In the second episode of BBC2’s Italy Unpacked tonight at 9pm, hosts Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli journey to the heart of Italy and the regions of Le Marche and Umbria.
Known as Italy’s ‘green heart’, Umbria is the only region that is not bordered by sea or by another country meaning its traditional culture and cuisine has been well preserved. Often overlooked in favour of its neighbour, Tuscany, Umbria has much to offer, with delicious cuisine near the top of the list.
In tonight’s episode, Giorgio takes Andrew to the Norcia Valley, known for its mouth-watering cured meats. Giorgio uses fresh ingredients from the area to make a delicious dish of pork sausages and lentils. Take our Italian Food Quiz and see which dish you could be making tonight.
If you’re keen to explore even more of Umbria (and taste more regional dishes along the way), here are three sites to add to your must-visit list:
Perugia – Umbria’s capital city
Perched on a hilltop over 1,500ft above sea level, Perugia is Umbria’s capital city and a maze of cobbled streets, charming piazzas and a beautiful historic centre. A visit to the Palazzo dei Priori is a must. Formerly home to the city’s magistrature, it now houses some of Perugia’s finest museums, including the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria.
Basilica di San Francesco, Assisi
Located in the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Assisi is the magnificent Basilica di San Francesco. Pilgrims have been visiting this architectural gem for almost six centuries, with lovers of Italian art and architecture not too far behind them. With works from masters such as Giotto and Cimabue to admire, a guided tour of the basilica is recommended. An hours tour of the church is conducted by a Franciscan friar and take place Monday through to Saturday from 9am-5pm.
Orvieto’s Gothic cathedral is an architectural marvel. Begun in 1290, the cathedral took over three centuries to complete. It’s easy to see where this time went, with the facade of the cathedral adorned with colourful frescoes, intricate braids of flowers, numerous mosaics and bas-reliefs. There’s more to see on the inside too, with the travertine and basalt striped walls and stunning frescoes by Luca Signorelli.
Image credits: Nigel’s Europe & Beyond via Flickr.