Umbria Blog | Hannibal and the Romans at Lake Trasimeno

At Lake Trasimeno an important historical event took place in the year 217 before Christ, during the second Punic war: Hannibal won from the Romans in a short but fierce battle in which the Roman Consul Caio Flaminio lost his life.

We all know the story of Hannibal who left Cartago, the city destroyed by the Romans, to vindicate his people. He marched to Rome with his elephants via Spain and the Alps, gathering more men to fight with him along the way and leaving a trail of destruction behind. Arriving at the Trasimeno Lake he already lost his last elephant, but his army was still feared and strong.

The lay out of the landscape in the area where now Tuoro sul Trasimeno is situated, was ideal to trap the Roman soldiers that were following him: hills to one side and the lake to the other side. The Roman soldiers were not used to the tactical warfare of Hannibal and almost literally walked into the arms of the fierce soldiers awaiting them on a foggy morning.

It is an intriguing story and if you want to learn more about it, you may want to visit the museum in Tuoro sul Trasimeno ‘Museo di Annibale al Trasimeno‘. You’ll learn about the history and the background of this bloody battle where 15.000 (!) Roman soldiers lost their lives. There are written explanations and video presentations in English and Italian.

You can also make a tour on foot, by bike, or even partly by car, going through the valley where once the battle took place. There are explanations of the most important facts of the battle along the way.

A couple of years ago the battle of Hannibal against the Romans at Lake Trasimeno was enacted in a great spectacle with participants of other countries too.

In Tuoro sul Trasimeno one is proud of this historical heritage and people come to study the battle here. The yearly village feasts in August remember the presence of Hannibal and the Romans: the 4 quarters of town “battling” each other with games, theatre and cooking. Don’t miss it if you are in the area. The program is available at the local tourist information.

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 | 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.