Enchanted villages perched on hills, with medieval-style houses and cobbled streets, landscapes suspended in time and artistic masterpieces wherever you look. Umbria is a fascinating region, very rich in history and places of cultural interest, in which vast natural spaces of great beauty are embellished with villages surrounded by centuries-old walls, so it is defintely worth more than a visit. If we were to elect a season of excellence, perhaps the autumn one would win, thanks to the spectacle offered by the variation of the foliage. Because Umbria comes to life in autumn and is cloaked in a sparkling light, and the colors of the hills light up.
It is in this period, in fact, that walking or speeding with the car along the roads that flank the fields, the woods give their best and the vines are tinged with yellow, orange up to a magnificent purple, giving a view that will hardly be forgotten. In the heart of Umbria, especially around Montefalco, not far from Assisi, Todi and Spoleto, a precious treasure is hidden, which is "revealed" precisely in the autumn months, linked to the harvest ... This area is in fact famous for being a land of production of Montefalco Sagrantino Docg wine, a fine native grape variety with an unmistakable color.
Map and camera: today we take you to discover the Umbrian territory and its flavors during the most evocative season of the year, because there are so many things to be enchanted by.
Foliage, the new frontier of slow tourism
You will certainly have heard or read this word, foliage, a term that derives from English - and not from French as you think. In the original language, to indicate the leaves that change the livery, we actually speak of autumn/fall foliage, while in Italian the adjective "autumnal" is often omitted, implying therefore to the word foliage only "the autumn change in the colour of the leaves of the trees from green to yellow and the different shades of red. In recent years, however, this expression serves to explain a much wider phenomenon, namely that of a real tourist movement under the banner of the slow discovery of the colors of autumn. Famous especially in some areas of the United States, Canada and Japan, it is also spreading in Europe, and more and more tourists are entering the woods that become huge open-air museums. Slowness and enhancement of nature and the colors of the foliage are the watchwords of foliage tourism, which allows you to discover a territory in an unprecedented way.
Sagrantino, the most famous grape of Umbria with an unmistakable hue
You don't need to go to Canada or Japan to be enchanted by the autumn foliage and its chromatic changes. Anyone wishing to photograph this suggestive phenomenon will be happy to know that Italy is no less in terms of the "wow effect", not only allowing you to venture into centuries-old woods but also through the countryside of our territory. Umbria, in particular, offers a show that is difficult to describe in words. In fact, between October and November, the hills around Montefalco, Bevagna, Gualdo Cattaneo and Giano dell'Umbria "ignite", because it is in these areas that Sagrantino grows, the native vine that has made this region famous not only in the Peninsula but all over the world.
It is a very small area, with soils that slope gently along the hilly profiles with altitudes from 220 m. up to 472 m of the highest mountains, and with a rather mild climate. These factors, together with the care of the Umbrian winemakers, allow the grapes to ripen slowly. The result? An intense red, Montefalco Sagrantino, which fully reflects the unique colors that the rows of vineyards take on after the harvest, ranging from a warm orange to a precious purple, the protagonist of countless stories and photographs. In addition, as anticipated, unlike most of the other vines, this grape has a slower ripening: this is why, if you visit the countryside and the cellars of Montefalco and its surroundings in October, you can still watch the harvest, enjoying its aromas.
Umbria in autumn: what to see among vineyards, villages and gastronomic excellences
If you have never considered a trip to Umbria in the fall, now is the time to plan it. And why not start from Montefalco, one of the most beautiful villages in the region? In addition to the spectacle of the coloring of the Sagrantino vineyards between October and November, this area offers a very rich cultural, artistic and, obviously, food and wine heritage. Starting from Montefalco, getting lost in its fortified streets and walls, and then perhaps continuing to Assisi and Perugia, the regional capital, as well as an ancient university town and treasure chest of artistic treasures, could be an excellent itinerary for a weekend different from the usual.
Obviously, not missing a stop to taste the strong flavors of Umbrian cuisine and “watering" everything with a bottle of Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG. The perfect stop to discover the Sagrantino area, which is one of the most fascinating landscape areas of the region, is Còlpetrone. It is one of the most important cellars of the Montefalco DOCG area and that will allow you, once you return from a walk through the cobbled streets of the homonymous village, or even from Spoleto and Orvieto for those who want to go a little further there, to participate in a tasting of several vintages of Sagrantino, such as Sagrantino Memoira, which has recently been renewed thanks to a precious graphic design with shades of gold and a new naming to best enhance the characteristics that distinguish this excellence.
Have you already opened your agenda?