Top Sagre in Umbria
Umbria is known as ‘the green heart of Italy’ and the land of truffle and olive oil. In this neck of the woods the earthy food belies a level of sophistication rooted in centuries of culinary tradition.
Lush-tree-covered hills, towns frozen in time and good food seem to follow you everywhere in Umbria. You get to a town like Norcia and you can experience it first-hand. The place rises atop a hill patterned with fields and dotted with olive mills. History whispers its countless stories from every street and buildings like the marble-white 12 century monastery guarding Nocia’s main piazza. In this land, nature granted the two most sought after products in the region - the superb black truffle and the prosciutto of Norcia - a dry cured ham as delicious as its more renowned rival, the prosciutto of Parma.
Same thing with Perugia. The lively and vibrant capital of Umbria first greets you with its helter-skelter alleys, arched stairways and mansion-framed piazzas. Then it provides you with an incredible lineup of food events you wouldn’t want to miss, including the best self-indulgent chocolate festival you’ll ever come across in Italy. (see below)
So there you have it. All year around, Umbria knocks out a very busy food festival season that sees its peak in June and October.
Sagre in June
Now let’s go back to Perugia. No doubt the city’s line-up of events here is staggering. But if there is a festival that has the stamp cool printed all over it, this is Piacere Barbecue. It is held in mid June and for two weeks it gives you a field filled with dozens of grills, roasters and barbecues on which you get to barbecue your own food. Before that you also have the chance to take a class to learn how to do it properly.
At San Liberato a tiny district of Narni in mid June, the local community holds what is a central-Italy-staple event, the Sagra della porchetta. Needless to remind you that porchetta is a roasted suckling pig that has been boned, seasoned, typically served as a filling in sandwiches.
If you like to have your Umbria delicacies immersed in jousting, horse races and parades in Reinassence costumes then scoot to the Giostra della Quintana in Foligno held in mid June.
If you are looking for a footloose type of sagra, then don’t look farther than Settimana Sanmarianese in San Mariano di Corciano. This is a cute hill-perched place, a few minute drive south of Perugia. At the beginning of June San Mariano turns on the music and puts on a hopping dancing night show for 9 days in a row. Of course in between your dance sessions you get plenty of opportunities to have finger-licking food.
The Wine Show of Todi is a type of event that can make you heady. This simply because it summons 120 wine cooperatives and 700 wine brands from all over Italy. So before you get there, loosen up your hand and get ready to swill a lot of wine glasses. Starting in mid June.
Food Festivals in October and November
La Fiera del Fungo di Borgotaro, takes place in Anima Borgo Val di Taro. This food festival puts its focus on Borgotaro mushroom, a variety of mushroom that only grows in the wild. Expect to eat this mushroom in a myriad of local recipes. The fair takes in two weekends in September.
Corciano, Castello di vino, October 5, 6 and 7. This festival draws in all the wine cooperatives in the Corciano area, some live music shows, wine tasting and rivers of wine. Corciano is a small town that revolves around a charming medieval castle. It rises just 12 km west of Perugia.
Giano dell’Umbria - La Mangiaunta
This flock of houses embracing a one-thousand-year-old church is home to La Mangiaunta, a olive oil festival held in November. Lifted by a hill above a valley with thousand-year old olive trees Giano dell’Umbria epitomizes the philosophy of rural living in Umbria. Its festival Mangiagunta celebrates the end of the olive harvest and it has program of guided visits to Olive oil mills, cooking classes and live music. You’ll be pleased to know that a huge brazier and a a stone oven is usually placed in Giano’s main square where olive-oil-sprinkled bruschette and traditional local food is made.
Montone, Festa del Bosco (The Feast of the Wood)
Every year the medieval town of Montone opens up the treasure chest that is November. Then it fishes out a host of mushrooms, chestnuts and truffles only to serve them up in a cozy food festival. They call it Festa del Bosco a festival that the gracious Montone makes it all the more worth going to.
Perugia, Eurochocolate, October 18 - 27
To get the scope of this fair, consider this - Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory doesn’t hold a candle to this fantastic chocolate-lovers wonderland. What’s even better is that Eurochocolate offers you a wide array of free entry events - from masterclasses unveiling the secrets of chocolate making, chocolate-tasting stands, to cooking shows to try your hand in making chocolate candy, cakes and all that jazz.
Trevi - Festivol on November 3 and 4 is all about beautiful Umbria olive oil. Go there and be ready to taste a bounty of bruschetta combined with Umbria best wines, artisan beer and local music shows.