Umbria Blog | photo exhibition Si Billino!

As most of you know the earthquake on October 30, 2016 caused a lot of damages in Norcia and many surrounding villages in the Sibillini mountains. One of these is Castelluccio di Norcia, a small mountain village at an altitude of 1400m at the foot of the Vettore mountain. At this moment Castelluccio cannot be reached anymore, one hopes to restore the infrastructure before summer.

Many people from this area are now living in temporary shelters, tents, hotels at the Adriatic coast and accommodations along the Trasimeno Lake in Umbria. The Prime Minister has promised that all homes will be restored. But how long will that take?

There is an enormous sense of solidarity among Italians who over the centuries have learned to live with earthquakes. The Italian government has promised millions to rebuild the affected areas.

One of the many initiatives to support the people of the Sibillini area was started by Umbria Lab and is called Si Billino!. Umbria Lab is a cultural association founded by Marco Angeletti and fellow artists and entrepreneurs. They organize initiatives to promote the Umbria region, but they also join events for fund raising. At this moment they raise money for the earthquake victims in collaboration with Ri-Fiorita.

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Si Billino! is a photo exhibition about Castelluccio di Norcia and the Sibillini Mountains. All pictures are taken by Italian photographers and show the wonderful nature of the Sibillini mountains, Castelluccio di Norcia, the Piano Grande and the Pilato Lake, all are impressive landscapes. The photos can be seen until February 3 in the cultural center of Terni, CAOS. Thereafter, the exhibition will be moved to Foligno.

We visited the exhibition in Terni where we also purchased lottery tickets for the project where Si Billino! and Ri-Fiorita stand for: the construction of a clubhouse in San Pellegrino di Norcia where residents can meet and organize all kinds of initiatives for the local population. San Pellegrino di Norcia is a small village 4 km from Norcia.

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Ri-Fiorita is a cooperative set up by Umbria Lab together with four other associations whilst Si Billino! is a project invented by Umbria Lab. “Fiorita” means literally “blooming” referring to the impressive flower fields of Castelluccio di Norcia in the months of June-July. Ri-fiorita means “re-blooming”: the cooperative stimulates all kinds of initiatives to support the communities in the area most hit by the earthquake.

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Si Billino! is a wonderful exhibition, and an honorable initiative at the same time.

Visit the website Sensazioni d’Arte for more information about this project Si Billino! (In Italian).

Umbria Blog | Perugia in a wheelchair

I visited Perugia with my parents and since my father has problems walking, he needs to use a wheelchair when going out for some sightseeing. It is not always evident whether it is easy to visit sights in a wheelchair, especially if you do not know the area but Perugia’s old city centre is quite accessible in a wheelchair.

To arrive in the city centre of Perugia, you can take the Minimetrò. The Minimetrò is wheelchair accessible. The metro starts at terminal Pian di Massimo. This terminal is adjacent to the football stadium of Perugia. To get there by car is quite easy. From the highway (raccordo) A1 Siena – Perugia you take the exit “Madonna Alta” and you follow the signs for “Stadio”.

From the free parking it is easy to reach the terminal, even by wheelchair. There are stairs and a small slope upwards which take you to the station. Before taking the metro you can buy the tickets at the bar in front of the entrance, or at the ticket machine. A single ticket costs 1.50 Euro.

Minimetrò Perugia

Perugia Umbria

Minimetrò Perugia

Every 5 minutes there is a small metro leaving to the historical centre. In the metro itself there is plenty of room for your wheelchair. The final station of the Minimetrò is Pincetto, which brings you to the city centre.

Minimetrò Pincetto

Once you arrive at Pincetto you use the wheelchair exit. Pedestrians take the escalator to reach the center. Wheelchair users or people with strollers take the elevator. The elevator is on your right hand side behind the Minimetrò.

Perugia Umbria Minimetrò

The wheelchair can easily get into the elevator. Uphill is another small slope upwards which brings you to Piazza Matteoti.

Perugia Umbria

Perugia Umbria

Perugia Umbria

With your wheelchair it is advisable to stay on the main street in the centre of Perugia. From Piazza Matteotti you can reach the Piazza IV November, the square with the famous fountain. From there you can visit shops or have a coffee or lunch in one of the café’s in Perugia. The Rocca Paolina is at the other site of the city, which also is reachable for disabled people. From there you have wonderful views over the Umbrian countryside.

Perugia Umbria

As you can see, it is possible to visit Perugia in a wheelchair, speaking from experience. It is recommended having someone with you who helps you pushing the wheelchair. Perugia’s antique city centre is quite flat but it makes it much easier if somebody is with you to assist, like I did with my father.

My father appreciated the visit to Perugia. We have also been in Assisi, Rome and Florence.

Villa in Umbria rents wheelchair friendly apartments and villas. We have experience with wheelchair users who have booked a holiday with us. You can ask us, we are happy to help you to find a suitable wheelchair friendly location.

Wheelchair Italy

Umbria Blog | Massimo’s Truffle Book

Massimo Fignani is chef-cook and he owns an organic farm in Tuscany. The farm produces Italian products like truffle and Lardo di Colonnata IGP.

Massimo was present at the yearly Christmas market in Siena, Il Mercato nel Campo. On a portable electric cooktop he prepared the most delicious pasta dishes with truffle sauce.

I have made a video of Massimo in which he explains the story of the precious and delicate flavor called ” truffle”.

The truffle “fungo” epigeo grows underground. For the development of the truffle the environmental conditions are essential. The climate, the soil humidity, type of soil and trees determine whether truffles can grow. The white truffle is one of the most precious and wanted truffles in Italy. One finds them mostly in Tuscany and Piedmont. There are many different kinds of truffles, also black truffles are cultivated in Italy.

Il Mercato nel Campo Siena Tuscany

white truffle

The best period to eat the white truffle “Bianchetto” is March to Aprile, while the black truffles “Nero Estivo” and “Nero Uncinato” are mainly harvested in the summer.

Black truffles can be used raw or lightly cooked, while white truffles are carefully wiped clean and should never be cooked. White truffle is more fragrant than the black truffle.

Massimo Fignani is the author of the book “I Tartufi … secondo me – Truffles … in my opinion“. The book contains 58 truffle recipes which are easy to prepare. It is written in Italian and English. You can order the book directly via: info@massimofignani.it

“”Tuscany experience. There is only one thing that has a more exciting scent then truffles… the skin of a woman”. By Massimo Fignani.

Enjoy the truffles!