On December 8 is the yearly Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Italy. The day before in every small town or city the Italian people prepare the Christmas tree. Many activities and festivities are held around the Christmas season. The squares are transformed into a mix of lights and stalls where vendors sell their handmade gifts.
Yearly I visit the Christmas markets in Assisi and Perugia, but this time I wanted to go to the market in Paciano. Paciano is a small and calm hamlet with a few inhabitants.
Maybe I didn’t come at the right time in Paciano, but there weren’t many market stalls and visitors. I have asked a local for the program but neither he couldn’t inform me.
After a good espresso in the bar I decided to take a walk through the centre just to be sure that I didn’t miss anything. Maybe there were only three market stalls hidden in local shops. This Christmas market wasn’t really what I was looking for, unfortunately. Nevertheless, I took some pictures and I went to Panicale, a lovely village not far form Paciano.
Before arriving in Panicale I knew I could not expect more Christmas market than in Paciano, but on the other hand Panicale is lovely and always worth a visit. Even if you decide to take a drink or just a stroll in the historical centre.
On the square in Panicale was a huge Christmas tree. Also the bars and restaurants were full with Christmas decorations.
To be honest this all wasn’t really what I expected before visiting Paciano and Panicale. Both villages seemed to be a bit lost. But I must admit, Panicale and Paciano remain idyllic even though in winter time there are less things to see and to do.
I often receive newsletters and activities from the Oasi La Valle, a nature reserve at Lake Trasimeno and a paradise for bird watchers. This time I found an invitation in my mailbox to join a walk organised by a fairly new organisation called Anime Pioniere. They organise walks in nature often in lesser known areas along the Umbria Tuscany border: Trasimeno, Cortona, Città di Castello, San Sepolcro.
Sunday the 12th of March the morning started at the Oasi La Valle where we witnessed the ringing of birds and where the walk started. 6 km, not too much height difference, hence also adapted for families with children like ourselves. We climbed the hill and over the hills’ ridges we walked from San Savino to San Feliciano. Of course we finished the walk with a small lunch, a good Italian habit. We had some antipasti and fried fish from the lake with the local fishermen.
We paid euro 15 p.p. for the tour at the Oasi La Valle, the walk and the light lunch.
It was a wonderful early spring day. Here is an impression:
Do you enjoy a walk in nature with trained guides in mostly undiscovered parts of Umbria and Tuscany? Follow the Anime Pioniere: they organise interesting walks all year round, mostly on Sunday or on Italian bank holidays. We were quite a group with almost 50 participants, all Italians. They hope they will also have tourists to join them during the summer period. During the walk we learned about the area, its history and its fauna. They also speak English. It is recommended to wear proper shoes for walking and also ask for the difficulty when making a reservation, especially when you have kids.
Mugnanesi is a very small hamlet set in the municipality of Castiglione del Lago. There are maybe 10 houses and one church. There is no bar, but one restaurant: Osteria di Mugnanese. Osteria di Mugnanese is only open when you’ve made a reservation in the weekend, otherwise you’ll find the restaurant closed.
In this osteria one eats the traditional Trasimeno cuisine. They prepare local fish dishes with fish from the Trasimeno Lake. Despite it’s location closer to the Lakes of Montepulciano and Chiusi, they always get their fish from the Trasimeno Lake.
“Osteria di Mugnanese Pesce di Lago Brustico e Tegamaccio”.
Pesce di Lago Brustico means roasted fish. Brustico derives from the verb abbrusticare and means to roast. Pesce di Lago Brustico is a traditional fish dish from the Etruscan civilization.
The south of Tuscany, Chiusi, Montepulciano but also Orvieto, Perugia are typical Etruscan sites. In Chiusi for example is the “Museo Nazionale Etrusco e Tombe”, and Orvieto has a labyrinth of many caves and tunnels all created by Etruscan people. But this being said…
The tegamaccio is a traditional fish soup with eel, pike and tench. I wouldn’t know the recipe of this fish soup really, but you eat it with toasted bread, tomato sauce and fish from the lake.
One can eat inside and outside on the terrace. The owner and waitress are very friendly. The entrance is a bit hidden, but from the outside it looks cosy and welcome. Mugnanesi itself is not worth a visit, but I can recommend the detour to everybody who loves eating fish from the Trasimeno Lake.
Osteria di Mugnanese
Località di Mugnanesi, 11
Castiglione del Lago (PG)