About Paciano

Panicale Paciano Excursions Further Reading

Paciano is a small hill top town retaining its appearance as a medieval castle. Its main source of income is olive oil, as tourism has not caught on. You are thus guaranteed peace, tranquillity, exquisite views over the Lake Trasimeno valley and an excellent location off the beaten track. Perfect to visit other hill top towns in Umbria and Tuscany. And in between the exploring, why not take a break with cooking course? In Paciano, we offer accommodations for people interested in staying a day, a week, or a month.

Clickto view photos andto enlarge them.

Introduction
Restaurants and Services
History and Sights
Further reading


Introduction

Paciano is described by outsiders rushing through it as a sleepy fortified hilltop town, probably because it is Umbria's smallest council with less than a thousand inhabitants spread over its 16 square kilometres. But taking your time, you find it has its share of history, art and good food to boast about, together with all services and shops needed to make it self-sufficient. Its visitors decide to stay here because of its views, peace, tranquillity and location. These were the reasons David Mc Taggert, the founder of Greenpeace, gave when permanently moving in. The town's economy is still based on agriculture, or more specifically, on the production of olive oil.The road signs by the town gate clearly indicate that you have to leave your horses and tractors outside, and continue on foot. Well, cars are allowed, but only at 20 km per hour.

History

The area around Paciano was inhabited by the Etruscans in the 7th century BC, from which the remains of the temple (probably) dedicated to Janus still remain. Theories on the origins of its names are many, the oldest ones being "Pace di Giano" (Peace Of Janus) or "Passus Iani" (Passage to Janus). Other historians believe the name derives from the Roman Pacci family of Cortona, as up to the 17th century, it was called Pacciano.

Today, Paciano retains its character as a medieval castle, accessible through its three arched gates. Guarding the town are old defence walls and eight towers which in the 17th century were converted to dwellings. Inside the town, three parallel streets connected by picturesque orthogonal alleys hide palaces, old defence structures and churches. The San Carlo Church, with its beautiful 15th century portals, is regularly used for mass. Paciano's oldest church, Chiesa San Giuseppe, has a painting of the town's Patron, the "Madonna of Mercy". In total, seven churches exist both within and outside the town walls. Each containing works of art by local medieval and renaissance artists.

The headquarters of the ancient Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament houses a small art museum that through its exhibits documents the history of Paciano's art, from the Etruscans to the early seventeenth century. The opus of the museum are works by the 13th century painter Francesco Nicolo from Citta della Pieve, believed by many to be Il Perugino's teacher. They include a fresco of the Crucifixion alongside two wood panels depicting saints. These, together with paintings, gold and silver artefacts from the 15th to the 17th centuries, frescos from the 12th, and Etruscan objects from the 4th century BC make a visit to this one room museum worthwhile and amusing. Keys are kept in the house diagonaly across from the museum. Ring on the doorbell to gain access.

Restaurants and Services

Hungry? Just outside town, a restaurant called Il Casale seems to have taken truffles as its main ingredient. Pina and her daughters will spoil you by grating it directly on your dishes. They grill their meat on the open fire, and serve excellent wines. None of the excess and high quality is reflected in the bill, which is always very fair. Pizza cravings? No problem, L'Oca Bruciata (The burnt duck) will serve pizza and bars will provide you with your mandatory espresso or cappuccino. A wine bar located in the town walls has outdoor tables providing a picturesque setting in the summer months.

A butcher, two grocery stores and flower shop are all located within the town walls. A bakery opened just recently, as did a store selling wine and local products. If you want to get up to date with the local gossips, the are not one, but two hair dressers! A store selling local pottery, an art studio and a store selling their own hand-woven textiles are recent additions, bringing back old traditions to the community. A bank, post office and pharmacy exist as well. At the English Studio you can take Italian (or English !!) lessons, buy English books on the area as well as check your email. The train station serving the Rome - Florence line is only a 20 minute drive, and major supermarkets and shopping centers even less.

Dropping by in the summer, you will find an outdoor theatre, music concerts and occasional feasts. The first week in December is dedicated to the Oil Festival. The festival coincides with the Olive Harvest, which alongside program filled with music, plays and festivities, you can taste the new oil and eat characteristic dishes in the town's restaurants.

Do you want to get in on the local way of life before arriving? Then Geoffry Luck's book, Villa Fortuna, an Italian Interlude is a must read. He is an Australian who restored a villa in a hamlet outside Paciano and lived the life of a rural Italian (Well, that is the way he likes to see it). His stories take you in on the history of his house, his olive groves, and fun anecdotes on his fifteen years in Italy. In-between discussions on food and olives, he happily dishes the dirt on the local politicians, exposes incompetence and bureaucracy. Through his Australian eyes, he explains the contradictions and complexities of Italy, something you can not get away from, not even in the small sleepy town of Paciano. It is available on amazon. Order it in the UK, however, as they ship almost immediately. Amazon US has been known to take months. You can otherwise get it on Location at the English Studio.

In Paciano, we can offer the Buitoni Family's summer residence, which sleeps six to fifteen people. The house dates back to the 15th century and features a defence tower, vaulted ceilings, its private chapel with 17th century frescos, and endless views across the Umbrian border into Tuscany. It is furnished with first class antiques, renaissance paintings and Persian carpets. For smaller groups, we have plenty of rustic apartments and farmhouses in the neighbouring town of Panicale. The Paciano Terrace, in the center of town, is a huge two bedroom apartment available for stays of six months or longer.

Excursions in the area

The south Trasimeno area is an excellent base to visit the hilltop towns in the tourist trails of Umbria and Tuscany. They include Assisi, Orvieto, Cortona, or Sienna. Or how about a day trip to Rome or Florence? Aside from these towns and cities however there are even more anonymous ones offering restaurants, markets, wineries, walks, churches, and other sights not included in the guidebooks. With a little sense of adventure and curiosity you will be rewarded with unforgettable experiences and wonderful memories. This page gives you suggestions to get you started in the hope that your explorations will take you even farther. Click for more...

Activities

Why not take a break from exploring the secrets of Umbria and Tuscany using one of our activities to better understand the local culture? Take a cooking course and learn how to make your own pasta or create that complete Italian dinner you've dreamt about. You could take Italian lessons or how about some art classes? We can even help you with getting married! All the activities are close to our rental properties and can be booked in conjunction with your accommodation.
Click for more...

Restaurant Reviews

Here is a list of our favourite restaurants in the area. There is nothing like a free lunch, so I will only give you their names and the town they are located in. It will be then up to you to find them. Do not get scared by our irony and have courage, because they are all worth a visit and the experience. You can start dieting when you get home, because when in Umbria, do like the Umbrians do. Live to eat, and not eat to live... Click for more...

Contact Us for more information on the area, properties, and bookings.