The Umbria Regionis a land of a precious heritage of natural, historical, artistic andculinary wonders, and is also known as the green heart of Italy. It is an enchanting area made up of green valleys, and a lush nature that dominates and provides a feast for the eyes for all those who travel its paths. This land is also known for its famous black gold, the truffle. Thanks to the favourable conditions of the terrain and the variety of its woodlands, many types are produced: the highly esteemed black truffle, the scorzone estivo and the even rarer and decisively aromatic white truffle.
We find ourselves in Orvieto, which in ancient times was called Velzna and later rechristened Urbs vetus, meaning "old city." Built up on a tufaceous crag of rock formed by the lava deposits of volcanic eruptions centuries ago, Orvieto appears as a fortress town that would have been almost impossible to conquer.It is a truly beautiful city with its little medieval streets, its impressive "Duomo" (cathedral) and its famous Pozzo di San Patrizio - Saint Patrick's Well. It is not only known for its local wines, Orvieto Doc and Rosso Orvietano Doc, but also for its ceramics and lace which have been sold since medieval times, and are an absolute must for those who love to collect souvenirs. Even today the ancient workshops are still open to the public. Here, one can admire the ancient machinery and manufactured products. But Orvietois not only a city that offers treats for the eyes, but also treats to betasted and savoured. The characteristic flavours of the Umbrian cuisine, appreciated even in Roman times, can be found in such delicious specialties of Orvieto such as pigeon casserole or the classic chick pea soup. For those who love sweets, we recommend tasting the typical cake of Orvieto. It looks like a panettone but the recipe includes cherries as well as the usual raisins and peel, and this gives the cake aspecial fruity aroma.
LeavingOrvieto, another mandatory stop Terni. It isalso known as the city of Saint Valentine, patron saint of love and protector of lovers. It is celebrated on February 14th, the date on which he was martyred by the Romans. We find ourselves in Valnerina, a land famous for its abundance of water. In ancient times, Terniwas called Interamna Nanartium, meaning "place between two rivers." Infact, it is situated between the Rivers Nera and Serra. At Terni,it is possible to admire the highest waterfall in Europe,the splendid Cascata delle Marmore,formed by the meeting point between the River Velino and the River Nera and 162 meters high. Inthese waters, lovers of white water rafting and canoeing will find plenty ofexcitement. But the lovers of good cuisine will not be disappointed either. Thecity and the surrounding villages offer an authentic and delicious cuisine. Oneof the pasta dishes not to be missed is Cirioleall ternana, a thick squared spaghetti-like pasta served with a spicy sauce. Other local dishes include la frittata con gli stricoli, a type of omelette made with an herbaceous plantthat grows in the area. TheFaraona all leccarda- guinea-fowl cooked with olives, capers, bacon and other ingredients- is also delicious. Those visiting in the Christmas season will have the chance to taste the Panpepato, made with dried fruit, honey, candied fruit, sultanas, chocolate, and cinnamon.
At a distance of 28 kmwe will find the splendid town of Spoleto. This prehistoric city was already an important centre in Etruscan and Roman times. Itis over flowing with monuments and archeological sites. The evocative market place, Piazza del mercato, is not to be missed. Also, going from there to the impressive cathedral or Duomo, one happens to pass through the marvellous Via di Fontesecca. Another of the most ancient constructions is the Roman Theatre which dates back to the 1st century B.C. and is still used for theatrical productions. For those who wish to visit in summer, we recommend the world famous Festival of the two worlds, also known as the Spoleto Festival, which takes place every year between the end of June and July.The visitor's palates will be tickled by the local specialties of Spoleto such as Strangozzi, a homemade pasta of water and flour, truly delicious with every type of sauce. The local recipes will find excellent accompaniment with the two wines of European appellation, Rosso di Montefalco Doc and Sagrantino Docg. A dessert not to be missed at Christmas time is the Attorta... and dessert very similar to strudel which should absolutely be tried at least once. Other local desserts that should be triedare the Crescionda, a cake similar to chocolate pudding but flatter and shaped like a pizza.
Going still further north by car for another ninety minutes along the road, we find Gubbio, where the region seems to givethe most of itself with another landscape jewel, not only for Umbria, but also for Italy. Enchanting views and numerous picturesque scenes of ancient villages and medieval villages can be enjoyed by the visitor.The solid medieval walls still surround three kilometers of the city, reminiscent of achest protecting its treasure: ancient churches, convents and palaces. The most fascinating feature of the place is the 14th century Consuls' Palace, Palazzo dei consoli, famous not only as the site of the Civic Museum but also for the famous Tavole Eugubine, the bronze slabs inscribed with Umbrian and Latin letters discovered in 1444. The cuisine of the area proposes a wide range of typical and traditional dishes related to the ancient peasant recipes. One of the most important dishes to remember is friccò, made with white meats (chicken, rabbit, lamb) and cooked with wine, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, oil and often with tomato, all accompanied by crescia al panaro, a type of bread, cooked in a wood oven and covered with cinders.