I've recently returned from a long weekend in Italy. While on holiday from teaching, I reunited with a few friends, Tanira and Loris, who I met while in the Grand Caymans, who are temporarily staying in a town located in the Umbria region of Italy, called Terni. Terni is located just about two hours north of Rome and is nestled within and surrounded by large hills and mountains. Its a beautiful, quaint town where the people tend to grow up and remain most of their lives. Its incredibly and quintessentially Italian and just what I needed, a real, authentic Italian experience. While in Terni, I stayed at my friend Loris's Nonna's (grandmother) house. I was greeted with such warm welcome and by the end of my time there, she invited me to stay forever, "if I'd like."
The best part about staying in the Umbria region is there are endless amounts of small villages you can pass through and meander throughout. We didn't manage to see them all, but made quite the dent. I fell in love with Italy this time around. Even though I had previously visited Italy years back, I couldn't help but fall more in love with the perfect blue skies shining down on the rows of olive trees covering the hillsides, the dilapidated and worn down towns once used for movie sets to film the infamous Pinocchio, flowers adorning every windowsill, persimmon trees as far as the eye could see and The Dolomite mountains peaking out from a distance. It was a dream. The best vino I've had in ages where the tasting just so happen to be free! How could it get any better, you're asking? Well it did. I was staying with an Italian family and chef, who would make fresh bruschetta every morning and evening on their log fireplace, be served homemade espresso boiled from the kettle on the stove and pick oranges from the tree outback. It was a slower and much more simple way of living and I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it.
Civita De Bagno | Italy
The first town we visited was called Civita De Bagno or "the dying city" as Loris likes to call it. This town's buildings cling to the edge of the cliff that has been slowing eroding away over the years. Be prepared to walk, because there's no transportation to visit this village, but once you arrive, it's breathtaking. Beautiful architecture, flowers, unending views and cats strolling along the streets everywhere. It was definitely a perfect way to start the trip.
Orvieto | Italy
We arrived in the town of Orvieto, and were starving from all of our walking thus far. So we grabbed lunch and of course, what do you get when staying in the Umbria region...besides wine, anything with truffle, or a sandwich from a porchetta shop! So we ended up getting a truffle cheese panini from a porchetta shop. Perfecto! The umbria region is known to have incredible truffle mushrooms which are special to the region. Since I am obsessed with anything truffle, of course I bought a jar of whole truffles, along with truffle oil.
Spoleto | Italy
Spoleto, spoleto, spoleto...a town with such stunning architecture and alleyways, that one (aka: me) nearly couldn't make it through the town without stopping every 5 minutes to take a picture. Each building carefully detailed and painted with a different color, made me realize how much beauty there is around us. We walked through the town square which was getting decorated for the upcoming holidays, grabbed lunch at another trattoria where we ate more meat and cheese on the most beautiful charcuterie board I had ever seen. It was so big, it spanned the entire table.
Papigno | Italy
Pinocchio, the movie that put this town on the map. This movie was filmed in the town of Papigno. Papigno is one of the most magical villages I've ever been to. Small, but perfect. Old, but historic. I couldn't seem to understand how one small village could exude and hold so much beauty. Surrounded by mountains, next to olive tree fields and nearby the Marmore Falls, Papigno is a perfect place to getaway and enjoy the beauty in life. We walked around the town, weaving in a out of alleys, up and down stairs and greeting locals who wanted nothing but to provide us with advice on where to go and what to check out. This town, although your visit may be quick, is one not to miss.
Peidei Lugo | Italy
Only spending a few short hours here, wandering along the lakeside, feeling the chilly winter air, the town of Peidei Lugo was breathtaking. Known for being more of a summer town with beach and water activities on the lake, it still had a wonderful feeling to it, where you could take in the views of the Dolomites from a distance and grab a espresso from a local cafe. Umbria was nothing but incredible.
Cheers to Italy, friends and more travels to come!
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