Umbria Blog | A day trip to Siena

There are a lot of wonderful places to visit when you’re on a holiday in Umbria. If you’re staying in Perugia or around the Trasimeno Lake even a visit to Siena in Tuscany is quite easy to organise.

Siena is one of the most wonderful villages in Tuscany with many good restaurants in its historical centre. Planning a visit to Siena can also include a visit to the Abbey of San Galgano. If you haven’t yet seen Siena though, this may be too much in one day. In that case you’d better spent your time visiting the many sites in this medieval city.


On a cold winter day we went to Siena for a lunch in Osteria Boccon del Prete together with Saskia Balmaekers from the famous Dutch blog A very cosy restaurant where you can eat real Tuscan food. On the day-menu were “paccheri with truffle and funghi” and the traditional antipasti. The wines they serve are of high quality. I personally prefer drinking a glass of Chianti Classico with my pasta, but don’t underestimate the white Vernaccia. Osteria Boccon del Prete is close to the Duomo in the Via S. Pietro.

Boccon del Prete

Boccon del Prete

Boccon del Prete

The Abbey of San Galgano
In Chiusdino, about 35 km from Siena are the remains of the the Abbey of San Galgano. The Abbey has a church and a monastery originally built by the Cistercian monks. This Abbey is in Gothic style and is famous because of the legend of Galgano.

The Abbey of San Galgano

The Abbey was built by Cistercian monks between 1218 and 1288. For many years they led a prosperous life here. Later mercenaries attacked the abbey and its grounds, the plague also hit in this part of Europe and in the 15th Century there were only still 8 monks left who moved to Siena. There were no monks any more in the Abbey. In 1786, lightning struck the bell tower which collapse on to the roof of the Abbey and the church was deconsecrated in 1789.

The Abbey was completely abandoned ever since.

The Abbey of San Galgano

The Abbey of San Galgano

The hermitage of Montesiepi
On a small hill close to the Abbey, a 10 minutes walk, is the Chapel of Montesiepi. This Chapel has been built on the spot where Saint Galgano had retired to live as a hermit. Now the Chapel has a round base and the walls are later frescoed by a Sienese painter. The interior of the Chapel is quite basic but interesting.

In the hermitage is the sword of Saint Galgano embedded in stone. After a horrible life as a soldier Saint Galgano wanted to dedicate his life to peace and to God. He believed in a new life living in faith. He died in 1181 and with this the legend of Saint Galgano was born. Saint Galgano is a catholic Saint. His sword is still in the stone in the centre of the Chapel.

The sword of San Galgano

Saint Galgano is one of the most visited monuments in the Tuscan countryside. The historical Abbey has become a romantic ruin with only the remains of the church. During Summer concerts and events are held in the Abbey.

When you are in the area during your holiday in Italy, a visit to San Galgano is worthwhile. There is also a playground for children. Dogs may not enter the monastery and the church.


Abbazia di San Galgano
Località San Galgano
53012 Chiusdino Siena
Tel:   +39 (0) 577756738

Umbria Blog | restaurant in Terni “La Piazzetta”

Terni is in the southern part of Umbria. It is the smaller of the two provinces in the region Umbria and a modern, dynamic city, rebuilt after the Second World War.

Terni now is a culinary destination with many trendy bars and restaurants. The busiest area is Via Cavour and Via Roma. Every weekend the streets are filled with people eating and drinking outside.

In Via Cavour is restaurant La Piazzetta, offering local and seasonal cuisine. The menu and wine list change every season. In this restaurant is a good vibe, La Piazzetta has the right atmosphere and ambiance to have a nice lunch or dinner with your family and friends. The food and wine they offer are really outstanding!

Federico is the owner of restaurant La Piazzetta. I have known him for some years now. In 2012 I organized a festival with my friend from Terni, Marco, to promote the region Umbria. Umbriabeecoming was meant to attract more visitors and tourists in Umbria. For the promotion of this region we’ve organized several Umbrian wine tastings and presentations in Holland together with the Italian society Dante Alighieri.

It wasn’t the first time I had dinner at La Piazzetta. The authentic pasta dish “ciriole” with black local truffle remains one of my favorite Umbrian dishes. The home made pasta they serve is excellent and absolutely worth trying.

On the website of Tripadvisor you can read the reviews from restaurant La Piazzetta. This restaurant is really recommended when you’re in Terni!

Umbria Blog | Christmas in Paciano and Panicale

On December 8 is the yearly Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Italy. The day before in every small town or city the Italian people prepare the Christmas tree. Many activities and festivities are held around the Christmas season. The squares are transformed into a mix of lights and stalls where vendors sell their handmade gifts.

Yearly I visit the Christmas markets in Assisi and Perugia, but this time I wanted to go to the market in Paciano. Paciano is a small and calm hamlet with a few inhabitants.

Maybe I didn’t come at the right time in Paciano, but there weren’t many market stalls and visitors. I have asked a local for the program but neither he couldn’t inform me.

After a good espresso in the bar I decided to take a walk through the centre just to be sure that I didn’t miss anything. Maybe there were only three market stalls hidden in local shops. This Christmas market wasn’t really what I was looking for, unfortunately. Nevertheless, I took some pictures and I went to Panicale, a lovely village not far form Paciano.

Before arriving in Panicale I knew I could not expect more Christmas market than in Paciano, but on the other hand Panicale is lovely and always worth a visit. Even if you decide to take a drink or just a stroll in the historical centre.

On the square in Panicale was a huge Christmas tree. Also the bars and restaurants were full with Christmas decorations.

To be honest this all wasn’t really what I expected before visiting Paciano and Panicale. Both villages seemed to be a bit lost. But I must admit, Panicale and Paciano remain idyllic even though in winter time there are less things to see and to do.