There is no rushing in Umbria. Lunches drift into balmy herb-scented afternoons and dinners begin at sunshine and end under a crown of stars. Chianti, made primarily from the Sangiovese grape, is an excellent accompaniment to the local specialties – straightforward, earthy food, seasoned with sage, rosemary and thyme. The black cockerel on the label of your Chianti Classico, the symbol of the once-powerful Lega di Chianti, hints at the culture to be enjoyed in these parts. This area was the source of endless conflict between the cities of Florence and Siena as each tried to claim it for their own. Hence – and luckily for us – the number of castles and fortified abbeys here and the determination of the locals to do things as they have always been done. Be captivated by the majestic Duomo in Florence or catch the bareback horse racing in Siena. Go to see the stunning Pietra della Francesco frescoes in Arezzo or linger in Greve during the wine festival. Venture out to dip your toes in the Mediterranean, or take the waters at Terme Tettuccio in the neo-classical pavilion where Fellini shot ‘8 ½’ in the early ‘60s. There’s nothing that Umbrians appreciate more than a visitor who appreciates Umbria. And whether it is culture, hedonism or simple relaxation that you’re here for, appreciation is easy.