Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Festa d'Autunno, Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, 14-16 Oct

Castle at Monte Santa Maria Tiberina
The Festa D'Autunno or Autumn Festival takes place very year in the tiny mountaintop hamlet of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina.

The Monte is the highest peak for miles around - wherever you go in the area you can always get your bearings from the castle (see the photo) which you can see silhouetted against the skyline!

The Festival runs from the 14th to 16th October with lots of events taking place.  There are stalls selling local produce and crafts, flagthrowers, medieval processions and traditional Italian music as well as a dinner in the Castle itself (still owned and recently restored by the Bourbons of the Monte) at 9pm on the first evening with original recipes from the 1600s...!!!

It's a great chance to join with the locals and really get a feel of how they still celebrate and maintain their ancient traditions and customs today.

The lovely apartment at Villa Bastiola is just 20 minutes drive away and makes a great base for exploring the area.  Find full details and info on

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Sagra della Castagna, Morra - 8/9 Ottobre 2011

Roasting Chestnuts
The Sagra della Castagna (Chestnut Fair) at Morra, is held every year at the beginning of October just as the chestnut season is starting.

Morra is a small but thriving village on the road from CittĂ  di Castello to Cortona (Tuscany).  The wooded hills in the area around Morra are full of chestnut trees and produce chestnuts that are highly valued for their quality.

Chestnut gathering is a really serious business!  At this time of the year, you will find the woods full of locals searching for the best chestnuts.  You can only harvest if you own the woods - don't think about scrumping someone elses'!! 

During the festival you can find out how widely chestnuts are used in Italian cuisine from simply roasted, to cakes and pastries, jams, marron glacè and even honey collected during the time when the chestnut trees are in flower.

It's a lovely event and there is usually traditional Italian music and dancing with a young group coming up from Lake Trasimeno to take part.

A really good way to pass a Sunday afternoon especially if the sun's out and the sky is blue.

The apartment at Villa Bastiola is just 10 minutes away from Morra, so makes a great base to visit this festival and the rest of the area.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Truffle Fair, Citerna, 8 - 9 October 2011

Delicious black truffles (tartufo nero)
La Bisaccia del Tartufaro (or the Truffle Hunters' Satchel)

The tiny medieval hilltop village of Citerna (just over the border in Tuscany)  is host to the annual truffle fair this coming weekend on the 8th and 9th of October.

The streets are lined with stands from local suppliers selling everything woodlandy from truffles and porcini mushrooms to honey, chestnuts, homemade jams, and vin santo.

All the suppliers are based in the north of Umbria and it is a wonderful chance to taste the delicious goodies that the Upper Tiber Valley has to offer.

October is a fantastic month to see Umbria, with the autumn colours just setting in and lots of festivals taking place, including Eurochocolate in Perugia! The apartment at Villa Bastiola offers a great base to stay while visiting the area and enjoying the different festivals.