Si! Certamente, ovviamente, logicamente the focus of an Umbria guided hilltown tour must be the art and history of this bellissima region, aptly called “Italy’s green heart.”
But what makes a tour memorable? Meeting “the locals” – and opening closed doors you might simply walk past. Like the entryway to the Bevagna 17th-century palazzo where artist Luigi Frappi lives.
Frappi’s artistic talent and his wit blend in his self-portraits as Rembrandt.
….and in the oil painting of a Caravaggio theme with a touch of Andy Warhol where I took this photo of tour guests, Derek and Angela with Maestro Frappi:
Derek (and Angela), delighted that you enjoyed the Maestro (and not only!) as your note to me indicated: “So many highlights from Bevagna! Some of my favorite experiences were with the people of this great little town. Luigi Frappi was simply a delight and seeing his art in his amazing home was an experience that couldn’t be replicated.“
After leaving the maestro, we headed into Bevagna’s labyrinthine buttressed backstreets. I told Derek and Angela that you can remember the letter “b” when you think “Bevagna,” for buttresses uniquely characterize the urban architecture of this Umbrian medieval gem.
…and “b” also stands for “butcher”: our next stop. No Bevagna visit is the full experience without a stop at Marco and Rosita’s norcineria…
…… where capocolli, lonze, salami, prosciutto, and spallette dangle from the ceiling and hang over the countertops.
Although a norcineria is a butcher shop highlighting the specialties of Norcia (i.e., varieties of pork products), the Tagliavento norcineria is also a macelleria (butcher shop) noted for beef goodness, as well as savory pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheeses.
Marco wanted us to taste their specialties: porchetta, capocollo, lanza, salami and pecorino, all accompanied by a robust Montefalco vino rosso. Much appreciated, Marco, as Derek wrote: “The time we spent in the Norcinaria was simply magical. Seeing the love Marco had for the meat in his shop, and being able to taste it, was an experience I will always remember.”
…and next time you return to Bevagna, Derek and Angela, I already know you’ll be heading for dinner at Rosita and Marco’s restaurant, Osteria Tagliavento Scottadito, where bistecche fiorentine will be sputtering and sizzling on the grill:
Too bad it was closed for lunch!
Next stop before our lunch that day at a local trattoria? At Bevagna’s fresh pasta shop….
….to learn about Bevagna specialties and where Silvia proudly showed us her family’s freshly-made typical Bevagna pasta, picchierilli:
Made with potatoes, flour and nutmeg, this “poor man’s pasta” is a favorite of the locals, though the gnocchi al Sagrantino – made with nearby Montefalco’s famous red wine – looked tempting, too….
…as did the ravioli filled with black truffle:
As always, I couldn’t resist those ravioli with ricotta, pistachio and orange zest which I never pass up if dropping in on Silvia and family. I took a few home for the next day’s lunch.
We three savored Umbria seasonal specialties at our lunch in a favorite local trattoria not far from Silvia’s shop: chestnuts and porcini mushrooms joined boriotti beans in Angela’s soup and……
…..Derek, too, feasted on porcini in his pasta dish of homemade pappardelle. Porcini for dinner customers were sitting in a crate on the table near ours:
Before leaving this gem of a medieval Umbrian town, we couldn’t miss a stop in the medieval merchant’s home, where Claudia welcomed us into an authentic re-creation of the home of a thirteenth-century mercante.
….and after sharing historical notes on this casa medioevale, Claudia could not resist dressing you two up a bit.
Angela and Derek, you certainly fit the part!
Thanks for sharing in so fully on daily life in this medieval gem……both then and now.
Derek, your comment was, for me, the perfect ending to a most enjoyable day. Your words let me know that you both had perceived why Bevagna is not to miss : “I loved walking the streets of Bevagna and seeing the people, seeing the kids going home from school and interacting with people in everyday life in this sleepy little Italian town. What a great time, and I can’t think you enough for letting us have these memorable experiences.“
Read more on Bevagna’s many hidden treasures
Click here to read about a Bevagna visit with our apartment guests
Read about Bevagna’s extraordinary medieval festival