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

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!