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 | National Republic Day June 2

The 2nd of June is the “Festa della Repubblica” and is an annual bank holiday in Italy. In 1946 a referendum was held on 2nd and 3rd of June in which people were asked which form of state they wanted after the fall of fascism. Italy became a republic and to this day the 2nd of June is a bank holiday, the “Festa della Repubblica”.

Many events are organized to celebrate the republic such as sagra’s, wine tastings, sport events and much more.

Buffet Montepulciano Run

Every year at the Lago di Montepulciano in Tuscany and close to Castiglione del Lago in Umbria, is a 13 km run around the lake. This run is quite intense because you run up and down the hills almost all the way. The trail is beautiful across hiking paths with breathtaking views, “mozzafiato”. You pass characteristic cypresses, beautiful vineyards and a few country houses where you’d wish to live now and then.

At the finish there is a wine and dinner party for all participants. Not only runners are involved, but also children take part, there is a nordic walking track and a trail for participants that like to walk with their dog.

At the finish there isn’t just fruit, but also salami, crostini, pecorino cheese, pasta, croissants and much more. Wine, beer, energy drinks and ice tea, you name it and they have it. The winner of the race got a bottle of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The runners who won the 2nd and 3rd place got a ham or salami sausage.

Buffet Montepulciano Run

Buffet Montepulciano Run

It was a beautiful and sunny day where togetherness and sport came together.

Link Garmin Connect Track Lago di Montepulciano 12 km

Montepulciano Run

Corsa all’Anello in Narni

Every year at the beginning of May is the Corsa all’Anello in Narni. It is a medieval festival dating back to 1371 and walking around here, actually feels like going back to the middle ages. A must see when you’re in Umbria in May.

Narni Umbria

Narni Umbria

Narni Umbria

The three districts, Fraporta, Santa Maria and Mezule compete with each other : their best horseback riders have to throw their lances through a suspended ring. During the evenings there are exhibitions, games, concerts and local taverns open for public. The taverns are very cosy, the locals are dressed in medieval clothes and they serve the best typical food and wine from the area. Besides the three taverns There is a special tavern for only cake and desserts, called “Lo Dolce”. The sweets are all homemade and fresh.

Narni Umbria Narni Umbria

Besides the Corsa all’Anello, Narni’s underground is a very interesting and fascinating world. Narni Sotterranea is a journey discovering numerous underground tunnels and rooms of the monastery of San Domenico, a Papal inquisition torture chamber and a prison cell. To visit the underground you need to make a reservation in advance for a guided tour.

Terni is only 13 km from Narni. Narni still breaths the atmosphere of old times, however it is a very modern city. It was bombed during world war II and rebuilt after that. The city is associated with Saint Valentine, San Valentino is the Patron Saint of Terni. It also hosts the famous Marmore Falls, la Cascata delle Marmore.

Cascata delle Marmore

At a short drive from Narni and Terni is the valley of the River Nera which has an amazing landscape, top gastronomy and is full of traditions. Small villages like Ferentillo, Scheggino and Piediluco are authentic villages in the mountains. In Ferentillo is the famous Mummy museum, maybe a bit scary to visit, but terribly interesting.

Mummy museum Ferentillo


Restaurant tips in Terni

Ristorante Piazzetta in Terni. A family restaurant in Via Cavour 9 in Terni. Haute cuisine and friendly owner.

A volte tre in Terni. A modern and trendy bar in the centre of Terni, Via Francesco Mancini 10 for a “apericena”. Buffet and drinks.


Private villa’s near to Narni (South Umbria)

La Dunarobba
La Dunarobba is a private house with swimming pool and jacuzzi situated in the beautiful green hills between Dunarobba and Avigliano Umbro. Privacy is guaranteed. This villa has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, it sleeps 10 people.
We had a wonderful holiday. The location was excellent, the house was as it described on the website, the hospitality of the owners is warm and pleasant, in short: a very good experience.”
La Dunarobba villa in Umbria

Casale Penna
A villa with 4 bedrooms, set in an age old olive grove and part of a working farm. The views are fantastic from the vacation villa and located in a wonderful spot. The villa sleeps 8-12 guests.
Our stay at Casale Penna was great! The house exceeded our expectations.”
Casale Penna


Bed & Breakfast near Narni (South Umbria)

B&B Acquasparta
This Bed & Breakfast has lovely views over the Umbrian countryside. There are three bedrooms divided in two apartments, all ground floor with direct access to the garden and terrace.
It is the most wonderful place, and perfect for our family. The pool was great and set in the most lovely garden, with lots to do for the children.

Bed and Breakfast Acquasparta