Go to my journey

I declare that I have acquired the information provided in the informative report on the privacy rules and I give my consent for the purposes indicated below:


Forgot password? New user? Sign up

The food tradition in Umbria

Go to my journey


Umbria has a deeply-rooted culinary tradition, with agricultural produce, cheeses and various meats and meat preparations as proud major components. Freshwater fish is also prominent: the region’s large lakes and numerous rivers are a rich resource and therefore a wide variety of freshwater fish features on Umbrian tables.

Meats of all kinds are included in Umbrian meals, both in everyday life and on special occasions, but pork is the real kingpin in traditional cuisine. Used and appreciated throughout the territory, it is also very prominent in local traditions, providing the inspiration behind numerous local dishes. Norcia, for example, is particularly famous for processed pork, with the adjective ‘norcino’ deriving from this city. Its origin dates back to ancient times, but it would seem that the finest masters of this art, that is, the slaughter of pigs and the preparation of pork, came from Norcia and they were reputedly even sought after in far-flung places for their expertise. Among the most skilfully-processed products, Norcia ham – which has even earned IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) recognition – is regarded as the premium product par excellence.

But the population does not, clearly, live by pork alone. There are also numerous traditional dishes made with lamb and beef, (Umbria is one of the regions with IGP recognition for ‘agnello del centro Italia’ – and for ‘vitellone bianco dell’appenino centrale – lamb and beef from central Italy ), as well as with game, such as wild boar, deer, guinea fowl, pheasant, and various smaller birds.

In addition to the variety of meat available, vegetables and legumes also play a major role in Umbrian cuisine. Choose a restaurant, trattoria, osteria or agriturismo (homestay farm), and you can be sure to find various hot or cold dishes, salads or soups made with lentils, spelt, barley, beans or grass peas.

Due to full-flavoured, distinctive products such as these, Umbrian cuisine is expressed through its typical, local dishes with the finest rural simplicity, enhancing the wholesomeness of the ingredients used. Whether you venture out to an agritourismo or eat in a restaurant overlooking a beautiful piazza, you’ll quickly grasp the true value of this delicious cuisine. Don’t be surprised if you’re soon keen to discover more flavours and nuances, such as the famous ‘pane sciapo’ – often criticized by tourists and patrons – but try a panino with local cold cuts and this bread and you’ll be rocked by an explosion of flavour, for this is a match made in heaven! Or try the same meat, or roasted sausages, or even stracchino cheese with the famous ‘torta al testo’ (or ‘crescia’ depending on which part of ​​Umbria you are in). Familiar to every Umbrian, but above all appreciated by everyone, this is a sort of focaccia or soft flat bread. Traditionally prepared with just water and flour (other variations exist), it is baked on a ‘testo’, that is, a cast-iron pan inserted between embers and ashes. You will find it in all the eateries along your way and you can enjoy it like normal bread, or stuff it. Whatever you decide, you’ll be aptly won over by the flavour and want to fill your suitcase with it. But then again, its not difficult to make and as the Umbrians are big-hearted, they’ll teach you how, and feel proud to see you take a chunk of their tradition with you when you leave.

One way or another, every hamlet, village or town seems to want to cling on to the specialities that have marked the region’s various culinary changes. Every part of ​​Umbria can lay claim its own unique product, and every hamlet or village enhances its unique speciality, dating back to the oldest Italian culinary tradition. Porchetta from Costano, Cannara onions, truffles from Valnerina and from Norcia in particular, eels from Lake Trasimeno, bread from Strettura, ciauscolo (spreadable sausage) from Colfiorito, crescionda (carnival cake) from Spoleto and numerous other foodstuffs are all traditional and may even belong to individual villages, emraced by a social confines that once crossed may mean the product can no longer be found.

A typical festival-like event in Italy, known as the sagra, acquires unique connotations in Umbria. There are so many, and they celebrate every single product that every little village – or even just a neighbourhood – claims as part of its tradition. These events in Umbria usually last between 7 to 10 days. Music, games and various form of entertainment are provided in the evenings, but the main attractions are the food and refreshment areas (some festivals have more than a thousand seats) where the locals offer up all the traditional specialities of their area, plus various other Umbrian eats, at very low prices. If you think these events are designed to attract tourists, think again! They are designed, first and foremost – and in some cases almost exclusively – for and by locals who never miss the chance to have a good feast, spend very little and enjoy themselves in good company.

Successfully added to favourites.

Please provide us with more info to help us create your itinerary together: your preferred dates, number of people and your mood.