A Month in Umbria

How do I even begin to tell the story of our 4 weeks in Umbria?

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Todi just before sunset

Rome & Florence were easy, by comparison. First, they were shorter… just a few days each. And, we did lots of the normal things… see the amazing architecture, visit the museums, eat lots of yummy food. In Umbria, I suppose, we did a lot of that too.

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scenes from around our Villa, a few km outside of Narni

But we did it all over Umbria… we put about 4,800 kilometers on our rental car. And we saw things that we would never see if we had only spent a week.

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We saw the Dunarobba petrified forest, full of million year old Sequoia-like trees, that was discovered by a mining company. We rafted down a river (learning quite a bit of “rafting Italian” in the process), crossing under 1st century Roman bridges. We kept being amazed each time drove by yet another ancient town on a hilltop. We found small, local wineries with amazing bottles of Sagrantino for less than 10€. We picked figs from the fig tree right out our bedroom door.

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around Norcia

We took a cooking class on a hillside outside Assisi, and toasted with homemade Prosecco and limoncino. We shaved fresh summer truffles from the local norcineria over freshly made manfricoli from the local pasta shop. We soaked up the sun on a beach in Le Marche, and visited the towns of Cam’s great grandmother and grandfather. We watched Prince Caspian, in Italian, in the village square in Narni(a).

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More from around the villa

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Figs, from the villa

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Cooking class at Alla Madonna del Piatto

We hiked up and got drenched by a man-made waterfall… one that gets “turned off” at night. We sipped espresso a the geographic center of Italy. We walked across an ancient Roman bridge. We drove on roads that sheep might have had a hard time navigating. We got to ride in a tow truck. We toured Narni’s underground, and stood in chambers and cells that were used during the Inquisition. We saw the crypt of St. Francis. We feasted on gelato at the sagra della gelato and steak at the sagra della bistecca.

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Sagra della Gelato in Massa Martana and Sagra della Bistecca in Cortona

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Scenes from around Assisi

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Typical Umbrian Fare

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Paolo Bea Winery

We sat and looked at the view of the green heart of Italy, and read a book or three. We ate from porchetta trucks. We went for runs in 85F along the country roads and hills, giving thanks for each shady spot and the soaking pool back at the villa. We had more gelato. We shopped in the local markets. We had a fantastic tour of our favorite winery.

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We sat on the steps and watched the world go by. In other words, we had a great time. I recommend everyone find a way to do this at least once in your lifetime.

I know I promised a recipe with this post… but I think this post is a long enough as it is! So, a recipe, featuring my new favorite Italian ingredient, will be along next time. Can you guess what it is? Here’s a hint… there is only one photo of it in this post…

  • http://familyfriendsandfood.blogspot.com patsyk

    Your pictures make me long to go there myself! Simply breathtaking – especially, the simple pictures that look like they are right out of a travel magazine. What an incredible trip! Thanks, so much, for sharing a bit of it with us now that you are back!

  • http://www.erincooks.com Erin

    So lovely! It looks like a movie set. Everything is so breathtaking. I hope you’ll write and share more from this trip.

  • Margaret

    Your photos are breathtaking and amazing. They show the beauty and the wonderful time you had while there. What kind of camera are you using?

  • Nat


  • http://www.helengraves.co.uk Helen

    Oh my goodness, what truly stunning photos. I absolutely must visit. That post really took me away for a few minutes.

  • http://www.lacuinavermella.blogspot.com Lacuinavermella


  • http://shewhoeats.blogspot.com/ chika

    Simply breathtaking. Seriously. I’ve been to Italy several times and have always enjoyed my visits, but I’ve never done Umbria. I must be missing out!

    Your new favorite ingredient… would that be Italian plums? Pomgranates(?)?? Looking forward to coming back to check! Thanks for sharing your great experience.

  • http://tokyoastrogirl.blogspot.com/ tokyoastrogirl

    Wow. Absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for making me feel like I was there.

  • http://www.latartinegourmande.com/ Bea

    Really beautiful Lara. We can sense how lovely the vacation was through your gorgeous pictures!

  • http://jdeq.typepad.com Jerry

    What a fabulous post – I can’t wait to get to Umbria – it is our ‘next’ planned Italian destination.

  • http://www.marriedwithdinner.com Anita / Married …with Dinner

    gorgeous indeed. wow. glad I put off reading this post until I had time to fully digest it 😀

  • http://atdownunder.wordpress.com Vanille @ Down Under

    Great pictures ! Really want to visit Umbria afterwards…

  • http://teaandcookies.blogspot.com Tea


    The next best thing to actually having been there myself, is getting to experience it through your gorgeous photos.

  • http://www.ciberkuoka.blogspot.com Cibercuoca

    What a fabulous post . Thank

  • http://hande.wordpress.com/ Hande

    Lovely pics! So glad you had so much time to see and do all this. And the secret ingredient gotta be: guanciale! It is MY secret ingredient!

  • http://jugalbandi.info bee

    thank you, lara. it was a wonderful virtual your.

  • Cindy

    What a wonderful month. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.com barbara

    Oh Lara, how wonderful. I felt like I was there with you.

  • http://www.serendipitysynchronicityandsaffron.com Pia

    The pictures, honestly took my breath away.
    Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us.

  • Stephni

    We just spent four weeks in Calabritto a small village close to Salerno. We were there for a family wedding and with the time spent with the family in London we were away from home (in South Africa) for 6 weeks! We’ve decided we should go away this long every 5 years (and if it could be to Italy even better!). While it is very hard to get back into a work routine we are relaxed and recharged like we haven’t been in years. Now we just have to deal with missing the tomatoes, ricotta, blood orange juice, the seafood pickle salad, gelato and salami.

  • http://www.veryeasykitchen.blogspot.com marie

    One of my favourite city is in Umbria and i prefer Umbria to Toscania. I just took a coffee in Todi on the road between Perugia and Roma, few hours before the finale of the Mundial Word football cup (France lost, Italian won), it was simply marvellous and quiet. i love your pictures.

  • Angela

    Wow. Makes me so homesick for Italy! Spent a month in the same area in 2006. Yes everyone should definitely go! It changes you…at least it did me. Thank you for your photo journal. Brought back dome lovely memories. Ciao.

  • Angela

    Plums? Pomegranates? White Truffles?

  • http://nickchan.net Nick Chan

    I love your photos a lot. I had never knew about Umbria until I came across this. It’s just feel so calm, peace and relax. Seems like it’s a great hideout from the busy and hectic big city.

  • http://www.sustainablefoodforthought.blogspot.com Bethany

    Thanks for such a brilliant peek into the world through your eyes… Very refreshing on this chilly Tuesday afternoon!

  • http://www.habzsi-dozsi@blogspot.com Nóra

    I spent one month in Unbria some years ago. Checking out your photos I feel I must go back. It is a wonderful place. Thank you a lot for giving me back my lovely memories for a few minutes trough your pictures.