Friday, 19 August, 2011 17:09

Our Final Few Days In Montone

What A Week …
This really has been an amazing week and one that will go down as a lifetime experience. The festival, interaction with friends and the Montone community as well as the food and wines have all been highlights. We learnt very early in the week that to survive you needed to have the afternoon siesta just like the locals as the piazza is still alive and buzzing at 2:00 AM.

Further Afield …
On Thursday we decided to venture out of the village and return to two of our favourite places in Umbria. The village of Corciano and Castiglione del Largo. If you are travelling in Umbria then these are two places that should not be missed.

Corciano is a mountain top village similar to Montone. It is a beautifully preserved village similar to Montone but much quieter. In 1416 the condottiero Braccio Fortebraccio of Montone laid siege on Corciano so there is some history between the two villages. Above and below this text are photos from Corciano.

Castiglione del Largo
Situated on Lake Tresimeno this is another fortified village but unlike Corciano it has catered well for tourists with restuarants, shops and great views over the lake. We stayed their back in about 1998 and have returned many times since.

There are a number of alimentari (delicatessens) that sell local produce such as herbs & spices, sausages and preserved meats, local wines and a host of other goods. Each store has samples for tasting and some will make you up an antipasta plate for lunch with a local glass of wine.

A Truffle Experience …
On Thursday night we were lucky enough to be invited to a local farm to go truffle hunting. A truffle is part of the mushroom family and the black truffles that we were collecting grow about 10 cm below the surface and are located by a dog that has been addicted to the smell of the truffle. Black truffles sell for around €1000/kg in markets.

We were then given a tour of the farm to inspect Sergio’s (the owner) wine making facility and meat curing. Very interesting.

Dinner Followed …
Following the truffle hunt we enjoyed dinner at the farm sampling farm grown and local produce, wines and of course truffles. Another unique experience.

Porta del Borgo Historical Play …
Set in the courtyard of the Church of Saint Francis this medieval play was a highlight for us and I have included in the video below some excerpts.

We Need A Quiet Day …
Friday was a quiet day with a quick trip to Citta de Castello for some shopping and then lunch with our friend Carlo along with Luke and Allison, Bevan and Jill. We had dinner at Bevan and Jill’s that evening and to finish off a medieval play put on by the Porta del Monte quarter. It was really nice to slow down for the day and catch our breath.

Further Afield Again…
On Saturday we decided on another short day trip to another medieval village called Anghiari (pronounced Anyaree) about 40 km north of Montone and close to Sansepolcro. This village perched high on a hilltop is secured by massive walls to fortify the village from invaders. It is more rustic than Montone but has a real charm. It has a few small tourist shops, restaurants, a museum and boasts some of the best coffee in Umbria at the Giardini del Vicario Caffe. Well worth a visit if you are travelling this part of Italy.

Another Highlight …
Saturday night turned out to be another highlight of our trip and this was to a restaurant in Umbertide, 10 km from Montone, called Ristorante Pomorancio. This restaurant would be equally at home in any city in the world with magnificent decor, a fabulous garden setting for outdoor eating and located right on the river. We were served an absolute feast of seafood accompanied with fine french champagne and Italian wines.

The Festival Parade
Sunday signaled the end of the festival and for us the end of a memorable week in Montone. The finale was a grand parade through the streets of the village by hundreds of villagers dressed in medieval costumes followed by the Sansepolcro Flag Throwing troupe.

We had our final meal in one of the medieval taverns set up for the festival and bid goodbye to our many friends in the village.

Click on the video below to be redirected to Youtube to see a short video highlight of our last few days.

YouTube Video

As I finish this post, Liz and I are sitting in the Business Lounge at Bologna Airport awaiting our flight to Seville in Spain.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Montone, Italy

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