The sleepy old town of Torgiano, 15km (9 1/3 miles) south of Perugia via the E45, is celebrated for its fine wines, considered the best in Umbria. (The town produces one of just two DOCG wines in Umbria, and Montefalco produces the other.) The top label is the complex red Rubesco Riserva, produced by the local estates of the Fondazione Lungarotti (, whose vintages were formulated by contemporary wine guru Giorgio Lungarotti. Although he used modern techniques and experimental methods to concoct his excellent reds and vin santo, Lungarotti was also in touch with the region's oenological roots and founded a Museo del Vino (Wine Museum), in the Palazzo Baglioni at Corso Vittorio Emanuele 31 (tel. 075-988-0200; It's one of the best didactic collections of its kind (perhaps the only one, come to think of it), fascinating even for those mildly interested in viticulture. Admission includes a hand-held audiovisual guide in English. It's open daily from 10am to 1pm and 3 to 6pm (until 7pm in summer). There's no actual wine here. For that, go next door to the Lungarotti-owned Osteria del Museo (daily 8am-1pm and 2-6:30pm, 7pm in summer),where everything from the basic, slightly fizzy white Brezza to the San Giorgio is all good.

The Museo dell'Olivo e dell'Olio, Via Garibaldi 10 (tel. 075-988-0300;, a short walk across the old town, continues the agricultural theme; displays include an illuminating collection of ancient olive oil lamps. It follows the same hours as the wine museum (though it is usually closed on Tuesday), and tickets also cost the same. To visit wineries in the area, check the tourist office at Piazza della Repubblica 9 (tel. 075-988-6037 or


Another 5km (3 miles) down the road from Torgiano is a ceramic production center that has been one of Italy's most famous since the 14th century, the crafts town of Deruta. The small tourist office in Piazza dei Consoli (tel. 075-971-1559) has some good info and maps. It's usually open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm (with a break for lunch), and Monday 10am to 1pm.

Large modern factories now crank out huge numbers of assembly-line plates, bowls, and vases in traditional colors and patterns, and that is what's hawked behind the plate-glass windows of the large showrooms forming a phalanx along the new town's main drag below the highway. The merchandise is usually pretty good quality, but if you explore the back roads in the Old Town, you can find true artisans hand-painting ceramics they've tossed on foot-powered wheels. Our favorites are the traditionalists Deruta Placens, with shops at Via B. Michelotti 25 (tel. 075-972-277) and Via Umberto I 16 (tel. 075-972-4027); and Miriam, where at Marcella Favaroni's Via Umberto I 15 shop (tel. 075-971-1452) she paints vividly colorful and intricate patterns at half the prices most shops charge. Her husband's shop at Piazza dei Consoli 26 (tel. 075-971-1210) carries more traditional pieces and quality Renaissance reproductions. To get a sense of the evolution of ceramics, visit the extensive Museo Regionale della Ceramica (Regional Museum of Ceramics), Largo San Francesco (tel. 075-971-1000;, which houses a precious collection of Deruta ceramics of various periods from the Middle Ages to the 1930s. June through September, it's open daily from 10:30am to 1pm and 3 to 8pm; October through March, hours are  10:30am to 1pm and 2:30 to 5pm. Admission is 7€ adults; 5€ ages 15 to 25 and seniors 65 and over; 2€ ages 7 to 14; and free for children 6 and under.

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