The Traditions of the Etruscans
A large part of the Umbrian region was affected firstly by the Etruscan civilisation and then the following Roman civilisation. This civilisation is still evident today and strongly influences the cooking that is distinguished by the abundant use of pulses and cereals, above all wheat and pearl barley which are the base of many ancient recipes, surviving thanks to the particular traditional roots of the people of this region. As an example there is the dish of Etruscan origins that is still present on many menùs, the «maccheroni con le noci» (macaroni pasta with nuts). Macaroni pasta with a sauce made from nuts, honey, breadcrumbs and salt. It is a typical dish throughout Umbria which is eaten on the eve of the Saints and also on Christmas Eve, today sometimes it is enriched with a little cocoa powder.
Such a decisive rooting of traditions came about, most probably, by the fact that for many centuries it was a place of many factions and work of sharecropping made for social and cultural isolation determined by the, very few, locations of rural homes and by the lack of adequate infrastructure. It missed out on innovative contacts and consequently there persisted very old culinary habits.