Upper Tiber Valley (Umbertide)

The Upper Tiber Valley is the area from Sansepolcro (San Giustino really because S Giustino is still Umbria and Sansepolcro is Tuscany) going down to Perugia, more or less. Towns worth visiting here are: Sansepolcro, Anghiari, San Giustino (has one beautiful castle), Citta di Castello, Montone, Pietralunga, Umbertide, Preggio and Castel Rigone.

Perugia is the capital of the region Umbria and absolutely worth a visit. The suburbs are terribly ugly, but once you get to the old city centre ... beauty is everywhere.

Shopping

The COOP in Umbertide (follow signs for “La Fratta Centro Commerciale”) has everything for most meals, as most supermarkets have. Opening times are from 8.30 to 19.30 and in the summer the COOP is occasionally also open on Sunday morning.
In Umbertide you will find many more big supermarkets, like the Conad and Eurospin (this last one is cheaper than the others).

Bread

The Umbrians tend to eat rather salty food and as all Italians, they eat always with bread. The result is that most local bread is made without using any salt. You will get used to it, or you might even like it. However, if you want bread with a bit of salt, ask for ‘pane con sale’.

Wine

You can buy local wine from most 'cantine' in the area. A cantina is a wine maker. Some examples are:

  • Cantina Marco Merli
    Take the E45, exit Ponte Pattoli. Turn in direction of Casa del Diavolo. After the fruit and vegetable shop on the right you will see the sign for Marco Merli on the left.
  • Polidori (Azienda Vitivinicola Polidori)
    Following the road from Umbertide to Pierantonio, you will find on the left side of the road, the sign for. They produce a range of simple organic wine.
  • Cantina Donini
    In Trestina, the industrial area (called 'Verna'). Coming from Citta di Castello it is at the end of the village Trestina, you will see a sign on the right. Coming from Umbertide the cantina is on the left before you get to Trestina. The address is Frazione Verna di Umbertide (PG) 06019.

Most supermarkets have wine in many varieties.
You can also buy 5 liters, but if you drink them slowly, make sure you put the wine in 1 liter bottles you can close very well, otherwise it goes bad.

More about Umbrian wine can be found in the ?umbrian wine' article under 'General Information'.

Opening / Closing times

Being mediterranean, Italians usually close all from 12.30 or 13.00 to 15.30 or 16.00 hours. Most shops are open until 19.30 or 20.00 hours. Going out for dinner is earliest around 19.30 – 20.00 hours. Italians tend to hardly eat any breakfast, they have a good lunch almost always with some wine (helps the digestion they always say …) and then again dinner.

Children stay up as late as the parents and are usually taken everywhere. Therefore, feel free to take also young children to a restaurant (and make sure they catch up on their sleep after lunch in the early afternoon, when it is anyway too hot to do much else).

Sundays most shops are always closed. Restaurants are usually open.

Restaurants we can recommend

In the main square of Umbertide you will find two bars and there is a restaurant with lovely outside sitting (overlooking the Tiber river) in the road on the right at the end of the piazza. Locanda Appennino.

Just in front of the Rocca castle you will find the Rocca bar restaurant. This is a good restaurant to eat fresh seafood.

On Piazza San Francesco you can find restaurant pizzeria Habanero, it is below the piazza, in the old kitchens of the Saint Frances Convent, beautiful arched ceilings and nice pizza. Closed on Wednesdays.

After the bridge over the Tiber on the right you can sit outside and enjoy the view on the Tiber with the old part of Umbertide in front. This restaurant is OK, but we have had many different experiences here and feedback as well. Sometimes excellent and sometimes not very good.

A typical restaurant is I Capponi (just before the bridge over the Tiber on the right). You can sit outside on the square. (piazza XXV Aprile). The food is good, the way it is presented is slightly 'rural' and not very sophisticated. However, the owners are trying very hard and are really friendly.

On the road to Mercatale/Lisciano Niccone you can have the best meals in the area at 'Le Capannine di Sommavilla'. Here only organic food and wine is served in a lovely garden. Address: Localita S. Andrea di Sorbello - Mercatale di Cortona - 52040 Arezzo (it is on the Umbria Tuscany border, hence the address linked to the province of Arezzo).

Following the road to Preggio, several kms before the village of Castel Rigone, if you are travelling during the day, stop at the bar the “Pineta”. This is a nice place, fresh during the day, cold sometime during the night even in summer, but we recommend trying the typical “Torta al testo with salsiccia e erba” (type of bread/pizza with spinach and sausage between the two slices).

After Castel Rigone, on a beautiful hill overlooking part of Lake Trasimeno, you can enjoy an excellent meal at La Locanda del Galluzzo (keep driving straight though Castel Rigone coming from Umbertide and after several curves going down, you will find the indication for La Locando del Galluzzo to turn left off the main road). They have an excellent wine list and a good kitchen, renewing their menu often, they offer a mix of traditional Umbrian food and nouvelle cuisine.

Exactly in the small village of Niccone, 4 Km north of Umbertide on the old road to Città di Castello, there is the “Locanda di Nonna Gelsa”. The food is good, typical and genuine. The owner speaks English.

Il Covone at Ponte Pattoli is an agriturismo (one of the first in Umbria). You can choose from the menu or just eat what they have. The last choice is recommended! They have a lovely garden close to the Tiber river with high trees. Outside sitting here is really peaceful and with a lot of privacy. The owner speaks some English and you will have to book (075 694503). Directions to Il Covone: take E45 direction Perugia, exit Resina, turn right and drive 2 kms. Il Covone is on the border of the village on the right.

In the countryside close to Casa del Diavolo / Ramazzano le Pulci one can eat a nice pizza or meal at 'Antico Casale'. You will see the signs on the road from Ramazzano to Casa del Diavolo.

In Citta di Castello one can choose from many restaurants. However, during the day one should try the 'piadine' from Piadineria Vecchia Rimini in Via Plinio il Giovane 2H. They make excellent piadine (a kind of thin pizza with filling).
One restaurant we have been to is Da Mea. Local cuisine with only home made ingredients. Via Adriatica 3 - Fraccano - Citta di Castello.

On the road to Gubbio (the road between Perugia and Gubbio) one can have a simple but excellent meal at 'Il Panaro'. Localita Mengara. You will see the signs on the left when driving in direction of Gubbio.
In the same area (Localita Mengara) another excellent restaurant is 'Oasi di Mengara'. This is on the left, not far from Il Panaro. From Perugia you will first pass Il Panaro and then you get to Oasi di Mengara.
Another pizzeria / restaurant on the road to Gubbio with often a fish menu is Il Castellaccio. This restaurant is closer to Perugia, after the first few sharp curves going in direction of Gubbio. Panoramic terrace.

In Perugia we can recommend several restaurants

L'Officina - Borgo XX Giugno 56 - Perugia (at the end of Corso Cavour). Excellent cuisine and very good wines. Nice choice and friendly, helpfull sommelier. No outside sitting, but the interior is interesting with artwork and nice decorations.

Wine Bartolo - Via Bartolo 30 (at the back of the duomo). Good kitchen with local specialities. Excellent wine list. Very small and cosy restaurant built in an antique cellar. No outside terrace.

Al Mangiar Bene - Via della Luna 21 (a side street of the Corso Vannucci, the main road of the old city centre). All local procucts. very good pizza and also excellent other courses and good house wine and artisan beers. No outside seating.

Fontanella di Porta Sole - nice outside sitting in the road that goes up behind the duomo (via delle Prome 2). Very friendly host / cook. Simple but decent, nothing fancy.

Stella ristorante vineria - just outside Perugia in Casaglia (Via dei Narcisi 47/a). Good kitchen and excellent wine list. Nice sommelier (he is the owner and his wife is the chef). An evening here is a real joy. No outside seating.

Other restaurants in Umbria we can recommend

Le Delizie del Borgo - Bevagna. Nice wines and good kitchen. Lovely place to be and with good outside terrace. Piazza Garibaldi 1a.

Ristorante 'Al Coccio' - Magione. Nice Umbrian dishes, simple and very Umbrian. Easy to find driving into Magione from the SS75 exit Magione. The signs are clearly visible when driving up to Magione. Via del Quadrifoglio 12 a.

Dal Capitano - Castelluccio di Norcia. Very good and simple local cuisine. Good house wine and interesting family who runs the restaurant. Driving up to Castelluccio you will find the restaurant on your right hand side, first restaurant on the right. Wonderful panoramic terrace overlooking the Paino Grande.

Ristorante Masolino - Panicale. Good local cuisine in Panicale. Very friendly owners (he is the sommelier/waiter while she is the chef). Excellent local wine list with the best choice of wines from the Trasimeno area. The owner knows each winemaker and their wines.

In Cannare the restaurant 'Perbacco' is a good one. They have a good wine list and lovely kitchen. Cannare is famous for the onions, however here you can eat a lot more than only the best onions of centre Italy. Via Umberto primo 14, Cannara.

In Trevi, famous for the olive oil, you should absolutely have a meal at Gustavo. There is a wine bar called Gustavo and a restaurant with the same name. Salita S. Francesco 13 - Trevi. Very nice food, well prepared. Excellent wine list with many special wines of small cantinas. There is no outside terrace, but the restaurant is tastely decorated.

Vega Hotel - take the E45 and then the Ponte Valleceppi exit. Good meals, excellent but traditional wine list. Furnishing is simple and bright, but the kitchen makes up for this.

Some walks

Always go walking with good shoes, high closing, just in case you do encounter a snake (they tend to escape when they hear you, but it can happen that they don’t hear you). In high grass always take a stick and hit it in front of you.

  1. The “Mattonata” from the Badia di Montecorona up to the Eremo di Montecorona (you will find signs for the Badia at the Umbertide exit roads where you can park, also very much worth a visit, especially for the lowest part, San Salvatore).

  2. Monte Tezio 963 m. a.s.l. (the mountain that looks like it is bald – take the road to Pantano and then to Perugia and follow the signs for the national park Monte Tezio. You can drive up until you get to a parking area and from there the nice paths will start and not cars are allowed).

  3. Pietralunga (about half an hour drive from Umbertdie) has good walking paths that are mainained well and from the tourist information you can get all information.

Cycling

The 'Regione Umbria' has made an excellent website with many different routes for cycling, throughout Umbria and for three levels: easy, medium and difficult. Check: Bike in Umbria

Internet points

Umbertide has two internet points, one is Informatica 95, close to the railway station (from where you can arrive in Citta di Castello or the centre of Perugia). The other one is in the Commercial Centre Il Fratta, on the first floor. They are opened during office hours and in summer possibly closed during one or two weeks in August. In Perugia you will find many other internet points.