From October 19 to 28, Perugia will host the Eurochocolate
By Chiara Severini
Umbria is a small Italian region located in the heart of the peninsula. It isn’t bathed by the sea, but Lake Trasimeno makes up for this lack, representing an attraction for bathers and gourmets who want to eat fresh fish.
The area then, may not be known for its coasts, but has many other things to offer. One of these is an event dedicated to chocolate pleasing every year dessert lovers: from October 19 to 28, Perugia will host the so called Eurochocolate. The center of the regional capital will be invaded by stands showing and selling chocolate in multiple forms.
You will be able to eat, participate in contests, special events and have a good time while walking through the streets of a beautiful medieval town. During the days of Eurochocolate it is also possible to book a visit to the House of Perugina Chocolate, where you will find out more about the history of chocolate in Italy and Perugina, a chocolate company founded in Perugia in 1907 producing, among other things, a series of chocolates filled with hazelnut called Baci Perugina, “kisses” that come with a love message wrapped around them.
You don’t like chocolate? Don’t worry: Umbria is also a producer of lentils (Colfiorito), truffles and a variety of hams, cured meats and cheeses (Norcia). These last you can eat, if you like, in an Umbrian flat bread cooked under the cinders of the oven, which is called torta al testo.
And if you’re not interested in regional cuisines, here as follows are a few things that may intrigue you and make you want to visit Umbria in the future.
Green landscapes and enchanting towns and villages
Umbria is a region of nature, landscapes and uncontaminated villages and towns.
Castelluccio di Norcia is a special place for nature lovers and photographers. Although hard hit by the earthquake of 2016, it is a natural beauty that kept its charm intact. Each year it is possible to admire its “fioritura”: the green valley surrounded by the Apennines blooms in different colours, creating a unique sight. On the slope of one of the mountains, you can also admire a wood in the shape of the Italian peninsula, which was planted in 1961 to commemorate the first centenary of the unification of Italy.
When it comes to human settlements, Umbria has many charming mediaeval villages and towns lying gently upon its hills, with narrow alleys, ancient churches and palaces. To give one example, we can mention Assisi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, honor earned due to its history and its undeniable beauties: the Basilica of San Francesco, one of the many churches in town, contains frescos by Giotto, Cimabue and therefore is an exceptional display of the Italian art of the XIV century.
Culture and history
I have mentioned Assisi, which is the hometown of San Francesco d’Assisi (St. Francis of Assisi), founder of the Franciscan Order and Patron Saint of Italy. Also Santa Chiara d’Assisi (Saint Clare of Assisi), follower of San Francesco, is a well known name, having founded the Order of Saint Clare or Poor Clares; San Valentino, the famous St. Valentine, was born in Terni, another Umbrian town; San Benedetto (St. Benedict), who founded the Order that takes his name is from Norcia; Santa Rita (Saint Rita) died in Cascia. Having been the home of so many saints, Umbria is a place of great pilgrimage.
Having talked about religious figures, I can’t help but mention Don Matteo, a famous Italian TV series starring Terence Hill and set in Umbria, more precisely in Gubbio and Spoleto.
Here’s another fun fact for you: does the name Narni ring a bell? This Umbrian town, called Narnia in Roman times, seems to have been the inspiration for The Chronicles of Narnia. Apparently, C.S. Lewis has never visited it, but he was passionate about Roman history and he had come to know it through a Latin atlas that he owned.
The region is also the natural set of many historical re-enactments: you can find one in Foligno (Giostra delle Quintana), Perugia (Perugia 1416), Bevagna (Il Mercato delle Gaite), Montefalco (Fuga del Bove), Assisi (Calendimaggio), Gubbio (Palio della Balestra), Narni (Corsa all’Anello), Todi (Disfida di San Fortunato), Montone (Donazione della Santa Spina), just to name some.
Lastly, Umbria also hosts important international festivals: during the summer there are Umbria Jazz (Perugia) and Spoleto Festival dei 2 Mondi (Spoleto), which revolve around music and theatre.
Albeit not as known as Tuscany, as you might have understood, Umbria is a little jewel at the very heart of Italy that undoubtedly deserves a visit. Eurochocolate does seem like a sweet occasion.