ortoangeli.it
tel: (39)0742 360 130

"Hotel Brunamonti"
bevagna
www.brunamonti.com

for wine tours/local info:
"la strada del sagrantino" association at

www.stradadelsagrantino.it

this association has all you want to know about the region for wine tours, agriturism, food, and sights to visit. "sagrantino" is a supposedly exquisite grape frm the area. ( i don't drink, but this is what i was told).

yes, i saw some fireflies, but not nearly as many as my friend had been seeing.

what a lovely area. i hope to have helped detour an unsuspecting reader to take a few days off the beaten track there! It is so conducive to relaxing and enjoying.. the scenery and the food!

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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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We were also in this lovely countryside near Bevagna for 7 days at the end of May. Our agriturismo, Le Case Gialle, an award-winning olive oil producer, was excellent and about 15 minutes drive from Bevagna, where we loved the local pasta and pastry shops, the friendly people, the Osteria Podesta (have to check the name, at work so no notes here)and the atmosphere of this small walled town.

Fireflies appeared the night we arrived (May 21) for the first time this season, according to our hostess, and they were thick in the olive groves the whole week we were there -- magical. The owners are very involved with the wine organization lincasanova mentioned, La Strada del Sagrentino, and can arrange wine tastings for you.

When I have a little time I will post a short report of this trip, but meanwhile, lincasanova, I definitely want to quickly thank you for the excellent tips you gave me for Madrid, my final destination of a great month-long trip!
annabelle
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 02:16 PM
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well, thank you. i throw out so many ideas, glad someone found some of them useful.!

seems like more go to umbria than it seems .. it did not seem "teeming" with tourists, which was nice. of course, assisi was full of people, but everything is so spread out, i thoroughly enjoyed myself.

we are hoping to at least send our son to help our friend harvest their olives in the fall. seems like the real party is down at the "refinery" press. sounds very exciting.
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 03:25 PM
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How fortunate for your son! That would be a lot of fun. I believe it is becoming more and more difficult for the locals to be able to afford to hire people to pick the olives.

I bought a litre of olive oil from my agriturismo and it is just the best I have ever tasted.

If you would like to check the website www.livingitaly.com there is a full summary of the art cities tour I have just done.

Annabelle I look forward to reading your trip report.
 
Old Oct 25th, 2008, 10:19 AM
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