Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sting at Umbria Jazz 2012

Sting will be closing the 2012 edition of Umbria Jazz, the Italian jazz event that since 1973 has grown big time to become an international event of great resonance. It includes world famous artists and allows local jazz emerging bands on the stage.

This is an extract of the official Umbria Jazz website page dedicated to the "Back to Bass" tour concert that will close the event on July 15 2012.

"Back to Bass finds Sting performing songs spanning his dynamic and enduring solo career, from his 1985 debut The Dream Of The Blue Turtles to his latest release, Live in Berlin, plus a selection of The Police's greatest hits. Highlights include the Grammy® winners "Brand New Day" and "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" plus fan-favorites "Englishman In New York," "Desert Rose" and "Roxanne." Sting will be joined by a band including his longtime guitarist Dominic Miller, David Sancious (keyboards), Vinnie Colaiuta (drummer), Peter Tickell (electric fiddle), and Jo Lawry(vocalist)." Taken from STING AT UMBRIA JAZZ 12, JULY 15

The 5th day at Umbria Jazz 2012 in video

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Learn to Cook in Umbria

Do you want to learn how to prepare delicious Italian food while vacationing in wonderful Umbria?

Here is the pricing for the classes available Mon-Sat April 16-21st 2012

Class pricing is at 75 Euros per class per person and 2 classes are priced at 125 Euros per person as a special. It must be booked and paid for in advance. Each class includes lunch or dinner after class and delicious wines.

What a nice gift for someone or a foodie fiend!

For those wishing to cook the whole week and drive in/out each day a great rate of 395 Euros per person for all the classes is available.

Keep on reading for the daily program including 6 workshops!

Book or request more info with Nikki at or on Twitter @nikileeks

Workshop 1 Cheese making, ricotta, pecorino and mozzarella class, charcuterie lunch served with regional olive oils, cheeses and Umbrian specialties as well as wines from Campania monday 16th 10-2.30p

Workshop 2 Out door class, whole roast of lamb on a spit accompanied by local vegetables and genuine ingredients to support a great evening al fresco. wines from Tiburzzi 5p-9p includes class and dinner Monday 16th

More workshops below..

Workshop 3 After an early market shop this will be a late morning class. Cooking with fresh finds at Umbertide mkt. and wines from the Veneto. Lunch included. Probably fish or shellfish included in this one, Wednesday 18th April 11.30-3pm

Workshop 4 Bastianich sommelier will explain the complex collection of wines and lunch will be included. Friday 20th 10a-2.30pm

The last two workshops right after this yummy picture...

Workshop 5 The cooking class later this day is a wine and food pairing by chef Schwartz and Bastianich 4pm-9pm dinner is included friday 20th 4.30p-9p

Workshop 6 Truffle hunt and tartuffi cookery class 9a-3pm saturday 21st april lunch included 9a-3p

Again, for more info ask Nikki at or on Twitter @nikileeks

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Arts and Crafts of Umbria, a Long Thriving Tradition

The past still lives in Umbria's arts and crafts. With all due technological adjustments, craftsmanship has been able to maintain uses and traditions through the centuries. The roots of many Umbrian daily activities delve into this tradition. To trace their origins one has to look back as far as the middle ages, although the Renaissance centuries saw the real flourishing of highly skilled artisans and their arts.

It is in these years that Deruta's ceramics and the majolica of Gubbio and Gualdo Tadino become famous, while the production of wrought iron in Città della Pieve, Gubbio, Assisi, Cascia, Magione and Montone is intensified. The fabrics of Perugia gain renown and prestige, even for the tablecloths and lace of Orvieto. The embroidery and wood incisions of Assisi and Città di Castello have the same fame and value for their accurate manufacturing. Ceramics, pottery, weaving, embroidery, wrought iron, and wood are expressions of art that in time have created the artistic and material culture of Umbria. All these artistic crafts can be found applied in traditional homes, especially rural houses such as Umbria villas, so charming and welcoming for your holidays.

The ceramics of Deruta
In Deruta the art of ceramics has been handed down since the Etruscans. Today's production continues an art that began with precious archaic medieval pottery. It established itself during the Renaissance, when Italian and foreign noblemen commissioned dishes, cups and glasses with beautiful iridescent, golden and reddish colors to craft shops. Pinturicchio and Perugino's fresoes were also an inspiration that contributed to the success of the production of Deruta.

The majolica of Gubbio, Gualdo Tadino, and Città di Castello
The production of Gualdo Tadino is prestigious. Ceramic objects in Gualdo were already in place during the Fourteenth century, as it is mentioned in the Gubbio reforms. The production of pottery, especially white majolica, continues to grow without interruption and without major hiccups throughout the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries up to the high standards of today.

Fabrics production
The production of fabrics is practiced in Umbria since the Twelfth century. The processing of these fabrics in time became famous all over Italy and throughout Europe. It is inspired by Middle Eastern culture and is expressed with geometric motifs and decorations, human figures, animals and augural phrases. Today's revival of Medieval and Renaissance techniques and models resulted in the resumption of manual weaving. There still are craftsmen using ancient wooden looms, respecting the tradition in technical, design, and color. Today there are factories that have centuries of history and are on the market with a rich and handicraft production of high value.

Wrought iron
Wrought iron production is a specialized craft typical of rural culture. The major production centers are in Assisi, Citta della Pieve, and Gubbio. The latter is Umbria's capital for this production, and it excels in the repruduction of ancient models of weaponry. Cascia was specialized in the production of grippers for hosts. Norcia in the Sixteenth century was dedicated to the production of surgical instruments, Villamagina in files and rasps, while Magione was devoted to copper processing.

The art of carving and woodworking
Woodwork has a long lasting tradition in Umbria. The manufacture of everyday objects and the art of carving is born in the countryside. It is often expressed in the decoration of churches and palaces; throughout the Renaissance and the Baroque periods these are the two ways in which this ancient and lively art is applied in Umbria. Nowadays Citta di Castello and Gubbio have small industries of furniture, restoration workshops and antique shops. Todi includes carvers, furniture makers, sculptors, restorers, craftsmen, manufacturers of furniture and numerous antique shops; Assisi and Perugia boast restorers and antique dealers.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Genuine Umbrian Cooking Experience...With Chef Michael Schwartz

This is an exciting opportunity to participate into a week’s worth of culinary workshops, wine classes, tastings and full on immersion in all tasty things Umbrian.

We’ve all heard the term working vacation and maybe even "heaven on earth", well here are them both combined for your absolute indulgence in all things delicious. Perhaps this spring, you can grab a friend, cos why keep this one to yourself? Hop to Italy on a gastronomic treat for body and soul!

Miami's James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz will present just such a week in Umbria, cooking, teaching and feasting on the finest ingredients prepared the genuine way - fresh, simple and pure. Escorted market trips, yoga classes and poolside massages are just some of the treats in store.

Caimeli will be the refuge for your culinary, yoga, and relaxing vacation. It is a 40-acre former tobacco farm and now olive plantation, situated in the Umbrian Mountains amidst stellar blue skies and lush greenery. As you immerse yourself in the dolce vita, enjoy guided trips to the neighboring village markets, vineyards for tastings and a pottery school to make your very own plate, pot or whatever you fancy.

Your week’s itinerary will include daily homemade breakfasts and 2hr workshops on wine, cheeses as well as cooking classes of around 10-12 fellow guests from around the globe. Chef Schwartz will show you how to prepare food from the region and his best selling cookbook, Michaels Genuine Food "down to earth cooking, for people who love to eat" using Caimeli's locally produced olive oil and its own garden vegetables, with well sourced fish and regional meats.

Both, the main villa and the Casale have wonderful views of the olive groves and the unspoiled serene valley. This genuine experience takes place in Umbertide from April 15th to the 22nd of 2012 and requires advance booking and payment. You can request information on flights in and out of Rome or Florence and transportation to and from Caimeli is included.

To inquire about Genuine Umbria, including full itinerary, amenities offered in each package, or to secure your spot now, please contact Caimeli's USA representative Nikki Mallon at , and for a quick preview on the full package click here

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Epiphany in Umbria

First of all Happy New Year to all readers of Travel Umbria! Hoping that 2012 will be a great year for all, let's start with an event in January, one that closes the Christmas period and celebrates one of the most famous "old ladies" in the world, the Befana.

I am talking about Epiphany, which in Umbria is a very important local tradition event. Epiphany is celebrated in all corners of the region, from small village to large cities; Here is offered a brief review of the events tied to Epiphany in Umbria in 2012.

Epiphany on Trasimeno Lake
Let's start with Lake Trasimeno that for Christmas 2011 hosted the event "Christmas Island" set in the picturesque scenery of the Polvese island. The event began on December 17 and closes its doors on January 6 with the Epiphany celebrations.
During Epiphany day the calendar of events ranges from Circobus to the concert of the Philharmonic Society of Mugnano, finishing in style with fireworks over the lake. During the day you can visit the Nativity scene of the area and taste the typical products of craft markets and receive gifts directly from the Befana!

Epiphany in Assisi
In Assisi, more precisely in Rivotorto of Assisi on January 6 all visitors are invited to turn their eyes to the sky. They will assist to the descent of the Epiphany. The nice old woman will be equipped with a paraglider, and after launching from Mount Subasio she will land in Rivotorto to bring gifts to children. The event is called "La Befana comes down from heaven".
The day will be scheduled following this program:
from 8 am to 8 pm - Exhibition of the Epiphany in the streets of the village with tasting of typical products
3 pm - descent of the Befana with gifts for all children;
5 pm - Catholic Mass

Epiphany in Valnerina
Celebrations of Epiphany in Valnerina binds to the so-called "Pasquarelle". The term indicates the typical Easter songs, that the tradition relates to the Annunciation to the peoples of the Child Jesus by the Wise Kings.
The night between January 5th and 6th, pasquarellanti (or pasquarellari depending on the area) begin their journey along the streets of town, knocking on house doors to announce the Epiphany through folk songs (the so-called Pasquarelle) newly composed every year in occasion of the event; pasquarellanti are then thanked by families with good wishes, greetings and gifts that consist of foods, sweets and sometimes money.

The tradition of Pasquarelle on January 6 is held at:
Norcia: one of the most exciting events in the area with the participation of children and adults;
Scheggino: Some young Scheggino goes through the streets of the village on a cart pulled by a donkey singing the "Pasquarelle" along various musical instruments;
Cerreto di Spoleto;
Vallo di Nera;

In addition to the tradition of the Valnerina Pasquarelle Epiphany greets 2012 with the appointment "Befana comes from the River" held on January 6 at 5 pm at the Canoe Center of Arrone.
The event is organized with the participation of local paddlers of kayaks and canoes that will accompany the Befana along the River Nera up to Arrone. There she will distribute stockings filled with gifts for children.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Markets in Foligno

This Christmas 2011 in Foligno the appointment with the Christmas Market in the city center will be renewed. So what are you waiting for? Come and visit this beautiful Umbrian city! You will find the Christmas markets of Foligno, and events related to the ongoing Christmas holidays in Foligno.

The Christmas markets have become a tradition in Foligno. The city is transformed during the Christmas period: small squares reveal unexpected lighting effects, Christmas music inundates the streets, Christmas choirs, the little market of dreams, music bands, and happy bands are the usual appointments of this time of the year.

The various events and happenings are aimed at livening up the historic center, focusing on its vitality, including shops and other commercial activities, while leaving behind other initiatives such as streets parties and celebrations for New Year's Eve.
Moreover, the attention that is reserved to children has been emphasized with many initiatives dedicated to them, and it must be said that the new featured activities are quite many.

The city of Foligno is located at the heart of the Umbrian Valley, a vast plain crossed by the river Topino, partly surrounded by rolling hills and partly by the highest mountains of the Apennines.
The town has always been a center of economic and cultural exchanges. Foligno is now a modern industrial city, but still retains a beautiful old town center full of monuments and works of art.
The heart of the city is represented by the Piazza della Repubblica, where buildings are of high artistic value.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Market in Massa Martana

The traditional Christmas Market in Massa Martana is back. This is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy situated in the southern Umbria and nestled at the foot of the Monti Martani. The historic center of town will host the traditional wooden houses with exhibitors offering a wide variety of gifts and gift ideas, arts and crafts products including ceramic and olive wood, embroidery, crochet, decoupage, decorated, knitwear and handmade jewelry, works of local painters and sculptors and wooden toys.

Do not miss the Christmas decorations and typical Umbrian food and wine: wine, oil, cheese, cured meats, vegetables, honey, the delicious Nociata made with soft and sweet nougat and cleverly packaged in bay leaves.

The program of events for children and adults with initiatives for the entire duration of the event looks even richer this year. Children can not miss the home of Santa Claus with gifts, treats and surprises. Christmas-themed music, street tours with music bands and marching band shows, clowning, stilt walkers, jugglers and pipers. On Sunday there will be the grand finale concert with the Choir of the University of Perugia. All these things can make the magic of Christmas even more vivid with colors, lights, sounds and scents in one of the jewel cities of Umbria.

This is an opportunity to discover Massa Martana completely restored after the earthquake of 1997. The old town, enriched by architectural constructions of the Sixteenth and Eighteenth centuries, is located inside the castle walls. The front door is well preserved, decorated with carved stones and the emblem of the city. The Church of San Felice is noteworthy and it was dedicated to the patron saint of town. The Church of San Sebastian, with a valuable painting from 1595 depicting a "Madonna and Child", and the 16th century Town Hall are also notable. Just outside the center is the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Church of Santa Maria della Pace, with the outside is completely covered with travertine.

Nearby Massa Martana there are many churches that represent a unique heritage including the Church of Santa Maria in Pantano, one of the oldest and most interesting religious buildings in Umbria and the Abbey of San Faustino, built on the ruins of a Roman villa.
The Roman presence is evidenced by the Fonnaia Bridge, built in 220 BC along the route of the Via Flaminia. Near the bridge are the Christian catacombs, alone in Umbria and including more than 300 niches.
To enjoy the environmental resources of the area you can walk the Martani hiking paths, which are equipped nature trails developing on the Monti Martani.