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.

Umbria Blog | Montefalco and Giro d’Italia

Like every year around this time, the Giro d’Italia is going through Italy. On Tuesday May 16, 2017 is the 10th round of the Giro, a hilly trail in Umbria starting in Foligno. The first cyclist will start at 1:00 pm in Foligno next to the Duomo, and the last cyclist will finish in Montefalco at 5:15 pm, just outside the city walls. Before arriving in Montefalco the cyclists pass by Bevagna, a beautiful medieval village.

During the Giro d’Italia Montefalco is coloured pink wherever you look. Even the wine bottles outside are pink. Pink is the most important colour of the Giro d’Italia. Various activities are being organised, such as wine tasting, performances, DJ’s, and theme dinners in taverns to celebrate the Giro d’Italia. It is a lively atmosphere already before the arrival of the bicycle caravan.

The locals and the region Umbria itself pay a lot of attention to this event. More information about the Giro d’Italia you can get at the local tourist information or download the program from the website.

Federico II is a restaurant and bar in the centre of Montefalco. The owner of the restaurant is Roberta. She told me that Montefalco will be crowded the coming days. Federico II is an ideal place for an appetizer, pizza, pasta or meat dishes. They serve good wines, like the famous Sagrantino wine. I had a wonderful lunch with gnocchi al Sagrantino and a glass of Sagrantino wine 🙂 Outstanding!

Roberta also is the owner of A Montefalco, a residence with apartments and swimming pool. It is at only 10 minutes walking from the historical centre of Montefalco. Roberta and her family own a number of restaurants and bars in Montefalco and in Foligno. This family is a real Umbrian family offering hospitality to their guests and showing them Umbria the way they have always known it.