From Massa Martana to Monte Castello di Vibio, through Todi and Fratta Todina, from Collazzone to Torgiano, through Marsciano and Perugia, and then Bettona, Cannara and Spello: it’s the Canticle Wine Route that celebrates not just wine but also the other typical and quality products of the territory, together with its art, environment, culture and artisinal crafts.
Autumn, during harvest time, is one of the best times to make this itinerary combining the pleasure of good food and of great wines with visits to villages, castles, churches and abbeys, framed by a unique and evocative landscape.
This itinerary will lead you to discover two of the splendid towns of the Canticle Wine Route: Perugia and Spello.
Get a wine glass and start your journey from Perugia, among tastes and flavours.
The region’s capital, Perugia, will capture you with its medieval architecture and Renaissance palaces.
Take your time to discover its historical centre that preserves many historical-artistic treasures: Piazza IV Novembre and the beautiful Fontana Maggiore; the Cathedral of St. Lawrence; the Priori Palace (with the Cambio College frescoed by Perugino); the Umbria National Gallery rich with masterpieces of artists such as Piero della Francesca, Pinturicchio, Perugino; the Etruscan Arch, walls and the well.
After you finish touring the acropolis, it’s time for a break! You have to taste Torta al Testo: an ancient bread, baked on the “Testum”, the iron griddle from which it takes its name. Fill with ham, cheese, sausage, cooked vegetables or any other ingredient. We suggest you enjoy it with a red wine, Doc Colli Perugini.
Before going on, there is an almost compulsory stop in one of the sweetest towns in Italy: discover the combination of chocolate and wine. If you happen to be in Perugia in October, visit Eurochocolate, the festival entirely devoted to chocolate.
Catch the minimetro (frequent service until about 9 pm, timetables here) to the Perugia station and from there it's a short ride to Spello with the fast regional train (timetable here).
Visiting Spello is always a unique and delightful experience: admire it from below, walk along its medieval alleys decorated with colourfully flower-draped balconies and be seduced by its history and beauty.
Start your tour by walking along its city walls to the town gates. Among these gates, three ones are of particular relevance: the Consular Gate, the Venus Gate with the Towers of Properzio and the Urbica Gate.
Spello overflows with artistic treasures: don’t miss the church of St. Maria Maggiore housing the Baglioni Chapel, decorated with splendid colourful frescoes by Pinturicchio. In the church of St. Andrea is another work by Pinturicchio, an altarpiece with the Virgin and the Child enthroned with various saints. The Villa dei Mosaici museum preserves nearly 500 m2 of glorious polychrome mosaic flooring, the remains of a luxurious villa of the Imperial Roman era. This incredible archaeological treasure was discovered by accident in 2005.
Conclude your visit by wandering among the charming flower-filled alleyways of the town, one picturesque, scented and colourful spot leading to another.
If you are hungry, taste the local cuisine: bruschette perfumed with oil or truffle, home-made pasta seasoned with truffle, hare and boar. Many traditional recipes are based on legumes: the chickpeas of Spello are famous in the world, as well as the risina (a variety of small and white bean with a delicate flavour), and cicerchia or chickling vetch (a variety of legume similar to chickpeas and with a flavour a bit like fava beans), which are served in tasty soups or fresh salads. For wines the Assisi Doc is a choice that will not disappoint you.
Stroll back to the station for the train back to Perugia, maybe taking along a bottle of wine to remember this lovely day out in Umbria.