Umbria Blog | I Primi d’Italia in Foligno

Every year at the end of September the food festival I Primi D’Italia takes place in Foligno. A good reason to visit this often underrated town in the centre of Umbria. It was pretty crowded on Sunday afternoon, but very cozy. Throughout the city there are designated places to taste all kinds of primi (pasta or risotto), either from a particular region or from a famous chef. You pay at the counter €3 to €8 euro to have 1 to 3 different primi.

Are you in autumn in Umbria, then go to this festival for a less touristic experience, that is… few foreign tourists, a lot of Italians though.

Foligno itself is very much worth it. It is a small livable city in the plain between Assisi and Spoleto, easily accessible from the motorway or by train. We previously wrote about its Cathedral and Palazzo Trinci.

Near Foligno is the famous wine village of Montefalco where you can stay in modern apartments, ideal for two people and within walking distance of the village.

Every year in June and in September there also is a medieval festival not to be missed in Foligno: the quintana.

Umbria Blog | Bike trail Passignano sul Trasimeno

This Friday morning I thought the weekly market was in Passignano sul Trasimeno. From Castiglione del Lago, the small hamlet where I live, Passignano is only 20 km away. The bike tour along the lake also is an ideal track if you like running longer distances. I decided to take my bike and go to Passignano.

Bike Trail Trasimeno

The road is very easy and flat. Now that Autumn has started the temperatures are quite pleasant to bike or run.

In the beginning I thought I’d be alone along the Trasimeno Lake, but I did meet some other fellow bikers. I have a mountainbike which is easy cycling on mud and sandy trails, but these people passed by with normal bicycles.

It is a wonderful track from Castiglione del Lago to Passignano sul Trasimeno. Almost the whole way you’re driving along the lake. Now and than you find some obstacles, but you can avoid easily drive around it. First you pass Borghetto, and than Tuoro sul Trasimeno with a cosy picknick area to enjoy the views.

Bike Trail Trasimeno

Arriving in Passignano sul Trasimeno I hunkered for the market stalls with fresh fruit and vegetables to take home for my lunch. But I had been dreaming… on Friday there is no market, it is on Saturday morning! I made a small walk through the historical centre and I bought some bread. Passignano sul Trasimeno is a lovey village. One finds many terraces, shops, a butcher, a bakery and a fresh pasta shop.

Pasta shop in Passignano sul Trasimeno

Majolica shop in Passignano sul Trasimeno

Trasimeno Lake Umbria

On my way back I have recorded the track and the km counting with my navigation watch. The bike trail is fine both for trained and un-trained cyclists. You really do not need a mountainbike, you can also use a normal bike. A helmet is not required. You can follow the signs easily. The trail is surely recommended for bike lovers!

Bike Trail Trasimeno

Bike Trail Trasimeno

Bike Trail Trasimeno

Umbria Blog | A wine barrel race in Montepulciano Tuscany

The Bravio delle Botti or the race of the barrels, is an annual race in Montepulciano Tuscany on the last Sunday of August. The Bravio used to be a horse race, but since Montepulciano is famous for its Vino Nobile di Montepulciano in 1974 the idea was born to run with wine barrels instead. The different quarters of Montepulciano compete against each other to win the “Bravium”, a painted banner of the patron saint: San Giovanni Decollato.

The weight of one wine barrel is 80 kg. During the race the pushers, spingitori, push the heavy wooden wine barrels for 1.8 km uphill along the medieval streets of Montepulciano.

In the last week of the month of August many activities are held anticipating this event. Montepulciano is decorated with flags of the different quarters of town, the contrade. In the evenings the barrel pushers have their training in town and the tavernes of every contrade serve traditional dishes and local wine.

On Thursday evening is the costume parade in the historical centre, the “Corteo dei Ceri”, organised by all eight contrades. Flag wavers, drummers and participants in costume present life from a past long gone. The piazza is crowded with people watching the beautiful performance. This evening ends with exciting fireworks.


The Bravio of the Barrels, the run itself, is always on Sunday. The most important race during this medieval event. It is a moment of real competition between the eight contrade. The start of the race is at the Colonna del Marzocco in the lower art of town and the finish is on the Piazza Grande.

Before the race is the historical parade, starting at 3 p.m. The two runners of each district have a warming up while the parade departs from the Colonna del Marzocco to the Piazza Grande.


After the start signal the districts run away very fast with the heavy barrel. Many residents run along to encourage the spingitori to keep them going. On the huge display on the Piazza Grande you can follow the race every second. It is really exciting!

Voltaia won the race of the Bravio delle Botti 2017. They ran in 8.34 minutes. Al other districts arrived after 9 minutes with the last one being Cagnano with 9.48 minutes. You can just imagine the excitement of the public with such little difference between the participants.

The locals of the districts screamed and were full of emotions during the race. Even if their district didn’t win, they are proud of their pushers. The Bravio always ends in a good atmosphere. Everybody eats and drinks together to celebrate the Bravio.