Last weekend I was in Umbria thanks to #aciascunoilsuofrantoioto discover hidden gems through their oil, their treasure. I visited the small hamlet of Giano dell’Umbria and felt in love with it!
Giano, where the time stopped by
This small hamlet is located on top of a hill covered with centuries-old olive trees. It dates back to ancient times as attested by a Roman Villa in the area of Toccioli and by the Romanesque Abbey of San Felice.
Its names comes probably from Janus, important Roman God of the beginnings and transitions, that was usually depicted with two faces since he was looking to the future and to the past at the same time.
The center preserves its medieval look with stone houses and narrow streets, as well as three ancient gates enclosed in the defensive walls. On top there is the main square where stands the 12th-13th century Town Hall with a characteristic crenellated tower, the Church of San Michele Arcangelo and the Church of Madonna delle Grazie.
Outside the walls there is the Church of San Francesco, dating back to 13th century that preserves rich decorations, as well as incredible inlaid marble altars and a 14th century Crucifix from Cimabue school. Next to the Church there is the former convent of San Francesco, that was one of the first in Umbria.
The olive trees and the oil
Giano is famous for its centuries-old olive trees, as the famous olive tree of Macciano that is more than one thousand years old. Thanks to a particular micro climate here grows the San Felice olive tree that gives an harmonic fruity flavor to oil. I was really stunned from the beauty of its surroundings and landscapes! Everything was so green and peaceful.
The municipality of Giano is on the DOP Oil Route of Umbria and on the Sagrantino Wine route. As a matter of fact in the restaurants and farmhouses you can find local oil and wine, as well as other local products as chickpeas, spelt and lentils.
If you visit Giano during the olive harvest I recommend you visit one of the many olive mills producing a great oil.
Where to eat
In Giano there is an enchanting place called Gianoteca Ristoro run by Ernesto de Matteis, a former professional photographer who felt in love Giano and decided to retire here. Gianoteca is a place where you can have a snack or a quick lunch, tasting local products. You can also relax and have a chat with Ernesto that will be glad to advise you about the area.
For a great meal you can stop at Del Quondam Farmhouse near Montecchio, few kilometers from Giano. This family-run restaurant is excellent for tasting local food, wine and oil. Pasta is home made, as well as bread, jams and cakes. Most of the products, as well as the meat, are produced by the farm. We really had a great meal! The farmhouse offers also cozy holidays apartments for rent.
Another lovely place to have a great meal is at Hosteria 4 piedi e 8.5 pollici in Bastardo, few kilometers from Giano. It’s a dreaming restaurant and the walls are sketched with Comics’ and Disneys characters and the atmosphere is cozy and welcoming. You can eat local food and home made cakes. Laura, the owner, will welcome you with her big and warm smile!