Gioiella is a colourful hamlet nestled in the sweet rolling hills between Castiglione del Lago, on Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, and Chiusi in Tuscany. At a height of 366m, it has expansive views over the verdant and fertile Val di Chiana, and is surrounded by the best vineyards in Italy (I may be biased): Strada del Vino Colli Trasimeno and Montepucliano.
Modern Day Gioiella
Of course, I may be biased, but Umbria’s best bar is in Gioliella. Bar Pub Ruota serves fantastic coffee, delicious aperitivi and pizza at the weekend. Friendly and welcoming staff and the local community gather here every day
San Lorenzo Football Park and Playground, Gioiella
Gioiella is also well known by motorcycle enthusiasts, for the international motocross circuit, the “Vinicio Rosadi” cross-track, which has hosted the World Championship several times.
LOCAL VINEYARDS NEAR GIOIELLA
STRADA DEL VINO COLLI DEL TRASIMENO
Vineyards on the Umbrian hills that roll into Tuscany are prime vine-growing land. The lake creates a mild-winter-long-hot-summer microclimate that the plants just love. Viticulture on the Umbria-Tuscany border traces its historical roots back to the Etruscans and the Romans. To the west are the big Tuscan Vino Nobiles of Montepulciano, while to the east you’ll find Umbria’s most celebrated red, Montefalco Sagrantino. For wine tours ‘over yonder’, I highy recommend Gusto Wine Tours
Here, in the middle, the wine road of Trasimeno boasts delicious wines you will not know until you know.
Madrevite, wines of Umbria
Madrevite has been in Nicola Chiucchiurlotto’s family for three generations, and he speaks of a deep connection to the land: “I make pure wines that reveal the intrinsic qualities of the grape, in order to allow you to taste the complexity of the terroir,” he says. They focus on environmental sustainability, and eliminate the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides. Nicola’s grape varietals include Gamay del Trasimeno, Trebbiano Spoletino, Grechetto, Sangiovese, and Syrah. “My wines respect the land and the traditions of the place,” he smiles. “My wines are sincere. They tell of the love and dedication of everyday work.”
In Italy, “slow” is the way people eat, and “gourmet” is a state of mind. On my journey, the “slow road” I travelled led me to real food, grown by real people in small artisan farms, often family-owned. It’s food that is prepared and eaten at the time nature intended, and with great passion. The Umbria- Tuscany border is an edible landscape, as well as a feast for the eyes and the soul. In this region, when nature speaks, farmers listen. And that is something hungry gourmands everywhere can celebrate
Fontansecca Wines of Umbria
Paolo Bolla, scion of the famous Bolla family, whose long heritage of winemaking in Verona includes the first Amarone. In 1953. Paolo fell in love with “the light and the landscape” of Umbria, which is why, in 2001, he moved with his family to set up Fontesecca, an organic vineyard near Citta Della Pieve.
“We started with one hectare, planted in 1973 by the previous owner, Giovanni Parbuono, and expanded on that,” he explains. “For us it was important to be organic. We are doing our best to safeguard and respect our little piece of the world. It is challenging but inspiring. “The grapes I use have adapted over hundreds of years to this region. They express themselves here better than other grapes. The terroir is hilly with sand and clay soils. The soil has shell fossils, the remains of a long-ago sea. This gives the wines a good minerality, while exposure to the sun gives them strength and depth.”
Paolo goes on to say that agricultural techniques in Umbria and Tuscany differ from the New World because most of the farms are small and artisanal. “The work is the opposite of industrial agriculture. There is a lot of manual labour and a focus on natural techniques. We are close to Montepulciano, but at the same time, quite different. Apart from the Sangiovese we have vines that they do not often use, such as Ciliegiolo, Canaiolo, Trebbiano Toscano, and Grechetto. And they are perfect with all combinations oflocal cuisine. The reds go especially well with meat, cheese, and salami. The whites and rosés with the fish, pasta dishes, and appetizers.”
CHURCH OF SAN LORENZO MARTIRE, GIOIELLA, UMBRIA
The Long History of Gioiella
The ancient Etruscans were the first to notice the abundant beauty of Gioiella. Its ideal location above the fertile plains of the Chiana valley, the odd cooling breeze in summer and stunning sunsets were as hard to resist then as they are today. These ancient people left behind a 13 room necropolis, tiles, wine amphorae, coins and much more – all evidence of a rural village that lasted from the end of around C2 BC to the end of C3 AD.
During the Medieval era, in 1550, Pope Julius III gave Castiglione del Lago to his sister and his nephew, Ascanio della Corgna (1516 – 1571) making them the Marquis of Castiglione and Chiusi. You can read more about that HERE.
Gioiella, perched on the sweet rolling hills above the Val di Chiana, with summer breezes and abundant wildlife, became the favourite summer hunting spot of the Duke of Corgna and his crew. The Duke’s hunting lodge is located in the piazza opposite Bar Pub Ruota.
In the centre of Gioiella is a lovely little church, San Lorenzo the Marter, all that remains from the Jesuit estate formed when Perugia was defeated by the Papal forces of the Church.
Unbelievably, its original construction date is not known, but we know that in 1572 a certain ‘Monsignor Della Rovere’ visited, so at least we know the church was built earlier than that by Famiglia Della Corgna.
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…
Finding a villa in Italy took two years. Two years of long summer days dressed in denim-blue
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