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Eatily

I'll second DaleJ's Umbria (but I am biased as I live here!) and from Umbria, you can easily visit Le Marche and/or Abruzzo as well - both areas with great food!

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Dec 03, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Matera and Monopli

In Matera I really liked Trattoria Lucana - it is a very classic trattoria with great typical foods of the area (and Mel Gibson apparently ate there when he was filming in the area - the place is plastered with his photos... ;-)

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Nov 19, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Venice, Umbria and Lake Como trip September 2015

Are you staying at Tom & Colleen's place, L'Antica Vetreria? It is wonderful if you are!
Piegaro is on the border with Tuscany, so it is a little far for touring the central valley area (Bevanga, Spello, Montefalco etc), but is a great location for going to visit Lake Trasimeno, Perugia, Orvieto, and southern Tuscany towns such as Montepulciano, Pienza, and Cortona.
There are a few wineries on Lake Trasimeno and also in Torgiano, which is close to Perugia. The olive mills will all be closed at that time as the harvest does not start until mid-October, but you can easily sample local olive oil in restaurants and shops in pretty much every town.

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Oct 22, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

The menu is small and they change it frequently, often having specials of the day- the antipasti are great - I would ask just to give you a mix. For the main courses, (if it is still on the menu), I really love the piccione (pigeon) and guancia di manzo (braised beef cheek)... but everything is good!

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Aug 31, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

Yes, it is - there are probably only 2 or 3 restaurants in all of Umbria that I would say are unsuitable for children! :-)

Aug 24, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

I have not been there under the new ownership, but I was just working up in Passignano this morning and some locals told me the best place is Il Fischio del Merlo - it is actually a little before the town itself. In town, I have been the wine bar Maremmano which is good as well for something light.

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Aug 24, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

He is still here in Umbria, doing "freelance" cooking now.

Aug 20, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

DaleJ - update - Salvatore Denaro is no longer with Caprai.

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Aug 20, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

Montefalco is right above Bevagna - so another easy place to visit, but I think Spello has a little bit more to offer.

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Aug 20, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

It is helpful to reserve - they speak some english, as do most restaurants in the area.

Aug 20, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

FYI - restaurants are never open for lunch before 1:00pm in Umbria.
...and I might reconsider that stroller - I have a 4 year old as well, and as the area is very hilly, they tend to tire out pretty quickly!
Since you only have one day and want to go to Spello and Bevanga, why don't you consider staying in that area instead of the lake - it will cut down your driving time considerably!

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Aug 19, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

Foligno is the 'city' of Umbria - it is fairly lively and has lots of stores for shopping, but definitely less in the way of tourism.

Bevagna and Spello are both small charming, scenic medieval towns - Spello is on a STEEP hill and Bevanga is flat in the valley. They are both relatively close to each other - about a 15 minute drive, so you could easily do one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

I am not a big fan of Enoteca Onofri - but I think it has changed hands recently. Trattoria di Oscar is supposed to be good but is definitely higher end. I am a regular at Antiche Sere - it never disappoints!

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Aug 19, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

Ciao Mlee17,
For the Umbria portion of your trip, La Bastiglia is no longer a Michelin star restaurant. The former chef, Marco Gubbiotti moved on to open a small gastronomia outside of Foligno called Cucinaa.
In Spello, I would recommend going instead to La Cantina -it is one of the best restaurants in the area.
Otherwise, for something more casual, I would try Antiche Sere in Bevagna.
You can find a full list of my favorite Umbrian restaurants here: http://www.lifeitalianstyle.com/where...

Aug 19, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Recs for Culinary Tour of Puglia

I have heard very good things about YLT Tours in Puglia for culinary tours - I think they are based in Lecce http://www.yltourcongressi.it/.

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Jun 12, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Fresh Coffee Beans in Bologna?

If you want to buy whole beans, you can usually do so at your local bar - they will just sell them to you loose in a bag. Otherwise, maybe Eataly would have them.

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May 12, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Truffle Hunting next September

September can be a difficult month for truffle hunting - it is kind of an "off period" between the summer truffle and winter truffle seasons (black truffles). White truffles generally cannot be found in the central Italy area until November.

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Apr 25, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Wineries between Rome and Florence

Between Rome and Florence there is also the entire region of Umbria! Why not stop off in a few spots there? There are many excellent wineries in the area of Orvieto, which you would be passing through.

Otherwise, take a detour into the Umbrian valley and stop at Arnaldo-Caprai http://www.arnaldocaprai.it/ in Montefalco who just won European Winery of the Year from Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Then, for a smaller boutique option, keep heading north into Torgiano, one of the oldest DOCG zones in Italy, and do a tasting at the Terre Margaritelli winery http://www.terremargaritelli.com/inte....

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Mar 31, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Grappa

Nonino is good, but very commercial. If you want to try a truly excellent grappa try something from Le Grappe di Susanna at Distilleria Gualco in Piemonte, they are artisan grappa producers. http://www.distilleriagualco.it/ITA/i... I love dry grappas and their Grappa di Cortese di Gavi is one of the best I've had. I also really enjoy their aged grappas.

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Mar 17, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Spirits

Best white truffles in Florence and Rome

You might want to consider a trip to Gubbio in Umbria (between Florence and Rome) - they are famous for white truffles. They have their annual White Truffle Festival, Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco, the weekend of November 1 (a national holiday). Other (lesser known) towns that specialize in white truffles are Pietralunga, Citta' di Castello, and Trevi.

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Verona, how about: antica torretta, alla ruota, al duca?

I haven't been to those, but I can highly recommend Osteria Al Carro Armato (typical Veronese) and Osteria dal Cavaliere (enoteca with interesting food - great for lunch and/or aperitivo).

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Feb 24, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Pasta Factory Tour?

I have organized groups in the past for tours of the family-owned La Romagna pasta factory in Foligno, Umbria http://www.pastalaromagna.com/ - specializing in fresh and dried egg pastas - fun to see!

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Feb 02, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Olive Oil Estate Tours

Unfortunately in April, there is not much going on in the world of olive oil - the mills (in Umbria, at least) are only open between October and December. As for seeing an estate, you just have to drive around the olive trees are everywhere! :-)
What part of Italy are you planning to go to?

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Jan 05, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Florence/Umbria Trip Report

Glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Umbria!
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Dec 06, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Best Fried Artichokes in Rome

I have only had them at one restaurant, da Giggetto, because they are so good there that I don't want to be disappointed by the possibility of inferior chokes at another restaurant. ;-)

Nov 16, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome, Umbria, Tuscany and Bologna Itinerary

I didn't know Osterie d'Italia had an app - I'll have to get that too! I hope it is as complete as the books :-)

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Oct 30, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome, Umbria, Tuscany and Bologna Itinerary

You may want to rethink the Cortona/Umbria portion of your trip, as Cortona is very far from all 3 of the destinations you were thinking of in Umbria (Orvieto, Spoleto, Norcia).
What about spending the night in Orvieto on you way up from Rome?as you will definitely need at least 1 full day in Orvieto. Then, from Cortona, it would make more sense to visit Lake Trasimeno, Perugia, Torgiano, and Umbertide areas (of Umbria).

Or, if you are not already locked into your villa in Tuscany, why don't you stay in a villa in Umbria? Cortona is pretty far from most of the more touristic towns - minimum 80 min drive to all of the following: Assisi, Spoleto, Montefalco, Bevagna, Norcia, Todi etc - you will end up spending a lot of time in the car. Places are a lot further away than they look on the map and the roads are often small & windy!
I highly recommend the Umbria Slow App https://itunes.apple.com/it/app/umbri... for your travels in Umbria (activities/food/where to stay).

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Oct 30, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Lunch in Umbria

Try Osteria Piazzetta dell'Erba, La Stalla, or Trattoria La Pallotta. See you on Tuesday! :-)

Oct 13, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

November in Italy - Bologna Tuscany or Umbria? Rome always on the table

I'll "third" La Palazzola! I used their Gran Cuvee and Rose Brut at my wedding. Scacciadiavoli also makes a great Spumante e Rose Spumante Brut from Sagrantino grapes - very interesting!

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Oct 11, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

November in Italy - Bologna Tuscany or Umbria? Rome always on the table

Definitely Umbria! ...but I'm biased ;-)
November is still a nice time to travel in Umbria. Apart from the fact that it is prime time for both white and black truffles, it is also the olive oil harvest, which means new oil. The freshly pressed olive oil is incredible - it has a fluorescent green color and is extremely tannic and peppery - very unique - and it is only considered "new" for 2 months. All of the olive oil mills will be open the first week of November for Frantoi Aperti http://www.frantoiaperti.net/ and restaurants will be dousing the new oil on everything for the whole month.
If you are here the first weekend of November, there is also a wonderful little festival in the town of Montone called Festa del Bosco.
As for arriving, Rome is definitely best, but if you think it is cheaper to fly into Milan and make a stop along the way, then do so. If you are taking the train (from either Rome or Milan), know that Foligno is actually the main train station of Umbria, not Perugia - there are many more direct (or fewer changes) to/from Foligno. Then there is an Avis car rental right there in the station as well. I strongly recommend renting a car for your stay in Umbria. Many of the most beautiful areas are not reachable by train.
I recommend that you stay either in the central valley area: Spello, Cannara, Bevagna, as they are between both of the main highways, or the Todi/Derutas areas which are close to the E45. All of these towns are perfectly located for easily traveling around Umbria.
Here is a link for some of my favorite places to stay and eat: http://www.lifeitalianstyle.com/where...

Oct 10, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Lardo

Here in Umbria, we use it chopped with garlic and rosemary then spread on chicken before roasting - delicious! Also great used as soffritto, mixed with finely chopped carrots, onions & celery for a soup base (for us, lentil, chickpea or farro soup).

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Sep 27, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy