Umbria Blog | UNTO event in Assisi

UNTO stands for Unesco, Natura, Territorio, Olio and is an event in Assisi where the new DOP Umbrian olive oil is celebrated. UNTO is organised around the Frantoi Aperti from October 28 to November 26, 2017. In Umbria this is the period that the olives are picked and the new olive oil is being pressed. Olive oil mills open their doors and  many activities are being organised.

The first weekend of UNTO on the main square in Assisi, there was a large tent with market stalls where you could taste and buy many local specialties. I pleasantly strolled along the stalls and enjoyed the sight of all these local products.

Umbrian craft beer is a real delicacy for beer lovers. At the entrance of the huge tent in Assisi, I found Giovanni serving his locally brewed beer. Giovanni is the owner of the San Biagio brewery in Nocera Umbra, not far from Assisi.

A few years ago I had a beer tasting tour at the San Biagio brewery. We tasted all kinds of Umbrian craft beer. I was with friends from Belgium and when Belgians say that San Biagio craft beer is of high quality, you can trust it!

On the first day of the UNTO event there were a lot of visitors in Assisi. Italians, but also foreign tourists. During this event quite some activities are on the program, from exhibitions to tastings, from courses to music performances.

And again I discovered a great food event in Umbria where I will definitely return.

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 | 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.