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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Narni

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More from around the villa

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Figs, from the villa

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Porchetta!

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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…