Solomeo Brings a Renaissance Fair and Luxury to Umbria

Ancient crafts are on display for education and acquisition at Solomeo’s Renaissance Fair.

Solomeo, a tiny town 14 km. (about 10.5 miles) southwest of Perugia, in Italy’s Umbria region, brings history to life every summer with its Renaissance Fair. For ten days between late July and the first few days of August the handful of streets in this dollhouse village (population: 500) are crowded with more than 15,000 visitors from elsewhere in Italy and from abroad. Street performers in ... Read Full Article

Remembering St. Francis in Assisi

Basilica of St Francis Assisi - Lightmatter

I am not sure when I first heard about St. Francis. As a Jew, I would not have heard it in synagogue, but in school they taught both the Old Testament and the New. I have always loved the stories. Who would not? He talked to the animals. He lived in a cave, surrounded by them. He worked with the poor and protected them. So when the new Pope took the name Francis, it reminded me of our visit to ... Read Full Article

Five Fabulous Festivals in Umbria

costumed ladies are Calendimaggio in Assisi

Umbria-- with its bucolic patchwork landscape of vineyards, olive groves, and tiny medieval stone hilltowns--is not known as a big party destination. The Umbrians are generally a staid and reserved populace, and the rolling hills and sleepy villages that characterize this region in central Italy lend themselves more to contemplatively sipping cappuccinos in tiny piazzas than bacchanal excess and ... Read Full Article

Italy From Bottom to Top: Umbria’s Traditional Foods

Porchetta Sandwich closeup

I wanted to learn more about Umbria’s traditional foods, especially that strange Norcian mortadella with the chunk of mystery meat inside. When I found the store, Il Parma Delizie Alimentari, with a large man carving meat behind the counter, I knew I had the right place. Armando is an experienced purveyor of fine foods, and when I asked him about Umbria’s most important culinary ingredients, he ... Read Full Article

Italy From Bottom to Top: Arriving in Perugia

Truffle Sauce

When we hit traffic, I knew we were in trouble. We needed to get the car back by 10:30 am, and it was already 10:30. Further, we had yet to navigate the twisty, turning allies of Perugia’s city center to drop our bags at our hostel. Driving in Italy is a headache, because of both its excessive, nonsensical traffic laws and its city streets, most of which were originally designed for horses. The ... Read Full Article

Italy from Bottom to Top: Montefalco and Cantine Aperte


Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year: Cantine Aperte. A countrywide wine tasting, the event’s name literally means “Open Wineries.” I started just outside of the Montefalco region, a D.O.C.G. region that produces wines made with the Sagrantino grape. The word sagra means festival or party, so I like to think of the grape as a “little party,” although that is not actually what it ... Read Full Article

Assisi, Italy: A Place of Pilgrimage


  St. Francis, born in 1181 to a wealthy silk merchant and his wife, was definitely no saint to begin with. He partied and drank with his friends and generally got into trouble. Even after being imprisoned for a year during the war between Assisi and Perugia, he returned to his extravagant ways. But then, the story goes, he met a beggar and was so struck by the misery he saw that he gave ... Read Full Article

Agritourism: Traveling to Europe to Hang Out on a Farm


Agritourism is gaining in popularity as a way to learn more about the country you are visiting in a very personal way. Agritourism is a vacation taken on a farm, a vineyard or other rural venue. Typically vacationers will book a room, cottage, or villa on a farm or rural property. In many cases, vacationers are able to assist in chores such as picking fruit, helping in the grape harvest, and ... Read Full Article

The Heart of Italy

Central Italy includes the regions of Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche. This area includes beautiful towns and charming landscapes steeped in culture and history. Emilia Romagna is one of the most prosperous areas of Italy. With the Po river valley to the north and the Apennine Mountains to the south, this region is the breadbasket of Italy. Agriculture thrives in this rich area and ... Read Full Article