Umbria is dotted with charming medieval villages, many of which are still off the radar. One such village is Massa Martana, a mere 60 kilometers from the regional capital of Perugia.
Surrounded by the Monti Martani mountain range and lush woods, Massa Martana is an ancient walled town possibly dating back to the Romans, as the area is traverses by the Via Flaminia Roman road.
Access into the historic center is through a monumental gate. The main street, Via Regina Margherita, is dotted with restaurants, trattorias and artisan shops. Piazza Umberto I is the main square, with the Church of San Felice, dedicated to the town’s patron saint, and dating back to the Lombards.
For gelato lovers, Massa Martana hosts a sagra del gelato (ice-cream open air fair) every year in early August.
Foodies in general will rejoice in tasting the local delicacies, starting with extra virgin olive oil DOP Colli Martani; the Colli Martani DOC wine and the mineral water Sanfaustino. Typical dishes include picchiarelli alla massetana, a sort of fettuccine served with chicken entrails sauce and the dessert nociata, made with walnuts, honey, orange peels, egg whites and bay leaves.
The surroundings of Massa Martana are just as charming, and you can drive along winding roads amid rollings hills typical of central Italy. One place not to miss is San Faustino with its thermal baths. The thermal water of San Faustino is rich in carbon dioxide and flows at a constant temperature of 13°C; its therapeutic power is recognized and appreciated by the many patrons who visit to get treated for different ailments.
In the area, you can also visit three well-preserved Romanesque churches: San Fidenzio, Santa Maria in Pantano and San Faustino itself.