‘Most relaxed’ hot air balloons lay back over Italy’s wine valley

Around 30 hot air balloons took to the skies in Italy as part of the “most relaxed” event on the international ballooning calendar. The balloons lifted off at sunrise and rose above the Sagrantino wine valley in Italy’s Umbria region.

“It’s a lovely way of seeing the world,” said Robin Mercer, a balloonist from Northern Ireland.

“It’s not like being in an airplane or a helicopter. You can look 360 degrees ... it is something really ... special.”

Since July 21, enthusiasts from across Europe have been competing in the third edition of the Sagrantino Italian International Balloon Challenge Cup, an event for which organizers limit the number of participants to keep it laidback and a “ballooning vacation” for those that take part.

The 10-day event, that includes a rich program of events at which participants get to sample local food and wine, ends Sunday, when the silver cup will be awarded to the winning team.

“You can go as low as the top of the trees or as high as the clouds and you have no idea where you are going to land,” said balloonist Andrew Laing from Scotland. “It’s a magical mystery tour.”
The Daily Star


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