As with enywhere in Italy, you can be assured of good food and wine in Umbria. Here the cuisine is strongly tied to the land and traditions of the past. Recipes have been hand down from generation to generation, dishes reflect what can be grown very locally and there is still a great deal of pride taken in the local produce.

Umbria´s gentle climate, its green, fertile valleys (which are protected by the mountains´ shadows from becoming too dry) and the numerous forests and rivers provide the backdrop for some delicious food and wine.



The king fo Umbria cuisine is the pig and the best place to buy any meat in Umbria is in and arpound Norcia.

Techniques and skills on how to process and prepare the meat have been handed down  for generation of butchers in Norcia. In fact  the butchers of Norcia are so skilled that pork butchers  all over Italy are now known as "norcini".

Try the Norcia "Prosciutto crudo" which contains little salt. The high altitude and fresh mountain air of the area are ideal for curing "prosciutto". Try it on its owns with bread!

There is a huge variety of meats available as wekk as meat dishes on the menus but the most famous, and probably the most delisious dish, is "porchetta".

"Porchetta" is pork stuffed with wild fennel, rosemary, garlic, black pepper, which is then roasted on a spit.

Bet served in a sandwich ("panino con porchetta") and even more delicious when eated in the open air.

At the markets and on the sides of the roads, you will come across "porchetta trucks", white vans designed for this purpose.

If you see a long line of people by the van, stop and join the queue. It will be fantastic!



Despite it being a landlocked region, fish dishes feature heavily on the menu thanks to many rivers and , of course, Lake Trasimeno, providing a variety of freshwater fish.

You will come across trout, perch and pike, freshwater shrimp from the springs near Clitunno, as well as eel, carp from the lake ("carpa regina")  and "Tegamaccio", a freshwater fish soup.

There is also a fish "porchetta": "Carpa in porchetta" which is stuffed with wild fennel, pancetta and onion, roasted over a wood fire.

Once upon a time, people were allowed to pay their taxes in fish! And we are sure theu would be happy to do so now, although we are glad they don´t, so we can carry on enjoining the delicious dishes.



Pasta is a staple part of a diet and appears on every menu. Look out for "strangozzi", long narrow flat strands of egg based pasta, and "Umbricelli", long thick round handmade fresh noodles made from flour and water, both of which are indigenous to Umbria. Served with simple, often vegetable based sauces.


Bread tends to be saltless. You may come across "Torta al testo", a very thin, flat round griddle bread, which is either for the table or as a wrap, stuffed with a variety of fillings.



Since the 13th Century, the town of Città della Pieve has been crowing saffron. The town was once an important centre for the production of textiles and the saffron was used to dye the fabrics.

The rich soils of the Umbrian forests and the favorable climate provide the perfect home for truffles or ´edible gold´ as they are sometimes known.

Black truffles come from the Norcia and Spoleto areas, whilst white truffles are found in the upper Tiber Valley, Orvieto and the Gubbio/Gualdo areas.

Truffles have a strong pungent flavour but are certainly worth trying in pasta dishes and on meat.



Saved from the brink of extinction a few years ago, this small lentil is grown around the  shores of Lake Trasimeno. White, brown, black or salmon coloured, it is small and delicate with a grassy flavour.

You will also come across the lentils from the Castelluccio plain, high up in the Sibillini mountains.

They are renowned for their tiny size and flavour and are exported all over  the worls.



Umbrian cheeses are made from milk, which comes mainly from the cows and sheep who live in this green region.

Try "Caciotta", a cheese made from a combination of cow and sheep milk.

Or the Umbrian "Pecorino", different to the Tuscan version, as its flavour is influenced by the mountain pastures on which the sheep graze.



Try "Torciglione", which is very sweet, made from ground almonds, sugar and egg, and is in the shape of a serpent (or, as some say, the eel of the lake).

According to tradition, it must be cut from tail ent to head. It is prepared during Christmas.

In many of the "pasticcerie" especially in Perugia, you will see "Ciaramicola", a cake associated with Easter.

Once upon a time, it was also the cake young girls used to make for their sweethearts whilst nowadays, people eat it for breakfast (whether your girlsfriend has made it or not!).

There seem to be two descriptions for the cake, depending on what you read:

- it tastes similar to shortcake and is shaped like a doughnut with 2 strips of dough laid over it in a form of a cross. In Perugia, they often place 5 balls of dough on the top to represent the 5 gates of the city.

- cake covered with a thick, sweet white icing, topped with coloured decorations. The sponge is pink. Teh colours pink and white are Perugia´s colours whilst the coloured sprinkles (yellow, green and blue) represent the countryside, the mountains and the lake.

When you are in Perugia you cannot miss to visit "Museo del cioccolato Perugina" and taste fresh "Baci", small, hazelnut filled, chocolates wrapped in silver foil containing love messages or proverbs in 4 languages.

"Baci" means ´kisses´: they are delicious and famous all over the world!



 Umbria is one fo Italy´s major producers of the olive oil and is the only region to have the DOP (Protected Origin Denomination) certificate applied to the whole area.

90% of the oil produced is extra virgin, the highest percentage in all of Italy. It has a clear, clean fruity flavour.

If you are visiting either Torgiano or Trevi, have a wander around the museums there (Torgiano- "Museo del Vino"    Trevi "Museo dell´Olio") that are dedicated to the olive tree and its oil.



As with the neighbouring Tuscany, Umbria boasts some fine, quaffable wines to suit all budgets and tastes.

The most prestigious wines, which have the special status of DOCG are the red "Torgiano rosso riserva" and the "SAgrantino" from Montefalco.

End of May takes place the event "Cantine Aperte" all over Umbria: you may taste and buy the best local wine productions.

Keep an eye out for the DOC wines, of which there are 11 areas in Umbria that have this status: Assisi, Colli Altotiberini (High Tiber Valley area), Colli Amerini (Amelia area), Colli del Trasimeno (Lake Trasimeno area), Colli Martani (Bevagna and Montefalco area),  Colli Perugini (Perugia area), Torgiano, Lago di Corbara (Lake Corbara), Orvieto,  Rosso Orvietano.

Probably the most famous Umbrian wine is the white from Orvieto "Bianco di Orvieto" or "Orvieto Classico"

This area has been home to vineyards since the Etruscan and Roman times. It has also been said that there had to be an unlimeted supply of the wine for the artist Pinturicchio as he painted the frescos in Duomo di Orvieto.

If you wish to learn more about Umbrian wines or to have some indication of the best places to taste and  buy them, visit  the "Strade del Vino",  the wine routes of the area: along the route there are the various wineries whe

you can stop.