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.

Siena

Siena
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 CiaoTutti.nl. 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.

Address:

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

Umbria Blog | a yearly market in Todi “San Martino”

The medieval town of Todi is situated on top of a hill overlooking the surrounding green hills.  Except for the 16th Century Church of Santa Maria della Consolazione, the musea, the cosy squares and the old houses are almost all inside the antique city walls.

Todi Umbria

Quite a few activities and events are organised in Todi, like the yearly market on November 11th, Saint Martin’s day. From the Piazzale della Consolazione up to the Piazza del Popolo there are more than 200 market stalls with porchetta sandwiches, dried ham, sheep cheeses, kitchen utensils, shoes, clothes, garlic, unions and much more. The atmosphere is very relaxed and cosy.

Todi Umbria

Todi Umbria

Todi Umbria

Todi Umbria

The terraces are full with locals enjoying the autumn sun accompanied by a glass of red wine or a Spritz. Families come together and stroll along the market stalls and shops.

Todi Umbria

This market is only once a year on the 11th of November, the day of San Martino. I have asked people what San Martino means and why it is celebrated on that day, thinking it was linked to the start of the Carnival season. San Martino is one of the patron saints of the town of Todi.

Saint Martin lived in the 4th century and after having been a soldier for many years he turned to Christianity and founded an abbey in France where he became the bishop of Tours. He was buried on November the 11th in the year 397.

All over Italy on this day there are local activities celebrating the last days of relative warmth before the start of winter, it is the end of the harvest season, the new wine is celebrated, as well as the new olive oil.

November may not be your first choice to travel to Italy but autumn does have its unique charms. It is the period of the new olive oil, wine, chestnuts, dried fruit and clementines. On every corner of the street one finds somebody selling warm chestnuts often with the new ‘novello’ wine. With the warm autumn sun that gives the landscape unique colours it is great to enjoy all these local delicacies.

Todi Umbria

Umbria Blog | Biking along the Trasimeno Lake

August 15 is a bank holiday in Italy: Ferragosto. This national holiday celebrates the Assumption of the virgin Mary into heaven, the day when Catholics believe that God took the body of Jesus’ mother Mary into heaven to reunite with her son.

August is the traditional period for Italians to have their summer holidays. On August 15 many Italians go out for a picknick in a park or a barbecue in the garden. And many Italians make trips to the seaside or in the mountains to cool off.

This year on August 15 we decided to make a bike tour along the Trasimeno Lake with some friends. In the early morning we prepared our lunch and we started at 10.30 am with our mountainbike tour in Magione, Perugia.

Lago Trasimeno

Castiglione del Lago

Lago Trasimeno

Sant Arcangelo

From Magione we headed for Sant’Arcangelo, Castiglione del Lago and Tuoro sul Trasimeno. The cycle paths between Castiglione del Lago and Borghetto are a bit bumpy and narrow, but it was easy to pass by. Along the lake in Tuoro sul Trasimeno we found a wonderful picknick area for our small lunch.

After our picknick in Tuoro sul Trasimeno we headed for Passignano sul Trasimeno. Passignano is a lovely village along the lake. In the centre we found a small fountain where we filled our water bidon. The temperatures were about 30 degrees and biking without any drinks is not recommended. We needed fuel to continue. From Passignano we cycled to San Feliciano where it was crowded with people.

San Feliciano is only a few kilometres away from Magione where we parked our car. But, before getting there we had to make a huge climb to San Savino. San Savino is a small hill town along the lake.

The last kilomteres were only down hill to Magione. What a relief!

Bike Tour Lago Trasimeno

Lago Trasimeno

This cycle tour along the Trasimeno Lake is fantastic and is suitable for adults and for trained cyclists. The trail around the lake is quite flat and the total distance is about 70 km. A mountainbike is recommended. The path along the lake is fairly new and has been made especially for cyclists and tourists in Italy.

The picknick areas along the lake are wonderful. You do not need to get there by bike, but also on feet from Tuoro sul Trasimeno you’ll get there quite easily.

A  sportive activity to discover in Umbria I really enjoyed!

Lago Trasimeno Umbria

Tuoro sul Trasimeno

Bike tour Trasimeno Lake : https://www.relive.cc/view/g13576447743

https://connect.garmin.com/course/embed/16130632