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Umbria - Home of Saints and Gourmet Food
We don't actually start our Umbria cycling tour in Umbria at all, but deep in southern Tuscany on the border with Umbria. To the west of Orvieto are three beautiful little towns in the Maremma region. Sorano, Sovana and Pitigliano are three little jewels, all dating back to Etruscan times, that lie far enough from Siena and from Rome to be off the tourist route.
They were all deeply involved in the usual fighting of renaissance Italy, passing successively from the powerful Aldobrandeschi family, then to Siena, followed by the Orsini family, and inevitably the Medici.
All three towns are built on the outcrops of extinct volcanoes, although Sovano is low-lying while both Sorano and Pitigliano soar high above their river valleys on high cliffs, so precariously perched that some parts of Sorano have been declared terminally uninhabitable.
We meet at Orvieto by 4.00 pm for the drive to Sovano, where we stay at the Scilla Hotel in the centre of this beautiful town. Tonight is a feast of gourmet food. Every night in Umbria the food is delicious.