Umbria has been called the land of mysticism where the lives of saints like Francis and Clare of Assisi combine with vestiges of Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance art and history to create a setting where a gastronomic palate is rich with layers of food and wine from Italy’s Green Heart. In Umbria you can taste and travel among the rolling green plains of the River Tiber or on the edge of the tufa cliffs of Orivieto. The food will always be exceptional. Although one of the smallest regions of Italy, Umbrian food is big on flavor with bold and rustic dishes and rare ingredients hidden in the shadows of ancient forests.
Taste travelers in the know have always been drawn to this region of Italy. 899 years ago German Bishop Johann DeFuk was on his way to Rome. The Bishop’s steward was sent ahead in search of local inns and producers that served the best wine so that the oenophilic Bishop could be alerted as to where he might taste the most exceptional wines of the region. Any places found to be particularly good were to be marked with the Latin word “Est” meaning “Here it is “. As the Bishop followed the route of his steward, he stopped at each place marked with “Est”. As legend has it, just past Orvieto, at an inn near the town of Montefiascone the superlative “Est! Est! Est!” appeared on the door of a local wine grower and the Bishop traveled no further. Some say he dropped dead on the spot after drinking too much of a good thing. Others say that he lived out his days in the town of Montefiascone happily drinking his favorite wine until the time of his death when he was then buried in the church of San Flaviano, outside the walls of Montefiascone with the following inscription on his tomb
Est, Est, Est. Propter nimium est,
(hic) Jo(hannes) De Fuk. D(ominus) meus mortuus est.
Roughly translated to mean “My Lord, Johnannes died here because of too much “Est”. According to some accounts DeFuk willed all his belongings to the town council on the condition that each year a barrel of wine be poured over his tomb, a practice observed until about a century ago.