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Dog_Mother Apr 2nd, 2003 09:23 AM

Best of Umbria - please contribute!
Hello, would you help compile a Best of Umbria posting? Here are some categories for us to address. Feel free to add others.<BR><BR>In your experience, what was:<BR><BR>1. The best hilltown<BR>2. The best car drive<BR>3. The best church<BR>4. The best piazza<BR>5. The best purchase<BR>6. The best event<BR>7. The best encounter with the local people<BR>8. The best dining experience (including picnics)<BR><BR>I'm going to be there late May/early June--and hope to experience some of the things you will post. Thank you!

HowardR Apr 2nd, 2003 09:28 AM

Not actually responding to your questions, but....Put Assisi at the top of your list. Our day there was a high point on our Tuscany/Umbria visit.<BR>Included in the experience was a delightful stay at Castel San Gregorio (a real castle) just ourside of Assisi.<BR>Also atop our list was a stop in Orvieto.

DRJ Apr 2nd, 2003 10:01 AM

Having spent a week in Umbria eight times in the past five years, I offer the following:<BR><BR>Most picturesque hilltown: Trevi<BR>Favorite hilltown: Spello<BR>Best church: St. Francis, Assisi<BR>Since I've spent so much time there, my favorite piazza must be the main square in Bevagna.<BR>Best purchase: Twelve bottles of 2002 olive oil from le Case Gialle, Gualdo Catanio.<BR>I have friends in Feligno who are my &quot;best encounter&quot;. Twelve course Sunday pranzi!<BR>Faavorite dining: Taverna del Pescatore, Pigge (a &quot;suburb&quot; of Trevi). Go there on a sunny day for lunch and eat outside. Unforgettable.<BR>Buon viaggio e ciao.<BR><BR><BR>

Dog_Mother Apr 2nd, 2003 10:26 AM

We spent one long day in Umbria last year--going to Assisi--so I can answer at least one of my own &quot;Best of&quot; questions. <BR><BR>DRJ: Collecting outstanding olive oil is something I plan to<BR> do. Can you give me specifics about the oil you bought? Where? Website?<BR><BR>My best encounter with Italians last year: We were in the souvenir shop in Assisi where the old WWII printing press is. The man who owns it speaks very little English and, while somewhat helpful when I asked to see his St. Francis figurines with St. F. and the wolf, was not very warm or cordial. He showed me a few figurines without the wolf, and I made it clear I wanted the wolf in it. I then took out a photo of my own dog, showed it to him and said, &quot;mi cane&quot;. His face lit up like a Christmas tree--and he began to tell me about HIS dog. We passed the dictionary back and forth several times to communicate different aspects about our (obviously) beloved pets. Then, I asked him to take a photo of my husband and me in front of his printing press. He went to the back and got a step stool for him to climb up on, he arranged us exactly the way he thought we should be--climbing down, repositioning us, climbing back up, etc.--and took several pictures. It was the most delightful interchange--and all because I showed him a picture of my dog. I'll never leave home without it! <BR><BR>I think I'll take a picture of the figurine with my dog, print it, and give it to him if we go back to Assisi this year. I think he might get a kick out of that. I know I will!

bobthenavigator Apr 2nd, 2003 11:29 AM

For great input on Umbria go to There are several ex-pats living in Umbria on that board. As for me, I love Spello as a village, but the basilica San Francesco is not to be missed. Or course, see Orvieto going or coming. We shopped Deruta, but she bought in Spello.

pfeldman Apr 2nd, 2003 12:10 PM

Having spent only a week in Umbria, I'm not qualified to answer all your questions, but we took an incredibly beautiful drive which started in Montefalco, where we were staying, continued through a valley called the Valnerina (which runs along the Nera river), past the village of Norcia, and up into the Sibilini mountains. The high point of the drive (and one of the most beautiful moments of my life) was our descent out of a screen of mist and into a view of the Piano Grande, an otherworldly plain set amidst the ring of steep mountainsides. If you are going in spring or summer, I hear the Piano Grande is covered with wildflowers. The whole drive took us one morning. Highly recommended.

luigi Apr 2nd, 2003 04:39 PM

Hi Dog Mother: We spent a week in Umbria 3 yrs. ago and loved every minute there. Here goes my list:<BR><BR>Best hilltown: Spello; do lunch or dinner at Il Trombone, which has a nice patio overlooking the countryside. We heard from our Italian hosts that Todi was wonderful, but unfortunatley, time did not allow us to visit there.<BR>Best car drive was to Norcia; lovely scenery!<BR>Best church was Orvieto's Duomo; do not miss the frescoes by Signorelli. We also had a great lunch at Trattoria La Grotta there-very near the Duomo.<BR>Best purchase was Derutan Pottery; bought it in Il Baiocco in Spello-great selection &amp; good prices.<BR>The best encounter with people was staying in the upstairs apartment of a couple in Bosco, a town near Perugia. They were wonderful to us, treating us to vegetables and lemons from their garden/trees, cooking a lovely dinner for us, giving us restaurant and sites recommendations, all in limited English! They treated us so graciously and would have done anything they could to help us. They truly exemplified that spirit of the Italian people.<BR>Best dining experience was in a Fred Plotkin recommended restaurant called Tric Trac in Spoleto. If you are facing the Duomo there, the restaurant is in that &quot;piazza&quot; to your right! The owner speaks wonderful English and he and his staff literally fell over themselves to serve us. At the end of a great meal, he brought us a 1997 dessert wine, a dessert sampler, and roasted chestnuts, gratis! He was so thrilled to know he was in Plotkin's book and even e-mailed me to help him find a copy!<BR>I know you will find Umbria to be as enchanting as we did; have a wonderful trip! PS heading to Venice Friday for vacation.

LN Apr 2nd, 2003 05:29 PM

I see that others have the same feelings I have for Assisi. When we were there we stayed at the Hotel Subasio. The hotel was right next to the parking lot for San Francesco basilico. This was such a delightful, old-world hotel that had everything I could ever imagine! We opened the windows and saw that we overlooked the entire valley - oh beautiful! We went to dinner there and found that their chefs prepared foods better than any we had eaten in DC, MD or NY. <BR><BR>We left for Rome and about two hours down the road we learned that Assisi had hit with a terrible earthquake and much had been destroyed! The church and the hotel have been rebuilt to their former beauty.<BR><BR>One day we'll eturn to this lovely little town.

maitaitom Apr 2nd, 2003 05:46 PM

The Best Hilltown - Todi (authentic and non-touristy). <BR>The Best Church - another vote for St. Francis, Assisi.<BR>The Best Piazza - Mike (it is baseball season, you know).<BR>The Best Event - Every night at the hotel with my wife. Italy is very romantic, even if you're married.<BR>The Best Encounter with the Local People - Trying to explain to the guard at the church in Orvieto (who was trying to throw me out) that it was somebody else who took a flash picture inside (true). I did convince him, by the way. <BR>The Best Dining Experience - La Badia, a 12th century abbey that we stayed for two nights had two of the nicest dinners we had in 18 days in Italy. But we didn't have a bad meal anywhere.

Athena39 Apr 2nd, 2003 08:00 PM

My vote for &quot;Best Event&quot; has to be the Infiorata in Spello for the Festival of Corpus Domini on the first Sunday in June. The week before, all the people in the town gather flowers and the petals are sorted into boxes by color. Every evening before the event, you can see whole families out on the stoop, plucking and sorting flower petals. On the day of the Infiorata festival, they make carpets on the streets of Spello with the petals -- incredibly beautiful and intricate religious paintings. It's an amazing and sight. Visit this web page to see an example of the &quot;carpets.&quot;<BR>

Dog_Mother Apr 2nd, 2003 08:14 PM

Hi,Athena,<BR><BR>As luck would have it, we will be in Umbria on the first Sunday in June!!! We will go see this event.<BR><BR>We were in Cinque Terre last year on first Sunday in June, and this was a great event for us in Vernazza.<BR><BR>Thank you so much for mentioning this, I've put it on my calendar already.<BR><BR>Dog Mother

Melissa Apr 2nd, 2003 09:21 PM

I also cast another vote for the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.

DRJ Apr 3rd, 2003 06:38 AM

Dog Mother:<BR>Le Case Gialle is a group of five apartments owned by Silvana and Mauro Colonna a few km from Gualdo Cataneo, which is a dozen km from Bevagna. In November 2002, Mauro won an a nationwide organic olive oil competition entered by over 3,000 farms. (You can drink it from the bottle.) We sells his oil for 10 euro per 3/4 liter bottle (CHEAP!) and will ship to the US for another 10 euro. They have a website.

Lorenzi Apr 3rd, 2003 09:55 AM

1) Spello - still very medival, small intimate, pretty views , and at darkness spokky &amp; mysterious 2) Like other have written, the drive east to Norcia, in the bottom of the river valley with flowers blooming, the little river/brook. Also a vacant town , Pizzelli, damaged in the 97 eathquake, very interesting exploration 3) Assisi - San Francesco<BR>4) Norcia's the hills imposing on the little piazza with San Bend. statue &amp; church / the steps of the Duomo in Todi main piazza 5) ceramics, to various to describe 6 ) ? 7) owner of a lil pizzaria in Bevagna, we were the last 2 leave, when we declined dolce he brought us Molinari anissette drinks. When We thanked him &amp; then toasted to him in Itailian he then brought out the bottle and we had several drinks talking &amp; sharing in halted English &amp; Italian 8) Ristorante Umbria in Todi. Sitting out on the terrace overlooking the beautifulf countryside with trellis's of roses around the terrace, then there is the very good food with a very friendly staff

Dog_Mother Feb 22nd, 2004 04:09 PM

Topping for more input for another trip.

annabelle2 Feb 22nd, 2004 07:07 PM

church: another vote for Assisi's Basilica of St Francis, especially, for me, the small room with his tomb. Very moving and mysterious and peaceful.

piazza: late at night in the main piazza in Perugia -- a fun international student scene (and I haven't been a student for years! A favorite night of our trip.)

Ronda Feb 22nd, 2004 07:21 PM

Interesting thread - thanks.

kmjmmm Apr 4th, 2004 03:02 PM

Umbria, Spello, Orvieto
I was pleased to see Spello on many lists. The Green guide only rates it as interesting. I believe the Corpus Domini festival is June 13th this year (second Sunday in June). I have a question: There are three towns where the Corpus Domini has a large celebration: Orvieto, with a parade of Women Saturday night and a very famous parade Sunday (400 costumes-from the Duomo). Spello: The paths of flowers and Bolsena which also has paths of flowers. One cannot be in all three places. Bolsena is close to Orvieto but 1.5 hrs from Spello. Where should one go? Where should one stay?
I'm leaning toward seeing the procession saturday in Orvieto and staying in Spello. Has anyone stayed in Spello? I have researched the internet throughly and there are lists of places but I have only found one site with a short description. Which one? Del Teatro or La Bastiglia? Both have high prices on Sat. &amp; Sun nights.
Or should I stay in or near Orveito and see the flowers in Bolsena?
Has anyone been this event?

jamikins Apr 4th, 2004 04:30 PM

We only went to Assisi but cant wait to get back! I would say that the best purchase we made was some local art from an art store. We also picked up some lovely balsamic vinegar

Judi Apr 4th, 2004 05:19 PM

I love Spello! One of my favorite hotels in Italy is the Palazzo Bocci and I had one (actually two) of my best meals at La Bastiglia. It is such a sweet little town.

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