Todi Hot Air Balloon Grand Prix Over Casale di Mele

For the last four years that we have spent the summer in Umbria, every July we’ve had the unique experience of having brilliantly colored hot air balloons flying by our house. After the first sighting of the balloons we learned that there was a hot air balloon festival that takes place for two weeks every July in Todi, which is a short drive from our farmhouses.

The balloons tend to take off quite early as the atmospheric conditions have to be just right, and depending on the day they may or may not pass by our house, but when they do fly by they are truly wonderful. This year, one balloon actually flew directly over our house about 7:30 in the morning causing me to grab my camera and race outside in my pj’s to take photos.

My husband posted a photo I took on facebook of the balloon flying over our house, and ended up being invited to join the balloons the following day for a ride by the President of the club who arranges this wonderful festival every year. In truth, I was invited too, but having a severe fear of heights I knew flying in a hot air balloon was not even a possibility and if I attempted to try, I would spend the entire flight sitting on the floor of the basket with my eyes closed.

My husband arrived in Todi very early and joined the team from Scotland for his first trip in a hot air balloon. Although there was a game of sorts the hot air balloons were to play that day, the Scottish team apparently opted out early, so decided to try and fly to our house instead.

The balloon flew right by our property, and ended up landing just down the street from us on a hill above the cemetery which was a truly glorious sight to see as shown in my photos. Apparently it is traditional to toast a successful flight with a glass of Proseco, so we hosted the hot air balloon family from Scotland at our house just after 8am for a glass of bubbly along with coffee and orange juice.

Information about the Todi Hot Air Balloon Festival-
The 2012 edition of the Todi International Balloon Grand Prix  takes place from July 8th to 22nd, 2012 from Ponte Naia and includes about 26 hot-air balloons from all over the globe. Each morning, the balloons will take flight from around 06:30, fly over Todi and then going north, toward Perugia, or south, toward Amelia.

In addition to the classic races, there will be a “Caccia alla Volpe” (“Paper Chase”), with all the hot-air balloons that will chase a colorful balloon left a quarter of an hour before the participants. On July 12th, 2012 just after sunset, 10 ballons will be in the old town centre (Piazza del Popolo) and along the walls of the City of Jacopone. The colorful balloons will be lit up, creating a magical experience for all.

Unpacking the balloon.

Inflating the balloon.

And they are off!

A balloon filled sky!

Flying towards Todi.

Todi as seen from the sky.

A bird’s eye view of Bella Umbria.

Flying towards our property.

Flying by our pool!

Our rental house gets a great view of the balloon.

Heading up to the hill & landing.

And they are down!

Deflating the balloon before they head down to our house to celebrate.

Deborah Mele
July 2012


  1. Amazing pictures these! It must be such a wonderful sight (and rush) to see these balloons pass by overhead!

  2. I absolutely loved these photos! I especially appreciated the picturesque views of the Umbrian countryside. I miss Italy so! I have not been there in 28 years and these photos truly pulled at my heart strings…

    You have such a lovely home Deborah, I am sure that you genuinely enjoy doing what you do!



  3. How wonderful! Reading this post gave me a lot of joy this morning. Did your husband enjoy his ride? (My guess is yes.)

  4. Thanks again for the wonderful pictures of the colourful balloons, matched only by the beautiful views of the countryside. We have a baloon festival here on the long weekend in September with colourful and many paint can, Mounted Police on horseback, cartoon characters, and other various shaped baloons, and with the trees starting to change colours, but still, not the wonderfuld views showing in these.

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