A Lake, to Corbara, with a unique microclimate in the world. Dozens of countries on its shores and hills around, which hide medieval and Renaissance treasures waiting to be discovered. And extraordinary wines, born on the shores of this Lake, and I already knew, but they are different enjoyed in their territory, After listening to the voice of the Lake and the fog. You'll see that it is precisely this stretch of waters the leitmotif of this new travel posts: I had heard so much about this reservoir between Umbria and Lazio, born thanks to the dam on the River Tiber, and microclimate that originates in its surroundings, especially in autumn. In the three days of November when I visited this area, I found in person everything I read: clear skies at night, temperatures of 3-4 degrees, dense morning fog that thin out with first Sun. In the vineyards, the Grechetto and Trebbiano had not yet been collected altogether, because manufacturers are waiting patiently for a mildew, botrytis cinerea, attacks the grapes and take its course. A good mold, a noble rot. That helps create magical wines, able to remember – and compete – with big French Sauternes.
Can confirm Bernardo and Niccolò Baaziz, that now look after the family business following in the footsteps of Papa Luigi, pioneer of one of Italy's most important and special wine-sweet wines: muffato, that in these territories is achieved with Trebbiano and Sangiovese. But how does the noble rot? Micronized water particles present in the mist settle overnight on grapes. The mold is formed within the cluster, and to feed digs holes on the Peel, forming of needles (called ife) that grow upwards. This process causes the dehydration of grapes. Originates so an interchange between plant and mold, Thanks to which the plant tends to produce more Glycerin and aromatic precursors, that will be decisive for the wine. The company Baaziz, that's not the only one to produce it around the Lake of Corbara, use the noble rot to produce its “Calcaia“: a mellow wine, sweet and sour at the same time, with scents ranging from apricot jam to honey and acacia; along with blue cheese, rich butter and chocolate cakes, or even just for meditation, during a winter evening, in front of a fireplace, with a cat that warms your knees. In addition to managing a cottage, Barberani works 55 hectares of vineyards, organic production of 300 000 bottles, of which 30 thousand of sweet wine in three types: Muscat, Aleatico and noble rot. Surrounded by a unique Park forest ecosystem, with soils of Eocene origin and heterogeneous soils, the company works on quality with very low yields, around 50 quintals of grapes per hectare. Numbers cannot make anything of that love, the dedication with which Bernard and Niccolò serve daily with the difficult task of interpreting what the Lake of Corbara can give. A lake that is likened to a “big bubble”, as they like to call it the brothers Baaziz, that protects and changes the climate of this area, offers mild temperatures even in summer and temperature critical to the aromas of wines: to create the perfect wine you should listen to the voice of the Lake.
BASQUES: The area dominated by the Lake of Corbara is not only wine. There is a vast and complex cultural and archaeological heritage, ranging from the Basque country in Civitella del Lago, via Orvieto and the many villages nestled on the tuffaceous rocks. Baschi is a small gem not to be missed: of Etruscan origin, with Roman remains, this medieval village in miniature remained intact in its original structure. I recommend you to visit the Church of San Niccolò, It is a national monument, but especially to stroll through the narrow streets and historic center ladders, between cats indulged and lively coloured flowers. And don't miss the views over the Valley, offering unusual views of the Tiber River. Is, If you love archaeology, near the village there are the archaeological excavations of Scoppieto, with the production of a ceramics factory of the first Roman Empire.
CIVITA DI BAGNOREGIO: With the next goal we leave for a moment the Green Umbria to intrude in Lazio, but Civita di Bagnoregio is so close to Orvieto that it is impossible not to visit it. For me this is the fifth visit and every time this country takes my breath away: about fifteen people live in this village suspended in time and space, that since 1965 can only be reached via a long bridge of reinforced concrete. A physical bridge but also metaphorically, leading from the city of the living, Bagnoregio, the dying city. So is called Civita indeed, ' dying city ', because on either side of the moat of Rio Turbid and ditch del Rio Clear dig continuously, with their waters, the underlying Tuff rocks by digging gullies and causing a steady erosion that has completely isolated the country. Civita (It is named after Desire, King of the Lombards, that traditionally recovered from an illness by bathing in its waters) was founded by the Etruscans and 2500 years ago stands on one of the oldest trading routes in Italy, combining the Tiber and Lake Bolsena. The plant is Etruscan, but the homes of Civita date back to the middle ages and the Renaissance. Already the Etruscans and the Romans had perfectly understood the problem of erosion and attempted to stem the course of rivers constructing drains. But all was useless. Last year the Lazio region has launched the necessary initiatives to urge that Civita di Bagnoregio are part of the Unesco heritage, launching a petition which found support from thousands of Italian and foreign citizens and cultural personalities. Today to access you have to pay an entrance fee of 1,5 euros, to help fund the retaining structures and preservation of this beautiful village.
ORVIETO: And here we are at the ' main course ': Orvieto, a unique town, placed on top of a tufa rock, What a view from afar, in the evening, seems a crib. By day, instead, his profile rises majestically over the Valley of the river Paglia, a tributary of the Tiber. Urbs Vetus, the ancient city, namely Orvieto, He was a papal residence in the middle ages, and this changed indelibly on his face, Although its history dates back to well before the medieval and Roman: under the name Velzna was probably one of the 12 City States during the Etruscan period, then developed under the Dominion of the Romans who named it before Volsinii and then Urbs Vetus. The Popes departed in Orvieto in addition to magnificent palaces and churches, even a moral legacy: It is the city of Corpus Christi, established by Pope Urban IV in 1264. Do not miss the Duomo, a masterpiece of Romanesque-Gothic Italian, seeing calmly both outside and inside, by bas-reliefs of the façade until Luca Signorelli's frescoes in the cappella di San Brizio. In my opinion the central rose window of the Cathedral of Orvieto is one of the most beautiful in Italy. Of course don't miss the Cathedral Museum and the palaces of Popes, In addition to Palazzo del capitano del Popolo and one of ' goodies’ This ancient city offers the visitor: the Orvieto underground. Under the city were excavated over the centuries numerous caves that run through spaces and which represent an amazing journey from Etruscan to Renaissance. Is, still on the subject of subsoil, Remember to visit the charming Pozzo di San Patrizio, of the sixteenth century, dug it too at the behest of a Pope, Clement VII: 62 meters deep and with a diameter of 13,5 meters, is a true architectural treasure.
Where to EAT and what to BUY: Umbria is a land of great wine and agricultural products: the pride of gastronomy are vegetable soups, legumes (Gotta love the Castelluccio lentils Pgi or di Colfiorito), spelt, homemade pasta (the umbrichelli and strangozzi are my favorites), the black truffle, the game here as in Tuscany is at home, but also cheeses and cured meats of Norcia (the Igp prosciutto is just the tip of a yield of true excellence). Don't forget the extra virgin olive oil: I suggest a visit to Olive oil Museum the company Bartolomei, in Montecchio (Terni), where can you buy a good olive oil and oil-based cosmetics. In short, you will understand very well that here in Umbria you eat well and get fat just as well: If we consider that, In addition to typical products, There are also great restaurants then it is clear that a weekend in Orvieto is a perfect intersection between culture, art and good food. Obviously, cooking enthusiasts will know the Basque country for being home to the restaurant Casa Vissani, two Michelin stars: Needless to say that it is a restaurant for every budget, But if you get a chance to try the cuisine of Vissani don't hesitate. In the table you will find Italian and Umbrian product excellence, the menu changes constantly, the chef's touch is light and aims at enhancing the raw without distorting it. Always in the Basque country there is Hall of Comitissa, a restaurant with wine bar run with passion by the sommelier and chef Maurizio Filippi Edi: the raw material is the base flow of a kitchen geared both to tradition but also for creativity. Everything is done inside the restaurant, from bread to desserts, up to shred meat, game and fish. Maurizio will guide you with extreme competence (It's a bit wordy, but he has much to say and he does it with real passion) in choosing the best wine and the dish you can tease, Although I recommend the tasting menu, that will make you understand the cultural route of this restaurant. When you go to Civitella del Lago, instead, You can stop at the restaurant Tripe, who with Paolo Trippini in the kitchen is now in its third generation. Is’ a nice pub, with large panoramic windows overlooking the Lake and a menu that ranges from traditional to creative, with a formula lunch and evening tasting menus, In addition to an extensive (maybe even some’ too broad) retracing the dishes local historians and the new creations. In Orvieto there is Vinosus, my restaurant always reference: the choice of raw materials, homemade pasta, cheeses and cured meats, the wine list, the cuisine based on traditional Umbrian food and respect are the peculiarities of this restaurant, born from the vision of Luca Fratini and now led by Rita and Richard.