Umbria Blog | Visit Civic Museum in Montefalco

Montefalco “Mount of the Falcon” is a town of churches and convents. This hamlet is situated 11 km north west from Foligno and is perched on a hill top, boasting magnificent views over the green hills. Montefalco is also known as the balcony of Umbria. Outside the Gate of St. Augustine there’s ample parking. Enter the gate and proceed up the Corso G. Mameli with its small shops and restaurants to the Piazza del Comune.

The area around Montefalco is famous for its Sagrantino wine. This wine is made of 100% Sagrantino grapes which have been cultivated for centuries on the hills of Umbria. Following the wine route “Strada del Sagrantino” one can stop by some local wineries to  taste and buy the local wines.

Besides the famous Sagrantino wine the medieval walled town offers a mix of picturesque streets and historic churches and museums. A must see in Montefalco is the museum in the Chiesa di San Francesco, the church of Saint Francis. You can reach this museum by walking down from the main piazza to the Via Ringhiera Umbra. This museum is divided into three sections: the church, the gallery and the crypt.

The church houses important works of the Renaissance painter of Florence Benozzo Gozzoli, il Perugino, Melanzio and some other painters. The famous painter Gozzoli, painted in the apse of the church brightly coloured frescoes all on the life of San Francesco. These frescoes in the chapel are of great importance and are comparable with the cycle by Giotto in the church of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Pietro Vannucci, also known as Il Perugino, made two master pieces in the church: the “Nativity scene” and the “Annunciation with the Eternal in glory between angels”. Tiberio d’Assisi instead painted the frescoes “Madonna and Child with saints”  and “The descriptive Madonna del Soccorso”. All are interesting works by artists known all over the world.

Video Civic Museum Montefalco.

In the basement of the church is  a medieval wine cellar where monks brought their locally grapes, pressed them in wine presses and prepared wine for local consumption.

The gallery contains important works and wooden sculptures of the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries.

The entrance for this museum is 7,00 Euro. Children from 6 to 14 years pay 2,00 Euro each and children under 6 years are free. With your entrance ticket you can visit other musea in Umbria for free. This offer is valid for two weeks after the date of your visit to the Civic Museum in Montefalco. For more information visit this website: Umbria Terre Musei.

From Montefalco you can head up to the medieval walled town of Bevagna. The distance is about 8 km, a 10 minutes drive.

Ristorante della Mura is situated on the Piazza Garibaldi 14a in the centre of Bevagna. In this restaurant they serve traditional local Umbrian dishes. Really recommended!

Umbria Blog | restaurant in Terni “La Piazzetta”

Terni is in the southern part of Umbria. It is the smaller of the two provinces in the region Umbria and a modern, dynamic city, rebuilt after the Second World War.

Terni now is a culinary destination with many trendy bars and restaurants. The busiest area is Via Cavour and Via Roma. Every weekend the streets are filled with people eating and drinking outside.

In Via Cavour is restaurant La Piazzetta, offering local and seasonal cuisine. The menu and wine list change every season. In this restaurant is a good vibe, La Piazzetta has the right atmosphere and ambiance to have a nice lunch or dinner with your family and friends. The food and wine they offer are really outstanding!

Federico is the owner of restaurant La Piazzetta. I have known him for some years now. In 2012 I organized a festival with my friend from Terni, Marco, to promote the region Umbria. Umbriabeecoming was meant to attract more visitors and tourists in Umbria. For the promotion of this region we’ve organized several Umbrian wine tastings and presentations in Holland together with the Italian society Dante Alighieri.

It wasn’t the first time I had dinner at La Piazzetta. The authentic pasta dish “ciriole” with black local truffle remains one of my favorite Umbrian dishes. The home made pasta they serve is excellent and absolutely worth trying.

On the website of Tripadvisor you can read the reviews from restaurant La Piazzetta. This restaurant is really recommended when you’re in Terni!

Umbria Blog | visiting Norcia

The last time I was in Norcia was in 2015 two years ago. On a warm summer day I made some pictures of this typical village in the mountains. The Cathedral of Saint Benedict, the square, the statue and the lovely delicacy shops always had a special place in my heart. Norcia is the birthplace of Saint Benedict and is associated with traditional gastronomic products: the black truffle and the “norcinerie” (cold cuts and cheeses).

Brancaleone da Norcia

Brancaleone da Norcia

Norcia, Castelluccio di Norcia and surrounding villages are damaged by the earthquake of October 2016. A large portion of the Cathedral of Saint Benedict on the main square collapsed. Only the facade is still proudly standing, now with scaffolding keeping it straight. Many shops are closed, the inhabitants live in containers and many buildings in the town centre cannot be accessed.

Main square Norcia

Cathedral Saint Benedict

Saint Benedict of Norcia

Saint Benedict

Recently I’ve read an article in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant titled “The green heart of Italy is longing for tourists: Umbria needs you”. This made me decide to go and see for myself what the effect of the earthquake is. It is true, this year isn’t easy for anybody in this area, but it is not dangerous to visit!

Norcia is situated about 150 km from the Trasimeno Lake where I live and from here Florence and Siena in Tuscany are closerby then Norcia. But also Norcia is in the province of Perugia, like Lake Trasimeno. And though the immediate area is certainly seriously damaged, the rest of Umbria is still normally accessible and without any damage.

On television, internet and in the newspapers you see pictures of the damages in Norcia and in Castelluccio di Norcia. But seeing it with your own eyes is rather confronting. When you walk in Norcia and you speak with the locals, it is impossible not feeling sorry and sad for what happened to this beautiful little town and its inhabitants.

As soon as I drove towards Norcia I saw the medieval walls and entrances protected with scaffolding. I parked my car outside the walls where one normally pays. I asked in a “rebuild” tabacchaio where I could find the parking meter. The answer to my question was confronting: “After the earthquake all the parking places are for free”.

Norcia is almost a ghost town. The streets are empty, many shops are closed, houses are uninhabited and many banks are closed. The police supervises the buildings and empty houses.

In a small shop at the corner of the small theater square I spoke with Antonio. Brancaleone da Norcia is a real “norcineria” where you can buy (also online) delicious ham, cold cuts, sausages and sheep cheese. Antonio is grandfather and has family living in Perugia. “After the earthquake much less tourists come to Norcia”, Antonio told me. He was in Norcia during the earthquake.

Brancaleone di Norcia

Antonio and Sylvia

norcineria in Norcia

Norcia city centre

La Locanda del Teatro is a restaurant on the same square. Antonio accompanied me to Francesco, the owner of the restaurant. “Before the earthquake it was always busy with peope, but look now”, Francesco told me. “Norcia has changed, and we suffer a lot. Hotels are closed and many people stay away”.

Together with some bars, shops and another restaurant Francesco continues his activity in Norcia. After October 30st, the day of the earthquake,  the habitants couldn’t go back into their houses, also Francesco. Last winter he slept in a caravan with his colleagues. Now they’ve found a small apartment where they live together and continue with the work in the restaurant. They want to give Norcia a future. La Locanda del Teatro is from Francesco’s family already for generations. His family has invested in this place and he doesn’t want to give up. He wants to rebuild Norcia.

It was heartbreaking hearing Francesco’s stories. He loves Norcia and his restaurant where he grew up. You taste his love and passion in his food. I’ve had a wonderful lunch, the pasta with truffle was outstanding, like the delicious ham and dessert. I’ll return here for sure.

Restaurant in Norcia

La Locanda del Teatro Restaurant in Norcia

Address of the restaurant:
La Locanda del Teatro
Piazza Vittorio Veneto 10
06046 Norcia (PG)
Umbrië, Italië
Tel: +39 (0) 743 817857