Porchetta-Umbrian street food

The scent of roasted pork with a hint of rosemary arrives before the porchetta truck comes into view. Rounding the corner I find the source of the mouth-watering aroma—a large, roasted pig, stuffed with herbs, sprawled across the vehicle’s clean plastic counter. I’m not a fan of animals displayed in this fashion, however, I am a fan of good pork products, so I choose to ignore the head and feet, focusing only on the center and the fresh golden brown rolls stacked in the corner. As a large, cheerful, rosy-cheeked man, clad in a white apron, slices thin slivers of pork, his companion opens up the a roll and places the meat inside, making a savory sandwich, just for me.

Umbrian Porchetta

Porchetta trucks are a familiar sight in central Italy, especially on market day. A beloved street food, porchetta is made by stuffing fatty, moist boneless pork, mixed with rosemary, garlic and fennel, into a pig’s carcass and roasting it on a spit over a wood burning stove for hours. The slow cooking leaves the meat flavorful and juicy, and the sandwich delicious.

Sandwich Making

It’s market day in Umbertide, a small, modern town in central Umbria (the old town was bombed during WWII), and it seems like the entire population is in attendance, bartering over just picked produce and large assortments of homemade salamis and cheeses. It’s the place to shop, eat and catch up on local gossip.

Cheese Truck

The town’s main square is full of fruit and vegetable vendors. Piles of porcini and crimini mushrooms, which are now in season, overflow from wicker baskets next to everyday staples such as onions, tomatoes and celery. Persimmons and apples, as well as assorted fall squash, add color to the displays of lettuce and cabbage.

Onions & Garlic, Umbertide Market

The market starts early in the morning when a number of large trucks drive up and start unloading their wares. Vendors set up shop directly in front of their vehicles, creating aisles for shoppers to peruse. Besides the famed fruits, vegetables, honey, homemade jams, and just-pressed olive oils, there’s cookware, clothing, linens, and even hardware.


With my porchetta sandwich devoured in a few minutes flat, I have time to wander the aisles and enjoy the liveliest day in town. Whether sampling local Pecorino cheeses or choosing just the right hand-knitted sweater, market day is always entertaining and no one goes away hungry.

Bon Appetito!

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One Response to “Porchetta-Umbrian street food”

  1. Joyce Kuzneski Says:

    Hi Kris,

    Looking thru some of your different sites and pictues and found this one of Kara eating a porchetta sandwich. Can’t wait until she see it. I actually burst out laughing. Brought back some great memories.


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