HIDDEN GEM AT THE HEART OF ITALY
Umbria is the new Tuscany, discover it now!
REGION AT THE HEART OF ITALY:
Umbria has all the innocence and charm that Tuscany has meanwhile lost. Laidback life, authentic food and wine, historic cities, etruscan roots. It's truffles, salami and wine is among the best in Italy, though much cheaper than the brands from the north. Castles and medieval villages dot the hills, agriculture and the odd high-tech company line the streets. This area is best explored in a convertible or on bikes!
One discovery was a humble wine called Montefalco Rosso, made mostly from Sangiovese grapes (the same that goes into Chianti and most other Tuscany wines) and softer and smoother than his big brother Montefalco Sagrantino, which packs more punch. Both are a perfect match for the local cuisine which is rich in wild boar, mushroom and earthy dishes.
Stay at the B&B Torre Sangiovanni, south of Todi in Collevalenza. Next to a remarkable modern pilgrims chatedral is a old medioeval village with tower and walls, where basically half the village is the B&B. You can book a room in the old tower itself, or a whole, lovely renovated, appartment in the village, depending on your needs, budget and group size. Check it at www.torre-sangiovanni.it
Spring or Fall
Start from Rome, drive to Orvieto and discover the surroundings north and east until Perugia. Visit Todi, Spoleto, Lake Trasimeno and don't miss Deruta for gorgeous ceramics. Oh, and Norcia is famous for truffles!