Undiscovered Medieval Gem in Umbria: The Ancient Glassmaking Village of Piegaro
In the heart of Italy, Piegaro is an undiscovered medieval village with an amazing history of glassmaking. Over 750 years ago glass masters migrated from Murano in Venice Lagoon to Piegaro and established the first glass factory within the 9th century stone walls of this gem of a hilltop village. Now Piegaro is continuing to prosper with its modern glass factory, the largest in Europe, producing over 1,620,000 glass bottles a day. Traveller’s interested in having a very unique experience should put Piegaro on their itinerary. Visit the glass museum to see the history of glassmaking from the 13th to 19th century. Tour the modern glass factory and come home with your own souvenir bottle "hot off the conveyor belt". Young and old alike, visitors to Piegaro are saying that this tour was the highlight of their trip to Umbria!
A traveller staying in Piegaro for a week or two weeks can experience true village life in all its variety within the village walls. In the evening all ages can be found taking their stroll through the piazza, or you may be invited to sit with the elder ladies in front of the town hall. Make the hard choice between three gourmet restaurants with their handmade pasta and the outstanding local beef of the region. The smell of fresh breads and pastries comes wafting from the bakery each morning. Enjoy a morning cappuccino or indulge in your daily gelato with the locals who hang out at Arnika's Caffe Via Roma or Maria Pia's Bar Fortuna. Ask Micheale, the butcher, to fillet a piece of Chiani veal for your evening meal, and shop in the two groceries with fresh fruit and vegetables.
All summer there are cultural festivals with music, dance and above all else, wonderful food and wine! Trasimeno Blues in July features world famous blues artists with an opening concert under the stars in Piegaro, and followed by performances in the surrounding villages for two weeks. Each village in the area features their own weekly "sagra" with foods unique to this area, ranging from fresh gnocchi to cinghale (wild boar).
The first two weeks of October feature the Chestnut Festival in Piegaro with handmade Pici pasta, chestnut soup, wild boar stew, pheasant, and Sangiovese wine. This festival is attended by thousands who come throughout Umbria and Rome to view the ancient techniques of glass making and weaving the straw baskets for the Chianti bottles. If you come in October you can also help with the Vendemmia, picking the wine grapes, or forage for porcini mushrooms in the locals woods.
Located just minutes from the Tuscan border and the Autostrada, between Rome and Florence, Piegaro is central to all you wish to see in Umbria or Tuscany. Day trips from the village can take you to historic Siena, Montepulciano, the iconic Val d'Orcia, or range east to visit the stunning hilltop towns of Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, Todi or Gubbio. Only minutes away to Lago Trasimeno and the best fish in the world. Visit Cortona, famous from the movie and book "Under the Tuscan Sun", and come home with a fine handmade leather bag for under 50 euro. Or shop in nearby Deruta with its world famous ceramics.
This region is home to saints and artists: one can find in the smallest village wondrous paintings and frescoes of Perugino or the relics of the Saints Benedict, Francis and Clara.
In May thousands of poppies dot the green hills and valleys to be replaced in July by fields of sunflowers. In August bales of hay and ripening tobacco fields create a patchwork against the blue sky and green hills studded with medieval castles, watch and bell towers.
Umbria is the lesser known, but greener sister to Tuscany, and because it is still relatively undiscovered, one does not need to battle crowds to see amazing medieval hilltop villages with ancient churches and museums.
Settle into the slower pace of life in this lovely little medieval village with stunning panoramic views across the green heart of Italy, and experience the true "dolce vita" of daily village life. Come join with the locals in celebrating family, food and wine, truly the good life in Italy. You will want to return again and again.
Written by Colleen Simpson - Owner of Property 98368 in Piegaro, Italy