Good Friday in Umbria

Though it’s almost 14 years I live in Umbria, I never witnessed a procession on Good Friday. Not being particularly religious it never crossed my mind. Yesterday we thought it would be about time we also participate. Glad I did! It is a very suggestive experience even for non religious people. The whole village turns up and many actively participate, also young people. My son thought it was very sad. I thought he talked about Christ being hung on the cross, but he meant the fires that destroyed nature….

I was clever enough to take my foto camera with me. The pictures speak for themselves.

- Posted by Saskia van der Bolt -

Lights were lit at many windows

Lights were lit at many windows

Christ receives support from his mother.

Christ receives support from his mother.

I never noticed this cross until yesterday

I never noticed this cross until yesterday

very suggestive

very suggestive

Christ's mother mourning for her son

Christ’s mother mourning for her son

Villa per Gruppi in Montegabbione

Last week we visited one of the houses that we offer for rent on our website, the villa per gruppi. A lovely estate run by a friendly italian couple from Brescia.

Gianluca & Marina

Gianluca & Marina

Gianluca managed his own restaurant in Brescia which he sold and in 2006 they bought the estate in Umbria. After hard work it is now an agriturismo of outstanding quality. We had a real treat on a beautiful sunny day: Marina made pizza for us. Here are some pictures that will make you wish you’d been there!

- posted by Saskia van der Bolt - 

 

Easter in Umbria

The traditional Easter colomba

The traditional Easter colomba

Easter is one of the most important holidays in Italy. A visit to Umbria during the Easter holidays is an event not to miss. Little towns and cities celebrate Easter with processions, religious rites, holy representations and folkloristic traditions.

“La settimana santa” the holy week leading up to Easter Sunday marks several important events. On Palm Sunday branches of the olive trees are blessed in church and people will keep these in their homes all year. Kind of a good luck charm.

Good Friday is the day of mourning over Christ’s death. During the evening there are masses in the towns’ churches. In Bevagna, a small medieval village close to Montefalco, during the religious procession the Chistians showcase the dead Christ along the main street. In many churches, the interior is black with only burning candles inside. “La processione di Cristo morto” is a very suggestive experience in Umbria, in many villages it’s as if you go back to medieval times. Places worth a visit during the holy week are Assisi, Orvieto, Bevagna and Gubbio.

On Saturday, the day before Easter, one can go to church to get the eggs and other dishes blessed. I have been told that you should not just throw away the shells of the blessed easter eggs. They have to be burned otherwise it brings you bad luck. All this according to my Italian neighbor.

The Italian mammas spend most of their times in the kitchen preparing traditional Easter dishes: lamb, rigatoni alla Norcina, cheese bread “torta di Pasqua”, Italian Easter Dove cake “la Colomba” and chocolate Easter eggs. In every little village, in a local bakery or in any supermarket you’ll find a huge variety of chocolate eggs!

On Easter Sunday family members and friends spend some time together at home. They go to church and serve the traditional Easter breakfast and lunch.

The following Monday “Pasquetta” you won’t see many Italians at home. They head out for a day trip to town or to natural areas, like the Trasimeno Lake or the Cascata delle Marmore in Umbria.

- Posted by Sylvia van der Male -

Chocolat eggs

Chocolat eggs and colomba in a bar

 

Gallery

Mugnano – painted walls

After many years living in this area and hearing of the small village of Mugnano, yesterday we finally decided to go and have a look ourselves. It is only 30 minutes from where we live and 20 kms from Perugia, Umbria’s capital. Shame on me that I never stopped by at this cute little place!

History of Mugnano

The history of this small village of less then 1000 inhabitants goes back to Roman times when the roman family Munius lived in this territory. The name Mugnano derives from this : Fundus Munianus.

In the 10th century Benedictine monks founded an abbey here which in the 14th century was taken over by the Cavalieri di Malta who up to this date own land in this area and an impressive castle in Magione. It is from this period that the fortified walls of Mugnano exist, protecting the farmers that lived inside the walls and worked the surrounding land for the knights.

Cavalieri di Malta

The Cavalieri di Malta or Knights of Malta is a benedictine order and knighthood dating back to the 11th century and the time of the crusades. The military element has been abandoned but today this Benedictine order still exists in more then 100 countries and offers social assistance of all kinds.

Mugnano today

In 1983 it was decided to reconstruct the castle of Mugnano to avoid a definite recline and modern artists were given the possibility to paint the ancient walls. Nowadays people still live in these old houses where once the farmers lived, and the small alleyways are adorned with modern paintings. A very particular combination of antique architecture and modern art.

Here are some impressions of the “muri dipinti” in Mugnano:

- posted by Saskia van der Bolt - 

Delicious fish from the Trasimeno Lake

Never in my life I ate fish of the Trasimeno Lake. Until yesterday evening! My friends in Castiglione del Lago suggested eating the “Regina in Porchetta”, carp from the lake at the Restaurant A.Z. Vignaroli. The Regina in Porchetta is a typical dish from the Trasimeno area. I had to taste it! I was so curious. Unfortunately, at the restaurant they told me that you need to order the carp in advance. And not only for 1 person, but at least for a group. The carp of the lake is too big for one person only!

Arturo, the owner of the restaurant suggested as a starter a mix of fish antipasti and as a main course the perch fillet with lemon sauce and organic turnip. Yummie! It was so good, maybe a little bit too much, but I really enjoyed my dinner at the AZ Restaurant. I will go back for sure.

Arturo invited me to the restaurant to taste the home made fresh carp of the Trasimeno Lake. I am looking forward to it!

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- Post by Sylvia van der Male -

CIVITELLA DEL LAGO – OVO PINTO (PAINTED EGG) MUSEUM : ART AND TRADITION

Originally posted on Benedetta Tintillini|Umbria e cultura:

Civitella del Lago is a charming medieval town perfectly preserved. Walking inside the castle walls, between narrow streets and elegant Renaissance palaces, where car access is prevented by the morphology of the place, the atmosphere is timeless .

The good location, on top of a hill, gives visitors breathtaking views over the Tiber River and Corbara Lake, and the eye can range, on clear days, up to the mountains of Lazio and Tuscany .

But not only the charm of the intact old town and the beautiful scenery are the gems that adorn Civitella : inside houses a unique museum : the Ovo Pinto Museum.

It all started with the intention not to squander the wealth of the old traditions. Eggs have always had a value, both symbolic and economic, in the countryside. They were used to make purchases, through bartering , until less than a hundred years ago, and…

View original 266 more words

Pizza and Sfizi

Today was a lovely Sunday in Castiglione del Lago, my home town, and many people went out for a walk along the Trasimeno Lake. Families and children enjoyed their picnic along the lake. On the terraces in the historical centre couples and friends enjoyed the sun with a good glass of wine. It is Spring!

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In the centre of Castiglione del Lago is a small rosticceria “Pizza & Sfizi “. You find a table with four chairs inside. Behind the counter you see all kinds of yummy snacks! This is not a restaurant but just a perfect location to enjoy an Italian snack. You can take French fries, pizza, croquets, rustico, suppli and a drink. Whatever you want!

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This afternoon I tried one of their snacks! For once I ate something else than a pasta, risotto or a raw ham sandwich. But before eating, I wanted to get to know the people behind “Pizza & Sfizi.” And guess what, they are not Umbrians, but from Naples! A family from Naples who run a rosticceria in Umbria. Fantastic!

Giovanni, the son of Raffaela and the brother of Daniele told me pretty much everything about their lifes in Umbria. And why they decided to move. Building a life in Naples is not easy. Chaos, mafia. Naples is different, though it is only 4 hours driving from Umbria. I know Naples a little bit and can confirm what they told me. They say: “See Naples before you die”. I haven’t got plans to stop living, but I think I could never build a life in Naples. Life is so complicated there. The pizza is excellent, though! And the baroque churches are beautiful, outstanding!

The father of Giovanni is still a mechanic and works in Cortona, Tuscany. Together with his mother and his brother, Giovanni runs this rosticceria in Castiglione del Lago, Umbria. And they do it very well.

I can recommend everybody to take a snack in this bar for a picnic along the Lake Trasimeno. Enjoy the beautiful views and the good suppli, pizza and French fries from the Varchetta family from Naples. W (= viva) Umbria!

Pizza & Sfizi
Via Vittorio Emanuele n. 80
Castiglione del Lago

Open every day 10.00 – 20.30

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- Post by Sylvia van der Male -