With a history that dates back to the Bronze Age along with a wealth of cultural locations, there are few places more fulfilling for a visit than Umbria. Villas in this central region of Italy are the best accommodation choice when it comes to independence and the freedom to explore at your leisure.While huge numbers of tourists visit neighbouring Tuscany, you should consider a visit to explore the rolling hills of Umbria. Villas situated close to smaller villages in the area will not only allow you to explore the stunning countryside, but will also give you access to a culture of food that you simply cannot get anywhere else.One of the best aspects of experiencing an authentic trip to central Italy is the chance to taste the unique breads and cheeses of the region.
There is a reason that bread is a staple food of many cultures, and it is no different for the region surrounding the many wonderful Umbria villas. By exploring the small, out of the way villages, you can get a real taste of the range of breads across the region and the varying versions of the same basic recipe. One thing that will become quite obvious when you taste Umbrian breads is the lack of salt. In the 16th century, the Pope levied a hefty tax on salt. So, instead of paying it, the Umbrian people simply left salt out of their breads, a tradition that has carried on to this day. And while it may take some getting used to, soon you will find that breads without salt are the perfect accompaniments to rich sauces and the local specialities.If you’re staying in the region during Easter or a special occasion, seek out the torcoletti bread, which is made with pecorino cheese baked into it. Shaped like a ring, it is best to just tear it apart and share with the table. Another simple bread with a bold flavour, you must try the torta al testo, which is a flat bread baked in a griddle pan and often filled with savoury or sweet fillings.
Now that you have a handle on the breads, you’ll need to get out there and source some of the local cheese of Umbria. Villas near the area of Norcia will give you the chance to taste a very special type of cheese made from a mix of sheep and cow’s milk. The cheese is aged in the fields in order to infuse the flavours of the fresh grass and herbs around it. If that is a bit too au natural for you, enjoy the decadence of the truffle varieties of cheeses. Black and white truffles are used widely here and add a unique flavour to the cheese, which in turn is excellent for pasta toppings. If you’re tastes don’t run to the rich, sample the mild pecorino, a traditional cheese of the region and one with lots of regional variations.As you travel around the region, you will notice that the varieties of cheeses change, depending on where you are. Even from village to village you can get quite differently tasting cheeses that are essentially the same recipe, treated differently or with variety due to the diet of the milk source.