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added about 1 year ago

You’re going to be in a lovely area with so much to see. If you haven’t read "A Thousand Days in Tuscany” and “The Lady in the Palazzo” by Marlena de Blasi, I would suggest starting with them. You’ll get lots of ideas from those books. Perugia has lots to see, but I would recommend Orvieto, Todi, Spoletto, Gubbio, and Urbino as destinations. Have a look at Slow Food Italy’s website--they should have some good info on special foods. And for restaurants, ask locals and Google ‘slow food restaurant Orvieto’, etc., for recommendations. It’s been several years since I’ve been to these towns, and I am never sure if a restaurant I thought was a real gem has maintained its standards.

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 1 year ago

Urbino is actually in the Marches but it is a beautiful town, perhaps a two hour drive from Perugia. One caution about driving in and out of Perugia is that directional signage is beyond ridiculous and confusing.

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added about 1 year ago

I was in Umbria several years ago and one of the best meals eaten was at La Taverna in Perugia. Great food, atmosphere, and wine list.

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 1 year ago

I absolutely love Umbria and Gubbio in particular. October is the best time to visit because there are all sorts of celebrations of the "produtti del bosco" such as truffles and wild boar. For dining in Gubbio I would suggest Taverna del Lupo as well as the local salumi. In Gubbio they also have this very cool funicular, basically a basket which can hold at most two people. Breathtaking views, and when you get to the top there is a small bar and restaurant.
From Perugia you see across the valley to Assisi and vice versa. I agree with you about not trying to see five towns a day.
Again, Gubbio is my favorite but for something a bit out of the way I also like Gualdo Tadino, a very scenic drive with a compact and pretty centro.

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Gabriella Paiella

Gabriella is a PR & Audience Development Director at Food52.

added about 1 year ago

I lived in Perugia for six months writing up my thesis on food culture (I know, my life is hard). If you'll be in the city, you must stop for dinner at the Osteria del Tempo Perso. It's tucked away on Via Piacevole, right off Corso Garibaldi - good luck finding it as it's somewhat of a local secret. Dinner will take 3-4 hours but it's worth it. Also, truffles are so so so affordable in Umbria so stock up. Make sure to try pasta alla norcina con tartufo.

Dsc_0048b
added about 1 year ago

We stayed near Todi one trip and loved Orvieto. It's a real town with butcher shop, vegetable market, etc. The local wine is wonderful and you can tour wineries around the outside of the city. There is a central walking district so you do have to carry your packages around. You can either park at the bottom and take a funicular up or park a little further up and walk. Lovely pottery shops as well. It's a beautiful city with real sights to see: fantastic duomo and an underground tour. Todi is much less scenic, and was close to our base so that's where we got our daily gelato, pizza, etc. Gubbio was worth a visit but do some research ahead to figure out the best of the handmade pottery shops to visit. We saw some real artists at work, but only came home with one small dish as the good stuff is rather expensive (but probably worth it!). Truffles are the regional specialty and you'll find them in many of the gourmet shops. We just went to whichever local town had the outdoor market that day, and whatever looked good, that's what we made. I remember making pappa al pomodoro (check out em-i-lis' recipe on this site) and a ragu with shaved truffle on top. We did not eat out much as we cooked, but I had the slow food guide "Osterie e Locande d'Italia" and we used that for lunches out. Have a great time!

Dsc_0048b
added about 1 year ago

forgot to mention Assisi and Spello. Spello is a smaller town, but very scenic and the church of San Francisco d'Assisi is a must see. Also, if you're going in summer, it is likely to be very hot there.

Dsc_0048b
added about 1 year ago

and, if this is of any help to you, we did visit lots of towns in the week we were there, but that was generally in the mornings, and then we left plenty of time to sit by the pool, cook dinner and enjoy cocktails and dinner out side all afternoon and evening.

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 1 year ago

No one's mentioned Deruta, the home of the famous and stunning pottery.

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 1 year ago

If you are shopping for artisan ceramics Deruta is worth a visit. Otherwise it's a pretty damn boring place. I should add that Umbria is my favorite region in Italy. It resembles Tuscany but with a slightly wilder edge. There is some overlap in the cooking styles, for example the tradition of saltless bread. One of the images associated with the ceramics of Umbria (Perugia, Deruta, Gubbio et.al.) is "il Grifone", the Griffon. Most often in a red and grey pattern.

Bigpan
added about 1 year ago

Try to find a local restaurant that serves beef-cheeks. With a local pasta you will land in heaven. Get out of the tourist zone and find a local place where they speak very little english. THEN you are eating Italian.

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added about 1 year ago

I just came across this on NPR's website:
http://www.npr.org/2013...

Dsc_0048b
added about 1 year ago

there wonderful linens in that area too. I had bought some hand towels several years ago and then just bought some dish towels (50% linen/50% cotton which is perfect for drying dishes and glasses - soft but no lint!) made in Todi while in Florence recently.