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The lovely Italian region of Umbria sees several particularly engaging festivals at the beginning of autumn. Acquasparta hosts a medieval banquet annually in September, and it’s also a good time to see the Historical Games and Food Festival in Gualdo Tadino.

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Historical Games and Food Festival in Gualdo Tadino via protadino.it

The September Onion Festival of Cannara hosts a fantastic street market, and has become more and more innovative in the many inspiring and unexpected uses it puts the humble onion to. Whilst many of us have enjoyed dishes such as lamb and onion or roasted onions before, a crostata of candied onions and dried fruits for a dessert is probably a revelation for most.

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The Onion Festival of Cannara, via deliciousitaly.com

Foligno has had the wonderful idea of creating an Italian First Course Festival. Often the most wonderful elements of an Italian meal are the “primi piatti”, and the festival celebrates rice, soup, polenta and, of course, pasta. Foligno deserves kudos for hosting not one but two quirky autumn food festivals, as it also welcomes the Red Potatoes Festival in September.

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Italian First Course Festival, via trgmedia.it

Amongst Umbria’s many wine festivals, intriguingly, the town of San Elena di Marsciano is said to have hosted the first ever wine festival, the Festa dell’Uva, which still takes place every September. The charming spot of Torgiano hosts an Italian wine judging competition but also has its own wine museum, which provides some helpful context on the complex history of mankind’s relationship with the vine.

Despite these stand-out September offerings, it’s October through to December when the food festivities really peak in Umbria.

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Sagre di Olio, via sagreneiborghi.it

Of the many November festivals, one of the largest and best known is the Festa di Olio in Trevi, celebrating the superb quality olive oil harvest, best enjoyed with the simple and timeless accompaniment of piping hot bread. Orvieto hosts another major olive oil event, Le Vei Dell’Olio, while the Sagre di Olio runs in Montecchio. Offering the opportunity to get really close to the producers of the oils, the Frantoi Aperti in the first weekend of November allows visitors to see inside several major local presses and meet the producers as well as, of course, enjoy tastings with expert guides.

Chestnuts are a vital component of many Umbrian dishes and a huge part of its history and heritage. Montecchio celebrates chestnuts as well as olive oils with their own festival. The San Martino Festival in Sigillo offers free tasting sessions of chestnuts and local wines over the course of nine days. However, those these are focal points, in reality all of Umbria celebrates the chestnut throughout October and November.

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White truffles in Città di Castello, via aromacucina.com

Not just the other great luxury local product, white truffles, but also other important woodland products are celebrated in a festival in Città di Castello in the first few days of November. It’s a very significant venue for truffle tasting, but also offers excellent and often hard to come by forest honey, mushrooms and wild berry conserves. It’s the ideal spot for pre-Christmas food shopping, too, as is the festive feast of St Nicholas in early December in Bevagna. It showcases the region’s excellent and very tasty pastries, amongst other specialities. With this unique range of riches on offer, it’s truly the ideal time to learn more about this stunning and quintessentially Italian destination.