An Italian entrepreneur has achieved his dreams of importing the 'finest food and drink' from Umbria to Cumbria.

Marco Rapaccini, co-founder of Umbria Green Heart, has made his home near Kendal.

The 29-year-old Umbria native now seeks to establish further partnerships with Cumbrian restaurants, hotels, delis and producers.

“Setting up this company has always been my dream,” said Marco. “I believe that food and drink bring people together and that they are central to our health, our environment and our future.”

The title 'Green Heart of Italy' belongs to Umbria, located at the core of Italy and famed for its unspoilt green landscape.

Mr Rapaccini remarked on the striking similarities between his homeland and Cumbria including the beautiful scenery, thriving agriculture, hospitality sector, and of course, the genuine people.

Software engineer Marco and his friend and co-founder of the business, Davide Guerrieri, both grew up in Foligno, a market town in Umbria.

“We select, import and sell the best-quality products Umbria can offer and only from producers we personally know and who we can trust,” said Marco, who lives in Burneside with his partner, daughter, and step-daughter.

Umbria Green Heart imports wines like the Montefalco Sagrantino red and Orvieto white.

They also bring in an assortment of truffles, cured meats, and dried pasta.

Marco is affectionately known in Burneside as 'the olive oil guy', handing out samples of the produce and revealing his passion for extra virgin olive oil, which is another import of the company.

“We want to establish more partnerships with Cumbrian companies, because we know they and local people are knowledgeable about good food and drink,” he said. “We are looking to form partnerships with premium restaurants, hotels and delicatessens, as well as producers who want to offer their customers something new.

“Together we could deliver experiences which highlight both Cumbrian and Umbrian produce. For example, we could work with a Cumbrian artisan bakery and provide extra virgin olive oil and put on a bruschetta event or partner with an amazing Cumbria beef producer and together sell its beef paired with our red wine from Umbria.”

Another idea in the pipeline is to develop an online shop and offer welcome boxes containing their food and drink produce for the local holiday letting market.

In time, Umbria Green Heart hopes to reciprocate by exporting Cumbrian food and drinks to Umbria, and foster a long term relationship with both regions.

The Taste Cumbria festival, in Cockermouth, was the first opportunity for locals to sample Marco’s imported goods.

“Davide and I manned a stall and it was a huge success,” said Mr Rapaccini. “We almost sold out of our supplies of wild boar salami and people loved our wine and extra virgin olive oil.

“We shall be meeting the people of Cockermouth again at the Taste Cumbria Christmas festival on the weekend of Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10.”

The company's ethos focuses on contributing high-quality products while showing respect for the environment and people.

The businessman explained: “We don’t believe in bulk imports because we don’t think that is sustainable for the environment and for the nature which has given us these products. We import only pre-ordered products in order to avoid food waste.”

Any local businesses interested in getting in touch can do so by emailing