The ancient walled town of Bevagna
is located in the Valle Umbria just south west of Spello
and Foligno. This is an unspoiled gem, a medieval town
and former Roman settlement. Life centers along Corso
Giacomo Matteotti and Corso Amendola, which meet in the
heart of town at Piazza Silvestro.
Within the walls are impressive remains of
the Roman theatre and Roman temple of the 1st century A.D.
L'Orto degli Angeli is an integral part of this architectural
This marvelous house is comprised
of two historic dwellings separated by a gorgeous garden.
On one side is the Palazzo Alberti (14th-17th century)
that was built on the ruins of the Roman Theatre and on
the other is an impressive mansion (1710) which belonged
to the Andreozzi family until 1788 and then to the Angeli
Nieri Mongalli family.
As we entered the lovely reception
hall we were warmly welcomed by Tiziana and Francesco
Antonini Angeli Nieri Mongalli as well as a charming,
costumed, young woman who with true Umbrian hospitality
lead us to our accommodations up a wide stone stairway to
the first floor.
From the landing we could see a
spacious salon with an original frescoed ceiling
depicting the history of the family. Sofas and chairs
were arranged for relaxation in front of a large stone
fireplace. A tiny family chapel was off to the side and
to the rear, a neat comfortably furnished library with a
selection of reading material for guests. Once settled,
we returned here for cappuccini and used the
complimentary internet point.
Our first floor bedroom with king
bed and period furnishings was crowned with a high
frescoed ceiling. The generous bathroom with whirlpool
tub-shower combo was supplied with an array of quality
amenities. My problem, however, is that Linda still hasnt
learned the art of showering sans curtain without
splashing water everywhere.
The mansion has six bedrooms and
three suites. Palazzo Alberti has an additional five
guest rooms, superiors and suites. We crossed the garden
to the beautiful portico of the Palazzo and entered a
huge parlor with a grand fireplace and wood/stone ceiling.
High tea at 17:00 is served in the pretty adjacent lounge.
The accommodations in the Palazzo are beautifully
designed to take full advantage of the ancient
Just off the reception is the
breakfast room. Adjacent is the ristorante, which is
built on the remains of the Roman temple. Due to open on
May 21st, 2005, a new ristorante is being built across
the way within a section of the Roman Amphitheatre.
Carved out of the ancient stone it will be a smashing
cave-like structure blending the old and new. The
breakfast room, which will relocate to the present
ristorante, will become a conference room.
The present ristorante is quite
wonderful in appearance and cuisine. The pillars and
stone of the temple, the stone and wood ceiling, the pale
yellow walls and soft teal painted chairs create a
comfortable, homey environment.
The house offered a tease of pureed
potato and cabbage soup served in a tiny shapely cup. It
was fluffy in texture and rich in flavor. It was also an
accurate indicator of the exquisite meal we were about to
Linda loves liver, particularly
when it is made into pate. Il crostino di pan brioche con
il pate di fegatini was an easy choice for her starter. I
am a soup fan so la zuppa di cicerchie con maltagliati di
farina di farro was my selection. The pate was rich in
flavor and texture. The thick, tasty mixture of small
chickpeas, farro (spelt) and small pasta made every
spoonful a delight.
The Dolchetto Alba 2002, Prunotto,
with medium body, fruity flavor and smooth finish was a
We both chose tagliata, slices of
filet steak grilled medium rare. For the lady, la
tagliata di manzo all'aceto balsamico tradionale di
Modena con lo strudel di radicchio, the traditional
preparation served with an innovative radicchio treatment.
My tagliata con la mousse al rafano e barbabietole rosse
was the same beef served with creamy red and white
horseradish - dreamy.
Fabulous chocolate wafers brought
the evening to a happy conclusion. The service was
excellent and the prices quite reasonable. We are looking
forward to dining in the new restaurant next time.
La Casa di Cello is a reconstructed
house of a rich merchant that has been built into the
Roman theatre foundation. A small shop for local artisans
is on the ground floor. These artisans provided the
reproductions of the furnishings and artifacts of the
house. The bedroom and kitchen displays are authentic,
from furniture to food products to utensils and even a
loom. Also on the ground floor is a working reproduction
of an ancient paper mill and workshop. Francesco Proietti
produces exquisite papers, using old methods. A walk down
via dell'Anfiteatro is truly worthwhile.
Across from Lorto degli Angeli at Corso G. Matteotti 19, is L'Officina Ceramica. Here is where Luciano De Camillis creates
and sells his lovely ceramics. His medieval designs on
ancient and modern shapes are quite lovely. This is a
great place to buy souvenirs and gifts.
Just up the street at number 42, is
Pasticceria e Panetteria Policchia Luciano, perhaps the
finest pastry and bread shop we found this trip. The
selection of items was quite different from anything
we've seen before. Everything is made of all natural
ingredients, without preservatives. Another reason to
At number 66 of the same street is
Caffe del Corso where the best coffee in town in served.
Vincenzo Spinola still has the old "pull down"
levers to pack the coffee and he warms the cups so that
the rich blend is served piping hot. He and his wife were
happy to greet two new faces, particularly when Linda
expressed interest in how the levers worked.
Piazza Silvestro is dominated by
the church of San Silvestro, the church of San Michele
Aracangelo and the Palazzo dei Consoli. In the Palazzo is
the Teatro Torti (Torti was a writer) with its graceful
balconies, railings and lovely frescoed ceiling. It is a
precious theatre that might be described as a petite La
Scala. There are rooms for refreshments and meetings and
a rehearsal hall.
The remains of the ancient Roman
baths are a sight to behold. The fact that the original
ceramic pools have survived and we are able to see the
ancient mosaic floors is amazing. So many special things
in this little town - it's wonderful!
Just outside of town is the Adanti Winery.
The winery is a former convent which belonged to a
congregation of Philippine Monks. It was built on ruins
from the Roman and late Renaissance periods. A wonderful
brick cave that is used for storing large oval wood
barrels is a reminder of that time in history.
The surrounding farm (50 hectares, 30 of
which are vineyards and 20 olive groves) supplies all the
grapes (Sagrantino and Grechetto are the dominant
varieties plus Barbera, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot and
Sangiovese). After touring the modern facility we enjoyed
tasting a few excellent samples in the lovely tasting
room. The Arquata Montefalco Sagrantino Rosso was
deliciously full-bodied yet dry, while the Arquata
Montefalco Rosso, a blend of Sangiovese, Sagrantino and
Merlot was as flavorful but much lighter bodied. The
owner and staff welcomed our visit and were happy to
share their endeavors with us.
The Societa Agricola Trevi, Il Frantoio, located just outside of Trevi, is the
largest and most modern olive oil producer in the region
around Trevi. It is a gorgeous facility from the showroom
to the production line, which is geared to handle a very
large production of oil. A platform runs alongside the
glassed-in, fully mechanized, production line where
visitors are invited to observe the process. The machines
were all shiny having been cleaned after the season ended.
Olives are hand-picked during the last quarter of the
year and processed immediately. We are learning. The
automated process from weighing of the olives to crushing
to storing in vats and bottling and everything in-between
is basically the same as in the artisanal cooperative we
visited in Spello. One big difference is that here the
oil passes through fiber board filters that capture the
impurities. Down below is a long line of vats each
documented with a profile of the contents. The oils are
sold worldwide and the scrapbook in the showroom has
letters from famous people expressing their pleasure with
Osteria del Podesta, is at Corso Matteotti, #67. We walked into
the stone and brick cave with wooden floors and eye-catching
wine displays and knew immediately wed be having a
special evening. The amiable owner, recognizing we were
visitors, proceeded to make us feel right at home. He
suggested we start with an assorted antipasto and go from
there. My "from
there" was already decided since on the way in I had
spotted a fabulous looking stinco being served.
A glorious platter of local
delights was presented with assorted bruschetti,
marinated eggplant, a salad of beans, peas, sun dried
tomatoes, olives, lentils and barley, flaky pastry filled
with spinach and ricotta, soft dough stuffed with creamy
ricotta and cucumber, funghi in a pastry cup and of
course ham and cheese.
My stinco di maiale aromatizzato
was fantastic. The meaty pork shank had been roasted in
ginger sauce to the point that the outside was slightly
crisp and the meat fork tender. It was accompanied by
delicious cicoria all'aglio e peperoncino. Linda opted
for tortelloni di ricotta con ragu di quaglie e arance.
The plump parcels filled with creamy ricotta were
presented in an orange quail sauce, topped with a
delicious piece of roasted quail.
And for dessert, how could we say
no to a flaky pastry filled with vanilla ice cream and
fresh pineapple, drizzled with chocolate? Osteria del
Podesta is a casual, fun place with great food at
reasonable prices. Dont miss it!
Fantastic Bevagna! On to Spoleto.
Rivarotta di Pasiano
Vicenza | Padova
Parma | Lucca | Firenze
Lucignano | Spello
Bevagna | Spoleto | Roma
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