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.

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).

Pasta Amatriciana for Amatrice

Every day in the newspaper, or on television we still see images and interviews with journalists, politicians and locals about the earthquake on 24 August. Amatrice, Accumoli and Arquata del Tronto are destroyed. Also buildings in Norcia, Umbria have been damaged. Many people who survived the earthquake live now in tents, but will soon move to hotels and institutions before winter sets in.

In many restaurants in Italy, and in Umbria, you can order a pasta “Amatriciana”. Amatriciana is a typical pasta-dish originally from the village Amatrice based on tomatoes, pecorino, guanciale (cured pork cheek), white wine, onion and peperoncino. Amatriciana is prepared with spaghetti or also penne (short pasta).

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On Sunday October 2, 2016 I participated in the half marathon of Foligno, Umbria. We started and finished in the centre of Foligno, and in between ran through the wonderful Umbrian countryside around Foligno. The trail is flat and also ideal for walking or biking.

Course: Garmin Connect – Foligno half marathon

This race is every year on the last day of the event I Primi d’Italia. I Primi d’Italia is a popular food festival that focuses on “primi piatti” (polenta, rice, pasta and soup). During this event many top chefs all over Italy come over for food tastings, cooking demonstrations and cooking courses. It attracts a lot of visitors. Have a look at our blog about I Primi D’Italia.

I finished the race at midday and I hunkered for a good pasta. I decided to go to the “Villaggio della Amatriciana” for a Pasta Amatriciana. At the festival there were about 13 “food villages” for tastings. I could also go to the “Villaggio del Riso” or the “Villaggio della Polenta” but I felt that a little contribution for the rebuilding of the earthquake area’s was appropriate. I decided to spend my money for charity, for Amatrice!

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The Pasta Amatriciana I had was delicious, I ran in the half marathon of Foligno, and gave my humble contribution for charity! I returned home satisfied.