Umbria Abruzzo tips
My fiancé and I are planning our honeymoon in central Italy and were hoping for some tips. We are spending three nights around Perugia and 2 nights in Vasto. We'll have a car and want to find some out of the way, delicious food. We are adventurous and will try anything.
We'd also like to visit a few wineries in the region, if there are any tips regarding that.
Looking forward to hearing any thoughts on the area, and resources would be much appreciated as well!
In the center of Perugia, I highly recommend Osteria a Priori - they are kind of like an enoteca/market and they only use Umbrian products in their offerings - you can go in for a full meal or just snacks as they are open even during the pausa!
Just outside Perugia, in Torgiano, I love "da Marisa" - it is an ugly little trattoria ;-) with Amazing food cooked by an 80 year old nonna - not many people know about this place - definitely worth the trip. Also in the area of Torgiano is the Terre Margaritelli winery (organic) - probably one of the closest wineries to Perugia.
You should definitely explore the areas of Bevagna and Montefalco as well for great restaurants and great wineries. Some of my favorite wineries in that area are DiFilippo (Cannara), Antano (Bevagna/Montefalco), Arnaldo Caprai, and Scacciadiavoli (Montefalco). Here is a link to some of my favorite restaurants in the area: http://www.lifeitalianstyle.com/where...
In Abruzzo, the town of Sulmona is an off the tourist track great place,(the home of confetti!), and a Roman aquaduct runs right through the middle of town; there are several very good restaurants, our favorite, that is always consistently excellent for local products i.e. Ventricina a local sausage made with pork fennel and orange peel, available only in the region is housemade! Locanda di Gino does not disappoint!!
Here's a website page to get you started on the wine trail: http://goitaly.about.com/od/umbria/qt... We spent a very nice afternoon at the Caprai Vineyard when we were there. However, before you go, you might want to pick up a bottle of Sagrantino to sample... its the predominant wine in Umbria and its high alcohol/high acidity; not for everyone. There are also a number of olive groves in the area, especially around the city of Todi, and you should try to do a tour & tasting at one of them. Of course, the Perugina chocolate factory also gives tours (with lots of samples) and is worth a visit as well.
As for food, check out Eliz. Minchilli's blog (& posts here on CH). Although she's mainly writing about Rome, she writes about the Todi area in Umbria... we went to a couple of great out of the way restaurants by following her posts.
3 nights around Perugia gives you 2 full days to explore so you will need some careful planning. I agree with Jennifer that Umbra's best and more accessible destination for wine is Montefalco. If you go there for wine tasting, I highly recommend Osteria del Teatro in Foligno. Despite the slightly formal look of the place, the cuisine is home-style and very much based on high quality ingredients. The menu is fixed (approx 30 € per pers with drinks).
For your second day I would suggest the maginificent drive to Piano Grande di Castelluccio, with lunch at Da Richetta in Visso, a snack of pecorino at Castelluccio and all the salami you can have in Norcia, Umbria's cured pork mecca.
You can check a few suggestions for sightseeing and for good simple restaurants in the link below my signatue under "visit Umbria"
Of course, you must visit Montefalco. Sagrantino is one of the great Italian wines. The Arnaldo Caprai winery is between Montefalco and Bevagna and is worth the trip. Its a big place with a restaurant and a large tasting setup. Also at the edge of Bevagna is the Paolo Bea winery. Much smaller and less formal, but equally fine product.
For dining, I recommend l'Alchamista (sp?) on the corner of the main square in Montefalco. You enter a little store and go down the stairs to the basement. Local food constructed with care.
Nearby, atop the town of Spello, is la Bastilla, a high style hotel with an adventurous kitchen. Plenty of parking.
Further south on the way to Spoleto and just south of the hilltop town of Trevi is Taverna del Pescatore. Its just off the road and there is one small sign. Turn into the gravel parking lot. The restaurant is on a little creek replete with rapids and swans. Lunch under the big awning can be memorable.
And, finally, in the center of Bevagna is Enoteca Piazza Onofri, an old local favorite worth visiting.