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Known as the Green Heart of Italy, Umbria has a deeprooted wine tradition (as well as gastronomic excellence), and despite recent earthquakes their wines are on the rise

U mbria, in central Italy, is a region of lush rolling hills, hilltop villages and iconic historic towns. Nestling in the heart of the Italian peninsula, it is landlocked by Tuscany, Le Marche and Lazio, and is the only Italian region without a coastline or international border. The climate of Umbria is similar to that of neighbouring Tuscany – cold, rainy winters and dry summers with plenty of sunshine, apart from the area west of Perugia, where Lake Trasimeno creates its own microclimate.

The reds are at the opposite end of the scale when it comes to their clout

Local viticulture produces both red and white wines, with Orvieto, produced around the hilltop town of the same name in western Umbria, having the largest percentage of production. This style of wine captures the subtle fruit characters of the Trebbiano and Grechetto grapes, perfect for drinking with lighter dishes or on their own. The reds, on the other hand, are at the opposite end of the scale when it comes to their clout. The native Sagrantino grape, grown around Montefalco, a town perched on yet another picturesque Umbrian hilltop, is a wickedly tannic grape that produces wines high in alcohol. Powerful and dark, the mighty Montefalco Sagrantino is a DOCG, but here we are sampling the local Montefalco Rosso DOC, which blends Sangiovese with Sagrantino, creating less tannic and fruitier wines.

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About Italia!

We have a splendid line-up of features to inspire your travels this month: our cover star Lake Maggiore has a wealth of stunning locations to explore, both around its shores and on the lake itself. If you like a good hike, our itinerary around the byways of a small corner of Maremma will defi nitely stretch your legs. For cricket fans we have the extraordinary tale of a most unlikely team – and they are really rather good! We have e-biking in the majestic Dolomites and we meet a 3-star chef there who’s really making a difference. And for culture vultures, we have the story of the rise, fall and rise again of Venice’s aptly-named La Fenice opera house.