A Tour to discover hidden Treasures.
With this article we inaugurate a new section of iBESTmag, which will be dedicated to travel suggestions. Our suggestions, aimed at satisfying the needs and desires of the most demanding readers. We will therefore propose a cultured, refined tourism, focused on the natural and artistic aspects of the territories, as well as to eno-gastronomic ones, therefore in line with our mission: the search for quality. Quality and excellence that do not necessarily have to be surrounded by media clamor or internationally renowned for being such. Very often, indeed, they are small businesses designed precisely for their size, exclusively for real connoisseurs and for those who want to search and discover.
It therefore seemed ideal to join the Discovery Tour “Umbria that you do not expect”, organized by the Association “Città della Pieve and Friends“, aimed at making known a small part of this wonderful region, which we can still consider “secret” . The whole world knows in fact places like Perugia, Assisi, Gubbio, Spoleto, Orvieto etc. but you can still remain more than pleasantly surprised by others less known, such as those that we will explore in this Tour. There are indeed aspects hidden in small towns, among the rolling hills of this area that will astonish us for their beauty, or for their quality, often due to the distance from that mass tourism that brings notoriety, but that very often alters or destroys the social structure.
MONTELEONE DI ORVIETO – Let’s start then from the small village of Monteleone di Orvieto (first image) , with its splendid view of the Val di Chiana Romana, towards Mount Cetona. One of the typical small fortified centers of Medieval Italy. A long history, characterized by ups and downs, different dominations, periods of prosperity and others, of lesser luck. A bit like many similar places in this Italy, always divided into communes fighting each other.
ANTHEIA – And just a short distance from Monteleone we meet a first example of production excellence: “Antheia“. An organic farm born only a few years ago to support the dreams of Maria Josephina and Cesare, a Piedmontese couple who decided to change their lives. Antheia therefore now produces the “red gold” … i.e Saffron, along with E.V.O. olive oil and other seasonal vegetables. The quality level is high and especially for saffron products, definitely varied and interesting. An example above all, the excellent saffron syrup, used in cocktails, desserts and paired with aged cheeses. The packaging of the products is particularly varied and original, such as the limited production organic EVO bottle. It is also possible to stay in the splendid farmhouse, in comfortable and luminous rooms furnished with elegant simplicity.
CORNIETO – We move now, always in the territory of Monteleone, where in another organic farm “Cornieto“, the owner Rita produces 3 different types of monovarietal E.V.O. oil. Through a well-organized tasting and accompanied by the explanations of Rita, visitors can learn and thoroughly evaluate both the processing techniques and the organoleptic qualities of the oil. Using these products we can certainly be sure that no chemical fertilizers and pesticides have been used, as well as industrial processing techniques that we would call “mass”. As said at the beginning, even in this case we are faced with realities intended for connoisseurs. Even here, you can stay in a typical Umbrian farmhouse, surrounded by nature and among the olive trees.
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Before leaving the territory of Monteleone, however, why not take a break to refresh? So just stop at the 7 Café, whose name can be misleading because it performs the functions of a “normal” Bar, but in reality it is a place to enjoy excellent local food accompanied by a wide selection of wines, in a ‘informal atmosphere welcomed by the friendly owner Andrea, who also organizes ad hoc events such as wine tastings.
CITTÀ DELLA PIEVE AND “IL PERUGINO” – An unmissable stop on this tour is Città della Pieve, certainly the most famous place among those crossed. Apart from the larger dimensions that signal its historical importance, this town would already have reason to be known and remembered by all for the mere fact of having given birth to Pietro Vannucci, known as “The Perugino” and to conserve some of his masterpieces . Vannucci was an excellent artist and teacher of another very great as Raffaello Sanzio. You should not miss the visits to the Oratorio dei Bianchi (Adoration of the Magi), Santa Maria dei Servi (Deposition from the Cross) and the Cathedral (Baptism of Jesus Christ). Absolute masterpieces: the result of that artistic renaissance started right between Umbria and Tuscany and symbols of spirituality that has always been manifested in these lands. Another element worth a visit is the complex of the town fortress.
FICULLE – After Città della Pieve we head towards Ficulle, another small village with centuries of history, with its fortified towers and a boundless hill landscape. The village probably owes its name to the processing of terracotta (Figuline). Tradition kept alive by Fabio Fattorini, who produces a wide range of terracotta objects in his workshop, teaches courses and demonstrations on these ancient craft techniques.
Also in Ficulle a separate part deserves the story of Riccardo Paoletti: the “Blacksmith Farmer” a young “visionary”, tenaciously attached to his land, who in addition to producing valuable objects with the processing of wrought iron, has given life to an organic farm “La Gumera“, where he began to cultivate fine grains such as those used at the beginning of the ‘900: Senatore Cappelli, Gentilrosso and Bolero and then to grind them exclusively with stone. With the flours produced in this way some varieties of bronze-drawn pasta were born, such as Torzolline and Gumerelle.
Some of the products of La Gumera, along with other local delicacies (meats and wines) can be tasted at the Bar Tox, also in Ficulle. This time too, behind the simple appearance of a village bar, we expect high quality products, made with dedication and attention to the environment.
Our itinerary ends in Salci, the Ghost Village, abandoned in the last 50 years but that for the occasion, we find full of people for a popular party, with a musical band too.
Did we forget something? Yes we did! We would still have to write about the Tenuta Vitalonga, but we will soon be dedicating another article to talk about its gastronomic excellences. Stay Tuned!
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