Umbria in Fiction

L’Umbria da Fiction
Benvenuti in Umbria, nel cuore verde dell’Italia, una Regione che incanta con la sua bellezza naturale e il suo fascino storico. Ma c’è qualcosa di magico nell’Umbria che va oltre i suoi paesaggi mozzafiato e le sue città medievali: è il luogo dove la magia del cinema e della televisione prende vita!
In questo viaggio cinematografico, esploreremo i luoghi incantati dell’Umbria che sono servito da sfondo per film e fiction, portando sullo schermo la ricchezza della sua cultura e della sua storia.

Città della Pieve e “CARABINIERI”
Città della Pieve caratterizzata dai suoi edifici in mattoni rossi e situata al confine tra l’Umbria e la Toscana, è stata forse la prima location in Umbria a fare da sfondo per avvincenti inseguimenti tra criminali e carabinieri, nella Fiction “Carabinieri” e che ha fatto da trampolino di lancio nella carriera da attori come Manuela Arcuri, Martina Colombari, Lorenzo Crespi…
La caserma dei carabinieri è stata collocata in via Maddalena 34 in un istituto tecnico.
Il celebre Bar Pippo, frequentato dai protagonisti della fiction, si trova invece in Piazza Matteotti, ed è ancora oggi attivo.

Assisi e “CHE DIO CI AIUTI
Assisi è stata la protagonista delle ultime stagioni della celebre fiction Rai “Che Dio ci aiuti”.
Girovagando per le strade della città, è possibile identificare gli edifici storici di Assisi che fungono da cornice alle avventure di Suor Angela, interpretata dall’attrice Elena Sofia Ricci, che attraversa il centro storico a bordo del suo ormai iconico pulmino blu. Location delle riprese sono state anche la maestosa Basilica Papale di San Francesco, la Basilica di Santa Chiara e la Cattedrale di San Rufino. Molti dei dialoghi tra Suor Angela e Suor Costanza, interpretata dall’attrice Francesca Chillemi, sono state girate, per esempio, nella chiesetta di San Giacomo de Muro Rupto.

Perugia e “LUISA SPAGNOLI”
Perugia
, la pittoresca capitale dell’Umbria, è stata il set per numerose produzioni cinematografiche e televisive: una tra queste, trasmessa nel 2016, è la serie televisiva dedicata a Luisa Spagnoli (ne avevamo parlato qui), imprenditrice lungimirante e creatrice del marchio di moda che porta il suo nome e del famoso Bacio Perugina, il cioccolatino con la nocciola ideato insieme al marito Francesco Buitoni.
La scenografia si è sviluppata soprattutto in piazza IV Novembre, tra la Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, la Fontana Maggiore e Palazzo Priori. Luisa Spagnoli, interpretata dalla bellissima e bravissima Luisa Ranieri, ha sfoggiato eleganti abiti d’epoca mentre percorreva Corso Vannucci, il corso principale di Perugia ma anche le suggestive scalette di Sant’Ercolano

“DON MATTEO” tra Gubbio e Spoleto
Gubbio
, con le sue case di pietra e i vicoli stretti, è un vero tesoro medievale che ha attirato registi di tutto il mondo. La città è stata utilizzata come primo set per il film “Don Matteo”, prima di passare. Gubbio offre un’atmosfera autentica che ha reso la serie ancora più coinvolgente per gli spettatori. A Gubbio, in particolare, sono stati utilizzati la Chiesa di San Giovanni per la canonica e la chiesa della Fiction. Nella Piazza Grande, di fronte al Palazzo dei Consolo, invece, si trovata la caserma del maresciallo Cecchini, dove è ancora posizionato il tavolo delle partite a scacchi tra Don Matteo e il Maresciallo. Le famose passeggiate in bicicletta di Terence Hill – DON MATTEO, sono girare in Via Savelli, Via Piccardi e Via Baldassini.

A Spoleto, invece, la maestosa Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, conosciuta anche come Duomo di Spoleto, è la location iconica della serie. Questo capolavoro di architettura romanica ospita opere d’arte straordinarie e rappresenta uno dei luoghi più sacri della città. Nella trama di “Don Matteo”, la cattedrale ospita la Canonica, la Caserma dei Carabinieri e il Parlatorio.
Poco distante si può ammirare Piazza della Signoria dove sono state girate molte scene della Fiction. Palazzo Bufalini è stato utilizzato per le riprese in esterna della Caserma dei Carabinieri.

L’Umbria è molto più di un’incantevole regione italiana: è un mondo di possibilità per cineasti e registi che desiderano catturare la sua bellezza e il suo fascino senza tempo. Esplorare i luoghi dove sono stati girati film e fiction in Umbria è un modo affascinante per scoprire la regione da una prospettiva unica, attraverso gli occhi dei creatori cinematografici che hanno reso questi luoghi indimenticabili sul grande e piccolo schermo.

 

The Legends of Saint Valentine

The story of Saint Valentine of Terni is shrouded in mystery and folklore, with various legends intertwining over the centuries.

Saint Valentine is revered as the patron saint of lovers, and his feast day on February 14th is celebrated worldwide. Valentine was a Christian bishop from Terni, who died as a martyr in Rome on February 14th, 273 AD. He was laid to rest in Terni, in the Basilica where his relics can still be found today.

One of the most famous legends tells that Emperor Claudius II in the 3rd century AD had issued a decree that prohibited the marriage of young men, believing that singles made better soldiers. However, Valentine disobeyed this decree and continued to perform secret weddings for young couples. When his disobedience was discovered, Valentine was arrested and brought before the Emperor. During his imprisonment, legend has it that Valentine healed the blindness of his jailer’s daughter and that, before his execution, he wrote her a farewell letter, signing it “From your Valentine.”

This story has helped to cement Saint Valentine’s association with romantic love. Another version of the Saint Valentine story suggests that he might have been martyred for aiding persecuted Christians during the reign of Claudius II. Yet another legend tells of Valentine witnessing two young lovers arguing and giving them a rose, urging them to hold it together as a way to reconcile, and then having doves fly around them, hence the term “lovebirds.” In any case, the figure of Saint Valentine quickly became a symbol of love and devotion, and his feast day became associated with romantic love over the centuries.

Carnival Recipes in Umbria

#COOK WITH UMBRIASI

We told you about Carnival, its origins and traditional Umbrian desserts.
Today here we bring you the recipes of the Carnival:
Prepare the apron, the work surface and ready to knead and then enjoy!

FRAPPE

Ingredients
500 g of 00 flour
3 eggs
Lemon peel to taste
1 teaspoon baking powder
250 g of butter
100 g of sugar
1 pinch of salt

For frying
1 liter of peanut oil

To decorate
Powdered sugar/honey or alkermes

Method
Create a fountain of flour on the work surface and arrange the baking powder in the centre, start mixing flour and baking powder, then always in the center add the eggs, the lemon peel (pay attention to the white part of the lemon which is more bitter) and the pinch of salt. Once the ingredients are mixed, add the butter at room temperature and the sugar. The dough will be ready when it is smooth, homogeneous and will come off easily from your hands. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered with cling film.
After 30 minutes, roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it forms a sheet that is not too thin. With the washer, cut the dough into rectangular strips with a small cut in the center where you pass one end of the frappa through the middle, simulating a bow.
Fry the frappe in hot oil for about 5 minutes. Once ready and cooled, decorate them with icing sugar, honey or alchermes as you like

CASTAGNOLE

Ingredients
230 g of 00 flour
2 eggs
½ sachet of baking powder
4 Tablespoons of sugar
1 small glass of liqueur (mistrà, sambuca)
50 ml of milk at room temperature
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Lemon peel to taste
1 pinch of salt

To frying
Plenty of peanut oil

To decorate
Icing sugar/honey or alchermes and colored sugared almonds

Method
Break the eggs into a small bowl and mix with the sugar until you have a frothy and light consistency. The sugar must be well mixed. Add the sambuca, slowly add the milk and oil and finally the grated lemon peel (pay attention to the white part, as above!). Mix everything until all the ingredients are well blended. Then add the flour and baking powder until you get a batter-like consistency.Let the mixture rest covered for about 10-15 minutes.Pour the batter into hot oil (help yourself with a spoon to form balls) and turn them halfway through cooking. Once ready, decorate with alchermes honey sugar and colored sprinkles

N.B There are variations that also include filling them with cream, chocolate cream or cream!

STRUFOLI

Ingredients
400 g of flour
6 eggs
6 tablespoons of sugar
1 small glass of Mistrà or Sambuca
1 lemon peel and lemon juice
1 cup of milk
25 g of baking powder
6 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil

To frying

2 liters of peanut oil

To decorate

Honey

Method

With a whisk, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until you obtain a frothy consistency. Whip the remaining egg whites until stiff and add them to the yolks and mix well. Add the lemon peels and slowly add the oil and milk.
Gradually add the flour, baking powder, lemon juice and liqueur. Knead until you get a smooth and homogeneous dough. Sprinkle it with oil and cover it with a cloth to let it rest for at least 2 hours.
Slide the balls of dough into the hot oil (again with the help of a spoon). To help the dough remain round, slowly rotate the pan (with the handles) in which you are frying the strufoli (be careful! )
Once cooled, sprinkle them with honey melted in a bain-marie.

CICERCHIATA UMBRA

Ingredients
300 g of 00 flour
30 g of butter
3 eggs
1/2 grated lemon peel
Alchermes to taste

To frying
2 liters of peanut oil

To decorate
400 g of honey
colorful candies
dried fruit like almonds cut into strips
100 g of candied fruit

Method
On a pastry board, mix the flour with the eggs, the lemon peel, the butter at room temperature and the liqueur until a homogeneous and smooth consistency is obtained. Create sausages from the dough from which to obtain the irregular balls cut with a knife and fry them in hot oil. Heat the butter and once melted, pour the fried balls and mix well. Then add the sugared almonds, candied fruit and almonds to taste.
Then cut into strips 150 gr. of peeled almond

 

CRESCIONDA SPOLETINA

Ingredients
50 g of 00 flour
70 g of sugar
4 eggs
500ml of milk
200 g of macaroons
50 ml of mistrà liqueur
100 g of dark chocolate
1 grated lemon peel

Method
With a whisk or mixer, blend the amaretti biscuits. Then proceed by beating the yolks with the sugar until you get a frothy consistency; then add the minced chocolate, the liqueur and the milk slowly. Finally, the amaretti biscuits and the flour little by little, together with the grated lemon. Whip the egg whites until stiff which will then be joined to the mixture from bottom to top. Grease and flour a baking tray (24 cm in diameter) and bake at 180° for 60 minutes.

Credit photo
UmbriaTourism
Forchettiere.it
Antonio Gravante
2Amiche in Cucina
Fonte Cesia
Kasanova

Carnival sweets in Umbria

The ancient Latin saying reads
“semel in anno licet insanire – once a year it is permissible to go crazy”

Carnival Origin
The common thread that binds Carnival, the mask or masquerade party par excellence, all over the world seems to be precisely the concept that is furthest from what the Romans called mos maiorum, good morals, morality.

But before we get to the Romans, let’s take a few steps back.
The origin of the Carnival dates back to 4000 years ago with the Egyptians and the rites in honor of Isis, the goddess of fertility.

With the Romans, the Carnival Festival coincided with the Lupercali, in honor of the God Luperco, symbol of Roman fertility. The period, for both Egyptians and Romans, is celebrated at the end of February.

Sacred and Profane
The Carnival, between banquets, parties and masks, thus becomes a sort of social “level”: a disguise that hides the status of belonging and allows everyone to set aside moral rigidity for a day.
With Christianity, Carnival from the Latin “carnem levare”, Shrove Tuesday becomes the last day to eat meat before abstaining from consuming it during the period of Lent but also the last opportunity to fill your belly with sweets rich in sugars!

Tipical sweety food in Umbria
Whether it’s Egyptian, Roman or Christian, the “reasons” of Carnival are disguise (masquerade) and the consumption of food, especially sweets!

Let’s see what are the typical ones in Umbria:

  • Frappe
    Strips of sweet puff pastry in the shape of a bow. Covered with alchermes sugar or honey, they can be either fried (as per the original recipe) or baked in the “lighter” variant. In any case, the result is a crunchy, sweet and tasty pastry.
  • Castagnòle
    The name derives from the memory of the small chestnuts with their rounded shape. The dough is composed of flour, eggs, sugar, yeast and an aromatic liqueur. Also these sweets, as per tradition, are fried paying particular attention to making them golden on the outside and cooked well inside, helping them to remain round during cooking by moving the pan in a rotating direction. Then covered with sugar, honey or alchermes.
  • Strufoli
    Traditional from Perugino, they resemble castagnole with the difference of having a softer texture and are, on the other hand, larger in size. They are then covered with sweet dripping honey.
  • Cicerchiata umbra
    From the name of the Umbrian Cicerchia, a rounded legume, the cicerchiata is a crown of sweet balls covered in honey.
  • Crescionda spoletina
    With this dessert we move to Spoleto with its Crescionda.
    Originally prepared with chicken broth, or lard, in fact also known as “grescia unta” for being particularly fat, sugar, cheese, chocolate and breadcrumbs were then added. Or the version prepared with apples and dried fruit. Today his recipe marries modernity using chocolate, milk and amaretti biscuits. It is also recognized as a Traditional Umbrian Agri-Food Product.

Credit photo
UmbriaTourism
Forchettiere.it
Antonio Gravante
2Amiche in Cucina

The Sanctuary of Merciful Love of Collevalenza

Umbria, with its picturesque hilly landscapes, medieval villages, and deep spiritual roots, is one of Italy’s gems. Among the numerous attractions this region has to offer, the Sanctuary of Collevalenza stands out as a place of devotion, hope, and reflection.

Located just a few kilometers from Todi, the Sanctuary of Collevalenza was founded at the behest of Mother Hope and built by the Spanish architect Julio Lafuente in 1951, with the intent of creating a place that represented and expressed God’s Mercy for all the faithful who had committed a sin and were seeking forgiveness and spiritual comfort.

An Enchanting Architecture
Beyond its spiritual significance, the Sanctuary also captivates visitors from an architectural standpoint: it has a circular plan with two large sacred halls, the crypt, and the upper church, which converge into a single architectural entity.

The Sanctuary creates a serene, welcoming, and bright atmosphere, thanks to a huge concave glass window.

Pilgrims visiting this sacred place are greeted with genuine smiles and a kindness typical of Umbrian hospitality. They can always confess, in the name of the same Mercy that the Sanctuary represents.

The Message of Water and the Famous Pools
Since March 1, 1979, the Water of the Sanctuary, coming from a nearby well, has been flowing into the pools (separated for men and women) and open to pilgrims or for the immersion of the sick, who could immerse themselves during the “Liturgy of the Waters” by the priests of the Sanctuary.

Currently, the “Liturgies of the Waters” are still active, while due to post-pandemic restrictions, immersions have been temporarily suspended, but at the same time, pilgrims who go to the Sanctuary and participate in the liturgy will be accompanied by the priest to the feet of the statue of Mary the Mediatrix to drink from the small fountains while reciting the prayer of the proper use of the Water and its spiritual meanings as “refreshment to the body and health to the soul and renewal of wonders for healings,” as always said by Mother Hope.

The Water of the Sanctuary is still considered a sign of Grace and an instrument of the Lord’s Mercy.

 

San Costanzo’s Torcolo

The typical sweet of the tradition to celebrate San Costanzo is, in fact, the Torcolo, behind which there are many legends and mysteries related to the Saint that still today make this sweet full of charm and history.

In fact, it is handed down that the torcolo is in the shape of a donut to remember the crown and flowers that were placed on the body of the Saint after the decapitation or even that the hole represents the severed head of the Saint and lastly that its donut shape refers to the crown paraded from the head of the Saint once he was beheaded. That’s why a dessert studded with colored candies, in memory of the precious stones of the color! The five cuts on the donut are, however, attributable to the access doors to the five districts of the historic center of Perugia: Porta San Pietro, Porta Sole, Porta Eburnea, Porta Susanna, and Porta Sant’Angelo.

The torcolo di San Costanzo, despite the great importance it holds during the feast of January 29, is a dessert that is now enjoyed in Umbria throughout the year!

Let’s see the Recipe:

Ingredients:
600 g of flour
330 g of warm water
170 g of sugar
85 g of extra virgin olive oil
1 egg
85 g of butter
25 g of brewer’s yeast
170 g of candied citron
170 g of sultana raisins
170 g of pine nuts
anise seeds to taste

Method:
Arrange the flour on a pastry board, or in a bowl, crumble the yeast in the center and begin to knead with the warm water, gradually collecting the flour from the edges. Once the dough is homogeneous and well blended, let it rest and rise for about 2 hours in a warm, dry place.

Once the leavening is complete, turn the dough over (it should double) onto the work surface, spreading it slightly with the palm of your hand and add the butter cut into small pieces (room temperature), the sugar and the oil. Once the ingredients are mixed, add the diced candied citron, the raisins, the pine nuts, anise to taste. Knead it until all the candied fruit and dried fruit are well blended, form the donut and put it in a buttered cake pan to let it rise for about 3 hours.

After the last leavening, brush the surface of the Torcolo with egg yolk and make 5 light cuts with the tip of the knife.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180° for about 45 minutes.

Recommended pairing: Vernaccia di Cannara or Umbrian Vinsanto.

The Story of Saint Costanzo

Il 29 gennaio si festeggia San Costanzo, primo Vescovo e di Perugia e uno dei patroni del capoluogo umbro insieme a San Lorenzo e Sant’Ercolano. La storia della vita di San Costanzo e ciò che ne aleggia intorno è ricco di meraviglia, stupore, fede e misticismo con un pizzico di romanticismo e di dolcezze. Vediamo perché.

On January 29th, Saint Costanzo is celebrated, the first Bishop of Perugia, and one of the patrons of the Umbrian capital, along with Saint Lorenzo and Saint Ercolano. The story of the life of Saint Costanzo and what surrounds it is rich in wonder, amazement, faith, and mysticism, with a touch of romanticism and sweetness. Let’s see why.

 

Saint Costanzo, the Martyr

In “Mille Santi del Giorno” by Piero Bargellini, a collection of stories about the lives of saints, the description of Costanzo can be traced back to around the 2nd century AD. He was a man dedicated to faith, kindness, and generosity towards the poor, with a strong sense of duty to the Christian Church, especially during the persecutions of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

 

It is narrated that Costanzo, under the rule of Marcus Aurelius, was martyred and brutally persecuted: confined in the calidarium (ancient Roman baths) at extremely high temperatures, he miraculously emerged unharmed. He was arrested several times and forced to walk on burning coals, but nothing could shake the faith of Saint Costanzo. Around the year 178, he was arrested again and beheaded in Foligno. His remains were then returned to Perugia, where he found rest in what would later become the first Cathedral of Perugia, outside the gates of San Pietro, now known as the Church of San Costanzo.

 

The Tradition of the Wink

For lovers of romanticism, here’s a legend that during the celebrations of the Saint, the image of San Costanzo can “wink” at unmarried girls (and virgins according to medieval tradition) who present themselves in the Church where the Saint rests, to inquire if they will marry within the year. Of course, it’s a play of lights and shadows that makes the whole thing magical with a hint of love.

 

For young ladies without the foresight of a happy event predicted by the Saint, the boyfriend will give them the typical Perugian sweet, especially associated with the Feast of San Costanzo, the Torcolo.

 

The Torcolo of San Costanzo

The typical sweet of the tradition to celebrate San Costanzo is indeed the Torcolo, behind which many legends and mysteries related to the Saint are hidden, making this sweet still charming and full of history today.

 

It is handed down, in fact, that the torcolo is shaped like a ring to recall the crown of flowers placed on the Saint’s body after decapitation, or that the hole represents the severed head of the Saint, and finally, that its donut shape refers to the crown removed from the head of the Saint once decapitated. This is why a sweet studded with colored candied fruits, in memory of the precious stones of the crown! The five cuts on the donut can be traced back to the entrances to the five districts of the historic center of Perugia: Porta San Pietro, Porta Sole, Porta Eburnea, Porta Susanna, and Porta Sant’Angelo.

 

The Torcolo of San Costanzo, despite its great importance during the celebration on January 29th, is a sweet that is now enjoyed in Umbria throughout the year!

 

Photo Credits

Regione Umbria

Umbria Tourism

Come di Perugia

On the Trail of Don Matteo in Spoleto

Spoleto, a hidden gem nestled among the green Umbrian hills, is a place rich in history, culture, and charm. Besides being an ideal destination for art and gastronomy enthusiasts, Spoleto is famous for the Festival dei Due Mondi and as the city where the popular Italian television series “Don Matteo” is filmed. Let’s explore together the enchanted places in Spoleto that provide the backdrop for the adventures of our beloved detective priest!

Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Palazzo Bufalini The majestic Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as the Duomo di Spoleto, is the iconic location of the series. This masterpiece of Romanesque architecture houses extraordinary works of art and represents one of the holiest places in the city. In the plot of “Don Matteo,” the cathedral serves as the Rectory, the Carabinieri barracks, and the Parlor. Not far away, you can admire Piazza della Signoria, where many scenes of the fiction were shot. Palazzo Bufalini was used for external shots of the Carabinieri barracks.

Basilica of Sant’Eufemia and the Caio Melisso Theater Located inside the Episcopal Palace, built on the foundations of the ancient residence of the Lombard dukes, is the setting that hosts the Church of “Don Matteo.” Nearby is the Caio Melisso Theater, which, for the purposes of the fiction, becomes the prison parlor.

A Journey into the Heart of Spoleto Exploring the locations where the “Don Matteo” series is filmed is a fascinating experience that allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the magic of the show. Spoleto, with its rich history, charming architecture, and mysterious aura, offers an unforgettable journey into the heart of Umbria.

If you are a fan of the series, there is no better way to experience the adventures of Don Matteo and his faithful friend Cecchini, played by Nino Frassica, than to personally visit these enchanted places. Spoleto will welcome you with open arms, offering not only the beauty of its monuments but also the opportunity to relive the exciting moments you loved on the screen.

So, get ready for a journey into the world of Don Matteo, exploring the same winding alleys and bustling squares that served as the backdrop for his most thrilling investigations. Spoleto awaits you with its secrets and stories to tell, ready to enchant you with its timeless charm.

From Spoleto to Marmore by bike

A three-day proposal in one of the most beautiful areas of Umbria, which combines the beauties of Spoleto and villages such as Sant’Anatolia, Scheggino, Ferentillo and Arrone, with the uncontaminated nature of the Valnerina, before ending in front of the stupendous spectacle of the Marmore waterfall.

The Lace Makers of Irish Lace on Isola Maggiore

In the early 20th century, Marchesa Elena Guglielmi introduced the technique of Irish lace-making to Isola Maggiore in Lake Trasimeno. Inspired by traditions originating in Irish monasteries in the late 19th century and following the ancient art of Venetian lace, the Marchesa’s vision was to bring this artistry to the island.

Unlike traditional lace made with needles and bobbins, this lace is crafted with a crochet hook using an extremely fine thread. The foresight of the Marchesa also led her to bring a teacher from Turin who could pass on the art of lace-making to the first island teacher, Elvira Tosetti. Elvira was entrusted with the foundation and direction of the lace school on the island for young women, daughters of fishermen, who, until then, engaged in various activities during the day without receiving any payment. The school provided them with the opportunity to receive professional training, learning various techniques for creating tablecloths, sheets, clothes, handkerchiefs, gloves, etc. This offered them a certain economic independence (earning about 390 lire in the first year and around 2300 lire in the second year) and the ability to contribute to family expenses.

They could be seen sitting at the doorstep of their homes, engrossed in crocheting and lacework. These young women and their creations soon gained esteem from noblewomen, regular customers of the school. The crafted items were soon exhibited at the permanent market show of Italian Decorative Arts in Perugia, and sample books were sent to Industrie Femminili Italiane in Rome, ultimately being sold throughout Italy and abroad. The Irish lace from Isola Maggiore became famous and highly appreciated, positively contributing to the island’s economy, especially during fishing crises.

Later, in the 1930s, with changes in fashion and influences coming from America, Irish lace fell out of style, leading to the closure of the school. However, the island women continued to work on lace for their personal trousseaus and as an inheritance.

In 1963, Isolana Maria Vittoria Semolesti revived the activity by founding a cooperative of lace makers for the sale of Irish lace. Although the cooperative closed in 1975, the lace makers continued to work individually. Via Guglielmi, with its lace makers, became one of the attractions on the island, drawing tourists who admired the lace-making process. Even today, you can find a few lace makers working at their doorsteps.

The last lace makers of Isola Maggiore, all descendants of Maria Vittoria Semolesti’s school, still operate today. In the center of the island, in the palace that once housed the Brotherhood of Santa Maria dei Disciplinati, the Lace Museum was established, showcasing the works created by the women of Isola Maggiore from 1904 to the end of the 20th century.

Umbrian Christmas Recipes

Christmas Flavor in Umbria: A Culinary Journey through Typical Recipes

 

Christmas is a magical celebration, and what better way to celebrate it than immersing oneself in the culinary traditions of a region rich in history and authenticity? In Umbria, the Christmas table is a true spectacle of flavors, with dishes that reflect generosity and love for local traditions. In this article, we will explore some of the typical Christmas recipes in Umbria, offering a taste of the gastronomic heritage that makes this region unique.

The typical family Christmas menu in Umbria.

Appetizers:

Chicken Liver Crostini
A simple recipe, typical of the peasant tradition in this region, widely spread and appreciated throughout Central Italy. Chicken liver pâté crostini are always present on the table, especially during the holiday season. It is an appetizer with a very distinctive flavor, slightly tangy and quite savory. The pâté is made with chicken livers and is excellent when paired with Umbrian rustic bread – known for being low in salt – lightly toasted. The warm and fragrant crostini served with this flavorful sauce pairs well with a good glass of local red wine.

Chicken Galantine
An Umbrian dish considered a classic of Christmas lunch in the regional tradition. It seems that it was usually the housewives who cooked it in exchange for money or, more often, according to simple barter rules, for other essential products. It can be reasonably assumed that not only did every town, fortress, or village exhibit its own galantine recipe, claiming it to be the best, but every woman or man who ventured into the task had their own personal interpretation. This stuffed chicken terrine is both majestic, intimidating, and instructive. We could consider it a kind of relic of “synthetic” cuisine, as it puts everything (literally everything) together. It’s also a bit like a Chinese puzzle box, as each element is skillfully fitted inside the other. It starts with the chicken, deboned and gutted. The outer layer is filled with meat (chicken, beef, salted tongue, ground pork), eggs, mortadella (but also ham and lard), pistachios, cream, truffles. The resulting food chimera is secured with sturdy strings (twine), cooked in broth, and, once cooled, served in slices with chicken jelly.

First Course:

Cappelletti in Broth
Homemade cappelletti are a must during the Christmas holidays in Umbria. These small ravioli filled with beef and pork are cooked and served in a rich broth, providing warmth and comfort to diners during the cold winter days.

Second Course:

Stewed Capon
It is a castrated rooster cooked slowly in a rich sauce based on red wine and aromas such as rosemary and bay leaves. The capon is marinated with garlic, white wine, and herbs before cooking. Often accompanied by side dishes like mashed potatoes, Stewed Capon represents Umbrian culinary tradition, offering a tasty dish symbolizing conviviality.

Desserts:

Panpepato
Panpepato is one of the most beloved Christmas delicacies in Umbria. A mixture of nuts, almonds, candied fruit, honey, chocolate, and a myriad of spices, this sweet recalls the Sienese panforte but with a unique Umbrian touch. It is a true explosion of Christmas flavors that delights the senses.

Torciglione
Among the typical Umbrian Christmas sweets, there is one with a very particular shape: torciglione. Its origins are still uncertain: some claim that its shape resembles a lake eel, others that of a snake. Regardless of its history, it is a famous sweet throughout the region, with various versions that can vary in dosage or the presence of certain ingredients, but especially in the final decorations, leaving ample space for creativity.

Rocciata
A traditional sweet during the winter holiday period (from early November to Carnival), mainly prepared at Christmas, roc- ciata is a typical recipe of Foligno, Assisi, and Spello. Its spiral shape resembles that of a snake coiled upon itself, and its red color is given by alchermes. Inside the dough, a rich filling of cooked apples with walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, dried figs, raisins, and chocolate. Naturally, there are variations based on the area and family traditions, which usually remain secret!

Pinoccata
Traditional Christmas sweets in Perugia, pinoccate are packaged in colorful and festive papers that brighten shop windows, gift baskets, and tables. It seems that these sweets were in use among Benedictine monks since the 14th century and were still consumed at the end of lavish Christmas lunches in the late 18th century.

Almost exclusive to the Umbrian capital, this sweet owes its name, known in variations such as pinoccati, pinocchiati, pinoccate, and pinocchiate, to pine nuts, formerly more frequently called pinocchi, which constitute its main ingredient and give it an unusual and spicy taste. It consists of a mixture composed only of water and sugar boiled until obtaining a thick syrup, in which a quantity of pine nuts almost equivalent to that of sugar is immersed. On half of the dough, from which many small diamonds will then be drawn, cocoa is added, useful to dampen the excessive sweet taste and also to diversify these products, then wrapped in pairs: one white and the other black.

The contrast between the two colors seems to evoke medieval decorative taste when very distant colors were approached, a taste found in architecture, decorative arts, but also in coats of arms, shields, banners, and banners (not to mention games – from checkers to chess – and city factions like whites and blacks). The packaging with which the sweet is presented seems to refer to the same medieval and Renaissance world: wrapped in paper as if it were a large candy, it is similar to those “throwing sweets” that were actually thrown during mock battles between knights and in tournaments of the feasts of those distant times.

 

Your Christmas in Umbria

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