I was lucky enough to visit the historic town of Panicale and see the surrounding villages in the Umbria region during travels for work. I absolutely fell in love with the charming slow lifestyle of the people around here. We have been to other parts of Italy – south of the Amalfi Coast and parts of North Italy Verona,Venice and Trevisio and I can go back several times over! We LOVE the food, the culture, the history and arts, the natural landscape, but mostly we love the food in Italy 🙂
Panicale is among the most beautiful natural terraces of Umbria, facing on one side the Trasimeno, and on the other the Nestore Valley. It was born as a castle to control and defend the southern slope of the Trasimeno and even now Panicale preserves the structure of the walled town focused around three central squares. Olive trees around the castle walls, cobbled streets and stunning views of Trasimeno Lake, Panicale has received the Orange Flag which is ‘a seal of environmental and tourism excellence awarded by the Italian Touring Club to smaller towns and villages which distinguish themselves for the quality of their hospitality.’
Best time to go to Panicale is in mid-September, when there is the grape festival, with carnival floats, concerts, speciality dishes and wine tastings. It is easy enough to get here by train from either Florence (139 km) or Rome (177 km). I chose to fly into Rome and then took a local train to Panicale. I squeezed in a few more days in Rome on my way back – Read here why I fell in LOVE with this city 🙂
Walking around Panicale and dining in several of the local Pizzerias and small Restaurants was such a delight! I had some of the best foods – simple pasta dishes, salads, potatoes in truffle oil, lovely local wines…and absolutely loved browsing through the shops, especially the food markets. I didn’t even know there was this many kinds of pasta, not to mention cheese, chocolates, spices and truffles!
We stayed in a lavish and very magical place – Villa Lemura – It is an 18th century villa, set amongst four acres of gardens, parks and olive groves, and was really perfect for exploring the charm and beauty of rural Italy. The couple who owns Villa LeMura are British so language was not a problem! They live on site and they even cooked several of our meals. Very helpful and friendly, they do everything to ensure that you have a enjoyable stay 🙂
I simply loved the views of Trasimeno Lake while walking around the castle walls of Panicale. There were several other areas one can explore in this region. Within an hours drive is the famous town of Assisi, home to the famous Basilica di San Francesco. Florence and surrounding Tuscany region is supposed to be really beautiful. Unfortunately work did not allow much wandering as we were indoors 9-6pm! And to be honest, I was more than happy to explore the gardens of the villa during lunch, venture out into Panicale in the evenings and stroll around the local area, it was all so beautiful.
One of the things I love about my work is being able to combine travel with it. I have been lucky enough to visit Turkey, China, Scotland, France and Ireland for workshops, meetings and conferences and I always make sure to combine some travel time after work is done.
I know we won’t be exploring Europe again any time soon as we are setting off for new destinations in far away continent in 2 weeks time..but I would love to be back here with the family someday. I loved the countryside, the wonderful produce, the wines, the lifestyle of rural Italians. I can totally see us spending summer living in a Vineyard somewhere in rural Italy…perhaps we will in our old age 🙂
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