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7/29/2014

5 reasons to travel to Umbria in August

This post has actually been inspired by a recent article published on the American website Dream of Italy. Here the author pointed out "some of the popular misconceptions about visiting the land of la dolce vita during the month of August".
Just yesterday, during one of our wine tours, my guests were so impressed by the silence and peace they could enjoy in our region, despite they were traveling in the so-called "high season".

Here my 5 reasons to travel to Umbria in August:

1. Umbria is never crowded

Montefalco at lunch-break on August 2013
One of the most popular nightmare for a traveler in search of a relaxing holiday is spending his/her vacation together with other millions of tourists, especially if they are compatriots (it seems that when we travel abroad, Italians or Americans, Danish or Finnish we all prefer getting in contact with local people than "enjoying" the company of our contryfellows...)
Umbria is never crowded. Although from Spring to early Fall more and more travelers have been discovering this hidden gem, Umbria, in this sense, is never similar to a famous hill top village in Chianti area or Amalfi coast, for example.

2. Heat? Lakes and mountains, underground caves and old churches

Enjoying "my" Martani Mountains last year
Well, as stated in Dream of Italy's post, "it depends on your definition of heat".
Yes, it's true that Umbria is far from the sea, but, in case you'd like having a break from the [possible] heat, Umbria has beautiful lakes: Trasimeno or Lago di Piediluco. For those who stay near Orvieto, highly recommended is also Lago di Bolsena located in the northern part of Lazio region, called Tuscia, close to the amazing village of Civita di Bagnoregio.
The region has stunning mountainous areas where the temperature is always at least 3-5 degrees lower than the one perceived in our towns thanks to the altitude. The most famous is definitely Norcia and Sibillini Natural Park, with its stunning Piano di Castelluccio, known for the cultivation of lentils. If Norcia could be too far, a day off on Martani Mountains located in central Umbria can be a very good option.
For lovers of art and history a visit to a monastery or to the thousand churches can be a very good idea...and don't forget the underground caves, especially in Orvieto and Narni.

3. Stunning views, gorgeous landscape

Walking in a vineyard among verdant vines

In this region Mother Nature offers her show all year round. In August you can enjoy the best of our Summer views: at the beginning of the month sunflowers, luxuriant verdant vines and olive trees already full of the little olives; at the end of the month, deep purple and golden yellow bunches of grapes ready to be harvested in September...



4. Sagra - traditional Food Festivals
Summer is the period of Sagra and August represents the peak of the season. These local food festivals take place everywhere in the region. Sagra is a great opportunity to taste local specialities and above all, to experience local way of living.

5. Ferragosto - August 15

Sagra - Food Festivals
The term Ferragosto comes from the Latin expression Feriae Augusti (Augustus' rest), which is a celebration introduced by the emperor Augustus in 18 BC. This was an addition to the other ancient Roman festivals which fell in the same month celebrating the harvest and the end of a long period of intense agricultural labor.
The Catholic Church consecrated this day to the Assumption of Virgin Mary. Today Ferragosto is a religious festivity and a National holiday.
In Umbria, a land whose rural past and tradition are still alive, Ferragosto - in its "pagan" meaning connected to the end of the works in the fields -  is a very important holiday, blessed by a huge family lunch dominated by the main dish: oca arrosto (roast goose).
If you are so lucky to be invited by your Umbrian neighbours, don't miss this great opportunity.
If like enjoying oca and you're not so fortunate, don't worry: many restaurants and agriturismo offer it in their menu on August 15. In case, don't forget to book your table some days in advance because Umbria is never crowed but...Umbrians love celebrating!

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