Tag Archives: Umbria

You’d never know (Umbria, Italy – Day One)

When you think about the most impressive and unique wine towns in the world, there are some that immediately spring to mind. Not necessarily for the quality of the wines, that goes without saying for many, but for a combination of other factors. Chateauneuf-du-Pape and St. Emilion for example are gorgeous old villages that sit on top of hills with vineyards surrounding them. Montalicino sits in the midst of forests and vineyards, with spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside thanks to the altitude. Villages in Alba like Serralunga d’Alba and Castiglione Falleto seem to be perched on the side of hills about to fall off. Traben-Trarbach and Bernkastel-Kues sit on opposite sides of the Mosel River, connected by historic bridges. Cafayate in the Salta region of Argentina is so isolated and small you would never know it was there, and feels like a Wild West town. Nothing could prepare me for Orvieto in southwestern Umbria, near the border of Tuscany and Lazio. The geological origins of the area are a combination of volcanic and inland sea, and sit on the famous Tiber River. The village itself sits on top of prehistoric rock, and was once a medieval castle. Inhabitants have not only built homes amongst the narrow cobblestone streets, but they also used the rock like a natural city wall and carved passages and cellars into it. The population exceeded the village long ago, and residential areas have spilled out into the surrounds underneath. In the past the region was famous for the quality of the white wines, but became associated with very simple fruit driven wines many years ago. Small producers are attempting to return the region to its former glory, and one such producer is Palazzone who I visited to learn more about the region.

The majestic village of Orvieto

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