An Explorer’s Guide to the Local Markets of the Umbria, Tuscany Border

This guide is for Slow travellers, foodies and curious explorers who would like to experience the beating heart of Italy and Italian food culture, without scrimping on the culture, castles and art. Local markets are the perfect place to start. Meet the makers, grassroots growers and passionate protectors of age-old agricultural traditions. Sample scrumptious food and have fun adventures while you’re there.

Somewhere is always market day on the Umbria Tuscany Border.
Early in the morning, in one of the hilltop towns and lakeside villages that dot the circumference of Lake Trasimeno, the hustle and bustle begins. Carparks fill up with vending trucks. Streets are blocked off. The air slowly infuses with the requisite aroma of coffee, wafts of fennel, rosemary and sage (from the porchetta van) and the morning breath of vendors who greet each other vigorously over local olive oil and forest honey.

Local Farmer’s Markets of the Umbria-Tuscany border

One morning a week the market is the only place to be. Surrounding villagers and a few intrepid travellers gather to buy fresh seasonal produce, kitchen supplies, olive wood boards, crafted pizza slices made-in-China plastic sieves and seasonal vintage clothes.
Read on for a break down of where to go and when – and also what else you can do and see – while you are there…

Food markets of the Umbria Tuscany border and beyond


Located in the streets opposite Chiusi’s train station, this is a fairly large market with everything from shoes to hats, bags and Tuscan delicacies. (On Tuesday you will also find a market in the old town).

  • Day: Monday
  • Time: 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Location: Near Chiusi Scalo train station
    Parking: This is a busy market and parking can be a bit difficult. Take care at the train station carpark as some spots are for a maximum of 30 mins.

THINGS TO DO IN CHIUSI (Head up to the old town)

One of Tuscany’s hidden jewels, today Chiusi is a sleepy village looking out over the peaceful plains of the Valdichiana. It is hard to imagine, but the town was once the major player in the Etruscan League of Twelve Cities the Dodecaneli (I imagine it as the Etruscan version of the League of Nations).

  • Diocesan Museum of the Cathedral has fascinating archaeological finds and stunning works of art from Chiusi’s Christian history.
    ***NB entrance tickets to all of Chiusi’s historical attractions can be purchased here.
  • Porsenna’s, Labyrinth – Winds under the Cathedral, in Piazza Duomo. It is not actually a labyrinth, but an ancient water system built by the Etruscans. In later years it was used as a dumping ground by the conquering Romans. A very interesting tour
  • Climb to the top of the town bell tower to be rewarded y spectacular views over the Valdichiana, Umbria and Tuscany.
  • Museo Archeologice Nazionale Etrusco an important and spectacular curation of the region around Chiusi’s rich history. The museum houses a collection of decorative artwork including vases, ceramics, earthenware, funerary urns and jewellery.
  • Museo Civico La Città, Sotterranea a small museum with Etruscan and Roman artefacts leading to a large fascinating underground complex and ancient water cisten.
    **This must be booked in advance at the Diocesan Museum of the Cathedral
  • Catacomb of St. Mustiola (Patron Saint of Chiusi). Just outside of the old town on the road to Gioiella, you will find Santa Mustiola’s catacombs. Buried here in the 3rd century CE after she was matyred for her Christian faith. Early Christians soon started burying their dead there too – in order to be to be near her body. The carved limestone catacombs contain ancient inscriptions, bones and an early Christian alter.
    **This must be booked in advance at the Diocesan Museum of the Cathedral


  • Day: Tuesday
  • Time: 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Location: Piazza Matteotti
  • Vicolo Baciadonne (Kissing Lane) This narrow alleyway is so narrow that two people cannot pass without touching. Before being a stalky perv’ was a thing, the lane was frequented by men trying their luck at stealing kisses from passing belle donne
  • Parking: There is a paid parking lot in Piazza Matteotti, as well as free street parking available in the surrounding streets.

    Città della Pieve, also known as the “City of Perugino”, is a charming medieval hilltop town in Umbria. It is home to a number of important historical and cultural attractions.
  • Masterpieces of Perugino Città della Pieve is the stomping ground of the most revered Umbrian Renaissance painter of them all, Pietro Perugino. Naturally his masterpieces still grace the town’s olden walls. You will find The Adoration of the Magi at the Oratory of Santa Maria dei Bianchi. The Deposition from the Cross (famous for its “dramatic composition and emotional realism”) is at the Diocesan civic museum of Santa Maria dei Servi.The Baptism of Christ, one of Perugino’s early works “notable for its beautiful landscapes and delicate figures”, is in the Cathedral of San Gervasio and Protasio.
  • Palazzo della Corgna is a stately summer home built in the 16th century by Ascanio della Corgna, a powerful condottiero (general) and cardinal. The palace is now home to the Natural History and Territory Museum, with exhibits collections on the natural history and culture of the region.


  • Day: Wednesday
  • Time: 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Location: Piazza Matteotti
  • Parking: On market day parking is available nearby in Via Belvedere. However, nowhere is too far to walk and free street parking is available nearby, in the surrounding town.

    Rocca di Leone Castle Located on the hilltop overlooking Lake Trasimeno, you will experience panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding countryside. A well-preserved castle that has retained much of its medieval charm. The architecture is characterised by its polygonal wall and square Guelph (Pope-supporting) battlements, four towers, and a triangular keep.

    Palazzo della Corgna If the name sounds familiar from Citta della Pieve this was the original palace built in the 16th century by nobleman Ascanio della Corgna. The interior is decorated with frescoes by Niccolo Circignani depicting Roman myths. There’s a sweet museum with a collection of artefacts from the castle’s history (and treasures Gioiella’s very own Etruscan tomb).Linked to Rocca di Leone castle by a ‘secret’ passageway.

    Restaurants If you have digested the tasty market treats head for one of the many amazing restaurants in town
    Caffe Lattino +39 075953585
    Squad Garden, La Cantina , Osteria le Scalette


  • Day: Thursday
  • Time: 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Location: Piazza Sergardi and via Lauretana
  • Parking: There is a large free parking lot in Piazza Gramsci

    THINGS TO DO IN CAMUCIA (head up to Cortona)
    Perhaps Francis Mayes said it best in her so-old-its almost-Etruscan (but still relevant) New York Times article: “Most tourists in Tuscany pass right through Camucia; it’s just the “modern” spillover from the venerable and dominant hilltown above. But “modern” is relative. Among the frutta and verdura shops, the hardware and seed stores, you happen on a couple of Etruscan tombs.”


  • Day: Friday
  • Time: 8:00 AM – 1:30 PM
  • Location: Outside main gates
  • Parking: There is a free parking lot in the surrounding streets

    Sitting on the hillside, in a sea of in olive groves, Paciano is known as the citta dell’olio.
  • Pinacoteca or civic art gallery, with art that streches from the Etruscans through to 18th century religious frescoes, statues and paintings.
  • The Church of San Giuseppe and the parocchial museum
  • The Church of San Sebastiano in the fifteenth century with a cemetery for plague victims. A little less gruesome is that on the back wall of the church you will find a fresco titled Martyrdom of San Sebastiano by Citta dell Pieve local Pietro Perugino, aka ‘Il Perugino’, known as the greatest Umbrian painter of the Renaissance.
Market day in Paciano


Market Day Cortona
  • Day: Saturday
  • Time: 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Location: Piazza Signorelli
  • Parking: The narrow streets of Cortona’s old town centre are not great for cars. They can access some areas but – a word to the wise – don’t try. Leave park outside the ancient walls and walk 5-10 minutes. My favourite parking is Parcheggio dello Spirito Santo which is free and has a handy escalator up to the town of Cortona.
    Parking Codes: Blue: pay. White: no payment Yellow: reserved parking (no parking)
    Gravel area (no lines): usually no need to pay – but check the signs!

    If the name Cortona sounds familiar, it’s because Frances Mayes’ wrote her famous book, ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ here. (Nothing like the movie).
    Cortona is a truly charming medieval hilltop town in Tuscany known for its stunning views, rich history and aforementioned movie. A maze of narrow streets and alleyways wind their way through the old town past old stone buildings, shops, and buzzing restaurants.
    Piazza della Repubblica is the main square in Cortona, and it’s a great place to enjoy a glass of wine with the atmosphere. The square is home to the Palazzo Comunale, town hall and the Torre del Pubblico, a 13th-century clock tower – popular for wedding shots!
  • Visit the Etruscan Museum to learn about the rich history of the Etruscans, who inhabited the region in ancient times. See the famous bronze Cortona Chandelier, dating back to the 5th century BC and Admire the collection of Etruscan art, including vases, cups, and plates, funeral urns and paintingscustoms.
  • Visit the Diocesan Museum to Admire the collection of religious art from the Middle Ages to the present day, including paintings, sculptures, and sacred vessels.see a collection of religious art from the Middle Ages to the present day. See the Madonna del Calcinaio, a 13th-century fresco by Margaritone d’Arezzo.
  • Santa Margherita Basilica, is a beautiful Romanesque church with a magnificent interior. Santa Margherita died in 1297, so my lasting memory is seeing her actual ‘incorrupt’ body, still on show in a silver casket.
  • Piazza Garibaldi. This square is home to the Chiesa di San Domenico, a 13th-century church with a beautiful Gothic facade. After the enchantment of the view over Lake Trasimeno is broken, you will notice there are many shops and restaurants

The local markets of the Umbria-Tuscany border region are a great way to experience the region’s culture and cuisine. There are, of course, bargains because the markets are not geared towards tourists. However the fresh, seasonal food is often lovingly hand-produced by the vendors – so it’s not ‘cheap’ either


  • Fresh produce: The markets are a great place to find fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
  • Local specialties such as pecorino cheese, truffle products, and olive oil.
  • A variety of handicrafts, such as pottery, jewellery, olive wood and textiles.
  • Clothing: You can also find a variety of clothing and accessories at the markets.

Top Tips for Visiting Local Markets

  1. Bring a Reusable Bag
  2. Some vendors might accept cards but having cash on hand gives you more flexibility
  3. Engage with the Vendors. Try to strike up a conversation. They often have fascinating stories to share about their products and the region.
  4. Try Before You Buy! Many vendors offer samples of their products you can taste before you purchase

Unquestionably, whether you’re looking for the finest ingredients – or simply seeking an authentic experience – the markets of the Umbria-Tuscany border and the surrounding towns, will definitely not disappoint. The food markets around Lake Trasimeno have something special to offer everyone.

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