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THE VERY ESSENCE OF UMBRIA

Our outing yesterday to attend the Mangiaunta Festival in and around Giano dell'Umbria took us to the very heart of Umbria, to what I describe as the very essence of Umbria: country roads through patchwork cultivations of vineyards, olive groves, secular oaks, wineries, olive mills, Romanesque art treasures...and the genuine, personal, human touch which shines through in so many ways.

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the serenity, timeless, pristine and unspoiled beauty of the Umbria countryside

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the timeless tradition of olive pressing - of extra virgin olive oil

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enjoying typical food (Trevi black celery, home-grown carrots, bruschette and chick peas) all dressed in the new oil used directly from the press in all its strong, fruity flavor

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"toasting" the crusty Italian bread over the hot coals before drenching it in the oil directly from the press

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visiting the granite presses with the "fiscoli" of one of the frantoi (mills)

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Pieve San Gregorio Magno

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As we left the last of the four frantoi, just outside of Castel Ritaldi, we stumbled upon this Pieve of San Gregorio Magno from the year 1000 with outstanding stone work on the façade. A lovely woman who was walking her dog willing and graciously explained its history to me and told me that on August 1 there is the annual procession and mass inside the pieve, a way to be able to visit it. I have marked the date on my calendar for next year.

We also stopped in the piazza of Castel Ritaldi in a small grocery bottega. Seven years ago I had purchased a homemade crescionta (Spoleto dialect). Telling the owner that I had never forgotten how delicious it was, she asked me to wait a moment until she finished serving a customer. She closed the shop, simply hanging "Be Back Soon" on the door, offered me coffee at the bar next door and proceeded to tell me it was her mother's recipe as she dictated it to me, explaining all the fine points as she went along!!!!!!!!

So...truly the very essence of Umbria: country roads through the pristine landscape of patchwork cultivations of vineyards, olive groves, secular oaks, wineries, olive mills, Romanesque art treasures...and the genuine, personal, human touch which shines through in so many ways.


Comments (3)

What a wonderful day! I want some of that oil...

Donna in SF:

Wonderful post, Mary, and beautiful photos as well. That last story of the lady in the grocery was so lovely.

sandrac:

Such beautiful photos...and the oil must be magnificent!

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