Villa San Martino is located in the beautiful Niccone Valley on Tuscan/ Umbrian border. Local shops can be found in Mercatale di Cortona and Lisciano Niccone. These are ideal locations for stocking up on supplies or relaxing in a bar or trattoria. Mercatale di Cortona has three bars, two supermarkets and is home to Trattoria Mimmi, famous for its fresh homemade pasta – really worth more than one visit.
Watersports are available nearby at Lake Trasimeno, one of Italy’s largest lakes. Trasimeno is popular with locals and tourists as a place to visit and relax. There are three islands on the lake and numerous castles around its shores. Activities include swimming and sailing, walking and cycling or you could simply enjoy a day out at the beach.
The area is rich in olives and vineyards and fruit and vegetables are grown in the area.
Take a ride, train or drive ...
From the Villa, there are numerous notable towns and cities which are easily accessible - Perugia, Citta Di Castello. Montone and Arezzo are all only 30 minutes away.
Within an hour you can visit Montepulciano, Pienza, Orvieto or Assisi; Florence, Siena and Rome are less than 90 minutes away.
This area is famous for its local walks which have been celebrated in a book by Martin Daykin a few of which are listed below. For more information, go to:
Recommended Walks ...
The Battle of Lake Trasimeno - Long Walk. Approx: 4.5 - 5 hours. The route follows the Tuscany Umbria border and includes beautiful views of Lake Trasimeno and the site of Hannibal’s famous ambush of the Roman army.
The Leaning Tower of Vernazzano - Approx 3 hours. An easy walk with spectacular views of Lake Trasimeno in Umbria and the (other) leaning tower.
Monte Ginezzo Ridge Walk - Approx 2 hours. An easy to moderate walk taking in the hills behind Cortona. The walk includes fabulous panoramic views of Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche.
Etruscan Tomb - Short Walk. Approx 2 hours. An easy to moderate walk which takes in beautiful Umbrian countryside and a well-preserved Etruscan Tomb.
Etruscan Tomb - Long Walk. Approx 4.5 hours. A moderate walk taking in two ruined castles, the Etruscan Tomb and views of Umbria.
Marzano Walk - Approx 3 hours. A moderate walk with a steep start taking in superb views of Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche from the ridges along the route. There walk includes beautiful chestnut woodland and the abandoned village of Marzano.
Monte del Vento - Approx 2 hours. An easy to moderate short walk taking in the wild countryside of northern Umbria near Pietralunga, a town famous for its truffles.
Gubbio, Madonna della Cima - Approx. 5 hours. A moderate to difficult walk starting in Gubbio in Umbria and including an ascent in the funivia. There are spectacular views of Umbria and the Appenines.
Gubbio, Madonna del Sasso - Approx 5 hours. A moderate walk starting in Gubbio before an ascent on the funivia. The walk takes in the breathtaking scenery of Umbria and Le Marche behind Gubbio, before descending into a gorge past the chapel of the Madonna del Sasso that takes you back to the town.
Montone Long Walk - Approx 4.5 hours. A moderate walk with a hard ascent to the Rocca d’Aries. This is a new version of the walk with fabulous views of Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche along the route.
The Mother of all Gubbio Walks - Approx 7 hours. This is a difficult walk due to the length and uphill gradient at the end of the walk but stunning and if you are fit enough. The Umbrian countryside behind Gubbio is wild, the views fantastic and you will have an unforgettable walk.
Events and Festivals ...
The majority of villages in the area hold annual summer festivals of varying sizes. The Mercatale di Cortona festival generally a week long with meals cooked and eaten in the village square every night. Dancing, theatre and dance troupes entertain the crowds and high point is on Ferragosto, the national bank holiday on the 15th of August, which includes a fabulous midnight firework display.
Towns and cities in Tuscany & Umbria are full of events throughout the year and particularly between May and September. Below is a sample of a few of the festivals:
On 6th to 13th MARCH in Foiano della Chiana, near Arezzo. Dating back to 1539 the Foiano Carnival is the oldest in the country.
The Corsa dei Ceri
In Gubbio, 15th MAY each year. The Gubbio ‘palio’, the Corsa dei Ceri is a spectacular run held every year in which three teams run through throngs of cheering supporters up much of the mountain from the main square, each team carrying a statue of their saint mounted on a wooden prism.
Balestra - In Gubbio
MAY 25th and Sansepolcro, SEPTEMBER 7th. One of the most fascinating historical events in Italia: Palio della Balestra in Gubbio: historical crossbow contest between Gubbio and Toscana city of Sansepolcro. Its tradition dates back until 1461. Held every last Sunday in May.
In Spello in JUNE. The streets of Spello are decorated with pictures made from fresh flower petals. The designs are laid down on Saturday night ready for Sunday morning when the Priest leads a procession through the town over the floral displays. http://www.infioratespello.it/
Festival dei 2Mondi
Spoleto music festival takes place at the end of JUNE and beginning of JULY. A long established and renowned cultural festival with performances of dance, poetry and music. http://www.festivaldispoleto.com/
In Perugia in JULY 8th -17th. A world class Jazz Festival for 10 days attracting huge crowds; there are many free events. http://www.umbriajazz.com
Donazione della Santa Spina
In Montone in August. The Gift of the Holy thorn is a week-long celebration re-creating the gift of a thorn from the “crown of thorns” from the Republic of Venice to Fortebraccio, the founder of Montone in the fifteenth century.
Palio delle Barche
In Passignano in JULY . A very popular race between the “quartieri” of the resort town by Lake Trasimeno. Teams of men in a kind of mediaeval costume, race into the lake in rowing boats, and then back to land where they pick up the boats and run to the top of the town. http://www.paliodellebarche.it/