Medieval Village of Piegaro
My medieval village of Piegaro, located right in the middle of Italy in Umbria, is known as the “Green Heart of Italy” and was founded in 290 BC by the Romans. (I found it in November of 2012) Piegaro was part of nearby towns Montegabbione, Orvieto, Perugia, and Marschiano until it became part of the Papal States in the 16th century. Papal rule ended in 1860 with the birth of the “Kingdom of Italy.” This little village turned out to be my little slice of heaven on earth in many ways. I first fell in love with the quaintness and the friendly locals and then found out about the very interesting history of Piegaro going back thousands of years ago.
Piegaro has quite a history known for her glass factory, which dates to 1292. Glass blowers from Venice were forced to the island of Murano and kept there against their will. They didn’t want the secret of glass blowing to escape. However, two glassblowers escaped with the help of Benedictine priests to my village of Piegaro! The lush forests in the area supplied them with wood and sand from the bed of the Nestore River as well as refuge and a new life.
The Duomo in Orvieto & Piegaro History
In 1312 the glass blowers of Piegaro were commissioned to make the glass tiles used in the stunning mosaics of the façade for Orvieto’s Duomo and the stained-glass panels inside. Every time I go to Orvieto and look at those tiles and think of the time and effort that was indeed a labor of love from beginning to end, piece by piece, I am so proud to tell my “Slow Travelers” that the glass was made in my village. If you ever go to Orvieto, I highly suggest you enjoy a glass of Prosecco at the café across from the Duomo as the sun sets and watch the Duomo turn a golden rosy color in all her glory. A must before you head off to dinner.
L’Antica Veteria (The old Glass Factory)
L’ Antica Veteria, the old glass factory, was a ruin completely restored by Tom Webb and Colleen Simpson when they found their “Dream Project” in 2004. The building was abandoned in 1943, the roof caving in and in horrible shape—however, a gorgeous home to pigeons and other wildlife. Tom and Colleen were a perfect fit for this project. They poured their blood, sweat, and tears into bringing The Veteria back to full glory after 750 years of glassmaking history that now hosts tourists. A “Villa in a Village” right here in Piegaro stands proud, overlooking the hills of Umbria to the west. Tell them Nedra from Village Vacations in Italy sent you!
The finished product (-:
Another great thing about Italy is the Italians celebrate just about everything!
Sedano Nero (Black Celery Festival) in Trevi. Sedano Nero has become such a specialty item that has now been designated as one of the 15 or so IGP products in Umbria. This basically means black celery can only be grown in this small designated area outside of Trevi. The celery is not black, as you can see, the leaves are darker and the taste is….well you just have to come and see for yourself!
Infiorata takes place in June and is really something to see. With months of preparation in the design of each display, then drawing the draft on the streets with chalk, then carefully placing each flower petal in the exact spot it was meant for. They work late in the night and early morning. Imagine 1500 meters of carpet made of flower petals to celebrate Corpus Domini, Solemnity of the Most Holy Body, and Blood of Christ.
The celebration of the Grape Harvest from late September into early October. Village Vacations in Italy offers the “Lucy Ball Grape Squish Experience” Prerequisite: you MUST dress the part This is my most requested tour. You not only get to squish grapes with your feet, but you will also enjoy a wine tasting and lunch. The laughter never stops and neither will the memories of this day.
A Map of the Area
Our “Vero Italia Tours (True Italy Tours) for 2023 are under construction. If you would like to be added to our contact list please email: Nedra@VillageVacationsInItaly.com
Travel Slow & Un-Pack Once for the week. Everything listed on the tour will be included except airfare. Two meals a day, round trip transfers from FCO airport, and day trip transportation, no need to rent a car. We literally pamper you for a week.
You can read my earlier blogs about Italy here
Nedra Marie Bottieri
I am so proud to be a member of Slow Travel Tours, an informal affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France, England, and other European countries. All these people have a travel philosophy similar to ours. If one of our trips isn’t right for you, we hope you’ll consider one of theirs. Follow the Slow Travel Tours blog to learn more about exploring Europe slowly with a small group tour.
|Former flight attendant Nedra Bottieri made a life-changing trip to Italy twenty years ago to re-discover her family heritage. Now with dual citizenship, she has a second home in Umbria. |
Through her company, Village Vacations in Italy, she organizes and hosts small group tours based in small villages in Umbria and Tuscany, normally customized tours for private groups. Groups have included yoga workshops, writing workshops, and groups of family and friends. Nedra draws on her extensive experience and relationships to plan special accommodations and activities to meet each group’s needs and dreams. Experience “La Dolce Vita” in Italy!
To learn more about her tours, see www.villagevacationsinitaly.com
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.