Come discover Brigolante Farm Stay, Assisi and Umbria each month of the year:
This is the month set aside for the time-honored tradition of butchering the family hog, fattened up on Umbrian acorns since the previous summer, and at Brigolante fresh spicy sausage and thick pork chops abound. Prosciutto and salami are put up to season until the late spring, when they will be sliced and sampled by family and guests of our vacation rentals. Brigolante raised beef, flavorful and free of hormones, is available all year long through our local butcher.
St. Valentine is patron saint of Terni in southern Umbria and this month dedicated to lovers is the perfect time to come visit the Perugina chocolate factory in Perugia and the black truffle fair in Norcia (remember, chocolate and truffles are aphrodisiacs!). Then, wander hand in hand through the romantic streets of Assisi (you’ll have them almost to yourself in the off-season) and the numerous other medieval hill towns waiting to be explored, and enjoy the peace of Umbria at its quiet best.
Spring is just around the corner, and Umbria begins to show its famous “green heart” as trees bud and gardens are planted. Farmers are out in force pruning the olive groves and vineyards for the following autumn harvest and the hill towns come to life as travellers from all over the world come to discover Umbria. Brigolante is no exception, and our busy season begins now as we welcome new guests and old friends to our holiday apartments. Take advantage of the balmy days to stretch out your legs and walk some of the Mount Subasio Park trails or take one of our mountain bikes into Assisi.
Spring is here, and with it a cornucopia of Umbrian products. Freshly seasoned salami hang in butcher’s windows (ask for a sample of our own), and wild asparagus is available at the vegetable market (or free for the picking in the woods of Mount Subasio). The hens begin to lay again at Brigolante, which means fresh eggs and even fresher home-made pasta make for perfect meals in our self catering apartments. Easter is celebrated in Assisi with beautifully solemn religious processions and a traditional savory bread rich with cheese and eggs.
Calendimaggio in Assisi! This month begins with Calendimaggio in Assisi, a festival celebrating medieval and renaissance costumes and life. The decorated city divides into two parts, which challenge each other with concerts, dances, processions, and archery and crossbow contests all in historic dress. Come cheer them on, or just enjoy a cup of red wine and porchetta (sliced roast pig with spice and fennel) sandwich in one of the many temporary tavernas. If you missed Calendimaggio, you can still soak up some medieval culture in Gubbio, which has both its Ceri Race Festival and Crossbow Tournament during the month.
The sweet smell of freshly cut hay wakes you in the morning, as the fields are cut around Brigolante and the bales stored away. The vegetable garden begins to bear fruit, and tender peas and lettuce are there for the taking. Try the traditional dish of fresh raw fava beans dipped in salt and eaten with a wedge of sharp sheep cheese, or our own pesto made with fragrant fresh basil. With the warm summer nights come local festivals, and the Medieval Gaite Fair in nearby Bevagna, and the Corpus Christi Floral street decorations in Spello are unforgettable.
This is the month of music and culture in Umbria, as it hosts the famous Spoleto Festival, with its performances of theatre, dance, opera, concerts and art exhibitions, the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, one of the most important jazz events in Europe. Our apartment rentals are close enough to enjoy all of these events, but far removed enough to escape the noise of the crowds as you relax in the garden to the background hum of the first threshing of the season in the nearby fields.
The season of the “sagre”, or traditional outdoor food festivals, each in a different small town and each celebrating a local product or dish is in full swing. Discover some of the smaller villages in Umbria as you sit at long picnic tables in the main piazza with hundreds of locals and eat delicious food at a great price. (Our favorite is the duck festival in Bettona). For an even better price, head out to the vegetable garden at Brigolante and pick yourself some tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and sweet peppers, season it with basil and a little olive oil, and wash it down with our farm red wine. One of the many advantages of a farm stay!
At the beginning of the month is another one of our favorite “sagre”, the onion festival in tiny Cannara just minutes away from Assisi. The tourist season is winding down, the days are cooler, and it is harvest time at Brigolante. Enjoy fresh figs (try them wrapped in our salty farm prosciutto), pears, apples, blackberries, plums… if the season is a good one we have them all here. It’s time to put up our homemade jams, bottle the honey, and set up the liqueurs to age over the winter.
Honor both the spirit and the flesh, as the month opens with religious celebrations in Assisi honoring St. Francis, well loved patron saint of the town and of Italy, and closes with Eurochocolate in Perugia, a huge festival dedicated to the food of the gods. October is also time for the “vendemmia” or grape harvest in vineyards as high up as Brigolante; the lower vineyards are harvested in September. Enjoy wild mushrooms, especially porcini, sold at the vegetable stands or, if the season is a good one, offered to you by your hosts.
The vegetable garden is in full fall splendor, and a rich salad of mixed greens, arugula, fennel, and basil is just waiting to be picked. Dress it with freshly pressed olive oil from the farm, or bring some back with you from Trevi, where the world’s best olive oil is produced and the mills open to the public each November. Open up a bottle of Novello wine, available the first week of the month all over Italy, or a bottle of our own new red, still light and fruity after just a few weeks of fermentation, and sit down to dinner in one of our self-catering apartment rentals.
Come celebrate an Old World Christmas, with Brigolante decked out in white lights and nativity scenes nestled away in every corner of Umbria. Buy mistletoe and chestnuts at the local fruit and vegetable market, and panettone rich with raisins and candied fruit at the bakery and curl up in front of a festive fire. The New Year is traditionally welcomed with a steaming plate of lentils, promising wealth in the coming year, and pork zampone topped with just a few drops of fragrant olive oil.