Hello my dear readers or should I say Ciao. Here is the post on my travels in Italy as promised.
This is my second time in Italy. The first time was during my honeymoon two years ago, where my husband, J, and I did the big cities (Milan, Bologna, Florence, Venice, Rome).
So this time, I was in no hurry to cover the ‘must sees’ and ‘must dos’ but to take my time exploring the smaller towns and (slightly) less travelled areas.
We travelled to the central region, Umbria and Tuscany before we made our way to Rome and the Campania region.
Even though Italy is a single country, each region and every town can be so vastly different – from the food (they eat so regionally in Italy) to the people (the way they talk. In Naples, they are always engaged in boisterous conversations).
The overwhelming one thing that was present in all the regions that we have visited is the genuine warmth of the Italians, the kind that makes you feel at home immediately.
The Italian adventure began when we touched down at Fiumicino Airport in Rome. We picked up our rental car at the airport and drove down to our first stop in Umbria, Montefalco, a small wine producing town situated on a hilltop.
The drive was pretty easy 2.5 hr journey on the highway. We stayed at an agriturismo just slightly out of of the Montefalco town. First up on the agenda was to fill our rumbling tummies with some rustic and traditional Umbrian lunch. I had a homemade pasta with ragu that was homely and comforting and shared some salumi and a typical vegetable soup.
We then headed to visit a local family-run olive grove and vineyard, Romanelli Agricola. Anna took us on a little tour around the farm and explained the running and production of their olive oil and wine, how they believe in the organic methods of farming. During the afternoon when we were there, they were in the midst of harvesting the olives and it was still pretty much a manual and labour intensive process. Their vineyard produced 100% Sagrantino wine which is the grape that is grown in this region.
After the tour, we did a tasting of their olive oil and wine. The olive oil has intense flavours with spicy after notes; a very lovely and distinct olive oil that would be perfect on a bruschetta. My favourite wine was their sweet wine, the Sagrantino Passito DOCG. It has been aged in oak for about 3 years and it shows in the final product – it taste like port, a mellow, raisin flavour, sweet (but not too sweet) wine that would be perfect with cheese. We bought a few bottles of olive oil and wine to bring home.
We spent the evening walking along the small and narrow paths of Montefalco town. This hill town has commonly referred to “the balcony of Umbria” and sure enough, we were rewarded with the most lovely views of the Umbrian countryside where you can see as far as the other Umbrian towns like Spoleto, Spello, Assisi and Trevi on a clear day.
There was nothing better than to stand by to watch the sun fade away into the plains and quiet towns.
Even as I fought the onslaught of jet lag, I felt at peace. And in that moment, I knew I was in green heart of Italy – Umbria.
Agriturismo Camiano Piccolo
Via Camiano Piccolo, 06036 Montefalco
Olive grove and vineyard
San Clemente 129 A, 06036 Montefalco, Italy
Call to make arrangements before heading there so that they will make arrangements for someone to take you around for a tour.
Piazza del Commune
Piazza del Comune, Montefalco, Italy
Take a walk through the narrow streets to the main piazza in Montefalco for a drink.