Umbria is one of the few Regions in Italy where tourists are not too many and it is still possible to visit having an authentic experience of the Italian lifestyle. There is only one issue: after you have been there once, you won’t be the same ever again.
Either you were born in Umbria, either you’ve spent a week there, or even you’ve just stopped by while travelling from Rome to Florence, you will never be the same again and your life will be ruined. Why?
- Food: Once you have had a bit of the typical torta al testo (flat bread) stuffed with local cured ham and pecorino cheese, or with local pork sausages and spinach, or even just with Nutella, you will never get rid of the memory of that heavenly bite. But as you won’t find these flavours anywhere else in the world, you’ll find yourself daydreaming about them, hoping to taste them at least once again in your lifetime. Truffles, cured ham, wild boar stew (cinghiale alla cacciatora): these are only few of the hundreds unique product you can taste in Umbria. Once you have tasted them, how will you be able to eat again that boring, tasteless sandwich once home? Have you ever experienced an authentic italian-mom? You SHOULD, and Umbria is the perfect place for that! They will spoil you like no one has ever done before. Here the 10 ways to recognise an authentic italian mom!
- Wine: We are used to spend loads of money on wine, especially in a restaurant: at least £30 for a mediocre wine in the UK, or over 500NOK (around £40 or $60) for a poor wine in Norway. When you realise that in Umbria you can buy, for the same money, a bottle of the award-winning Sagrantino di Montefalco aged 10 years, then you wonder: why am I not moving here? I’m telling you: the wine you’ll drink at home won’t taste as good anymore.
- History: Centuries of history are waiting for you behind every corner of Umbrian’s towns. First the Etruscans were there, over 2000 years ago, then the romans. During the Middle Age the towns expanded and then evolved gradually into what we see today: a mosaic of beauty. It will not feel the same going back to your daily life, where around the corner there is an average warehouse from the 80s and not a Medioeval church built in stone.
- Art: Either in a museum, in a church, a cloister or even on the street, it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by the incredible amount of art you can see while visiting Umbria. Just an example is the stunning Basilica Superiore di Assisi, land of San Francis, where beautiful medioeval frescoes from Giotto are. I guarantee: after you have seen that, the next visit to your local museum, where “modern art” like a burnt table with a dead cow on it made by a frustrated hippy is the highlight of the exhibition, it will be quite disappointing.
- Traditions: Not just food and wine. In Umbria ancient traditions have survived through the centuries. Epic contests, parades, festivals. If you visit Umbria especially in Spring or Summer you can find yourself surrounded by medioeval knights on their horses fighting for their lives. Or you may decide to run uphill carrying one of the three gigantic wooden pillars in Gubbio (Ceri di Gubbio) while chased by thousands of people. Will you be able then to go back to the normality of your life in a shirt and suit? Umbrians love their national traditions, inlcuding pasta! Do you know that SIZE and SHAPE matters? Learn it here, with tips to match pasta and tomato sauce like an italian would do!
- Music: In July Umbria becomes the Capital of Jazz with the Umbria Jazz Festival. From Lady Gaga and Tony Bennet to Sting to James Taylor, several internationallu acclaimed artists come to Umbria for this unmissable event. If you like something less international, you may find smaller events to satisfy any taste in music. And if you are truly old fashioned, then you may want to check one of the dozens local summer festivals, where you can tire yourself to death with hours of ballroom dancing.
- Nice People: in Umbria you are welcomed by friendly people, always available to help you out if you get lost or to forgive you if you have bought the wrong ticket for your journey. Several friends that visited Umbria were impressed by the effort people they met were making to help them out even with the language barrier. Going back to London where there is no forgiveness if you buy the wrong train ticket or where hardly anyone would bother helping you if you need help, will make you wonder: should I go back there?
- Hand made and good quality: Artisans and entrepreneurs make Umbria an ideal place where to find products of high quality and often hand made. The worldwide famous pottery from Deruta is an example, not to mention the excellent cashmere of Brunello Cucinelli. All made in Umbria. I can’t imagine your disappointment in touching your wool sweater after you have touched what “softness” feels like.
- Weather: the 4 seasons is not just a piece from Vivaldi, but something still existing in Umbria. Hot summers to sun tan and swim, warm springs for cycling and other outdoor activities, and cold winters to ski: there is a moment for every passion and hobby.
- Scenery: from high mountains to flat regions, the highest waterfall in Europe and beautiful lakes, Umbria offers a broad range of landscapes in a small area. Colorful fields with sunflowers, grapes or even just wild flowers, like in the stunningly colorful piana di Castelluccio near Norcia that becomes a giant rainbow in Spring. Thirty minutes’ drive and you go wherever you want. It won’t be easy to go back home where the closest mountain may be 5h drive far!
- A possibility: visiting Umbria will ruin your life forever because it makes you realise this desirable quality of life, these colours, these landscapes… they are not a dream. They are a possibility for everyone, even for you. Cause you have experienced it yourself.
Would you like to cook some traditional dishes from Umbria? Penne alla Norcina is an easy start! Check the recipe. Or you can find several other delicious RECIPES to cook delicious italian dishes!