Umbria is the center of Italy.  Hillsides are filled with grapevines and olive trees as well as homes ancient and modern. Towns cling to hillsides and hilltops. You will not see this kind of thing unless you venture out into the countryside of Italy.  The hilltop positions were located as a means of defense as are many medieval hubs at summits. As you enter the gates of these towns and venture through these ancient walls it is like walking through a time warp and ending 400-800 years in the past. All of the ancient, narrow lane towns have one way roads, one going up and another one going down. To get through walking any of these ancient wonders is a good huffing and a puffing. Your legs will feel quite rubbery the next day, but after three days you are a perfected walking machine. After discovering these lovely towns there is as great sense of satisfaction and you feel you have had a front row seat into history.The countryside of Italy is quaint, ancient, modern and one of God’s great treasures. We have never had better Italian food. I learned something about keeping it in my mind and will practice at home.There is a taste of near Godliness in this food and re-creating it will b a culinary challenge.  We are fortunate today to be able to take a tour into the countryside far afield. Let us begin.

Montefalco is a place that uplifts your spirits and you absolutely must taste the local wine which is called: Sagrantino and another local wine for tasting is Passito. Wine and the production of Olive oil is basic to this region.

Photos are: Montefalco from the road, the entry gate and the area.

Spoleto: You have all hopefully had Spaghetti Carbonara, but never like that dish that was served to us in a quaint restaurant on a little antiquated alley in Spoleto. The bowl of special soup with mushrooms and barley was wonderful as well, but the Spaghetti Carbonara caught the ummm’s and ahhhh’s. The chef spoke no English and we speak no Italian, but we all got our messages across to each other. The chef was so happy we were happy, she kept coming out of the kitchen with a wink and a smile. We kept winking and smiling back. We were the only diners and it was special that she cooked fresh food just for us. Mama Mia, YUM!  I am going to copy that dish, and don’t think it will ever be the same.

This is Trevi hanging onto the hillside: It is truly lovely isn’t it?

My favorite discovery was the glorious town of Assisi. Of course the great draw is the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi ( St. Francis of Assisi) and is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order plus the birthplace of St. Francis.  We visited his tomb in the lower church and in the upper church with 51 stairs leading to the viewing of the frescoes by many medieval painters. Because of the church, the town of Assisi is the most frequented town in Umbria and has become more modern. There is the medieval section of Assisi, and the new part of town which is separated by a vast area of farmland. It is beautiful and fascinating.

The  photos are of the Basillica, the floating father( loved getting this shot of him floating down the stairs) and the farmland that separates the old and new Assisi.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. JoAnn
    Feb 19, 2011 @ 09:37:48

    Thanks for bringing the excitement and beauty of all your adventures to us..
    Hugs, Jo Ann


  2. Shelly V.
    Feb 19, 2011 @ 17:39:31

    Hi Sheila and Skip,
    spoke to Ellen Slaett tonight.
    She told me you were in italy and mentioned your blog – so here I am writing to you. I’m enjoying your stories and photos. Sounds like you’re eating well, walking a lot, and having some memorable times. Italy is a beautiful, charming land. In fact, Tom and I and our daughter Lisa, her hubby, Tim, and Jonathan (15) and Samantha (soon 5) are going there in June. We’ll visit some place we’ve been before -Aosta (north), Pisa, Florence, etc- and others for the first time like Cinque Terre. Should be fun. We’ve rented a house betwen Siena and Florence which will be a first for us. I’ll keep checking your blog which sometimes makes me chuckle. I know you’re having a wonderful time.
    Ciao for now.


    • Sheila Clapkin
      Feb 21, 2011 @ 13:25:16

      Your comments make me feel so happy I wrote about our adventures, and your planned adventures with the children will be just wonderful. YOu have a perfect plan. Love to wonderful you and wonderful, Tom.
      We are in Sicily now and then it is Malta.


  3. Helene Lustig
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 17:32:25

    Hi Sheila,
    I really enjoyed your trip to Italy. I have been to most of the “must see” places but your pics and descripton of those beautiful villages and towns made me feel that I certainly have missed a great deal by not visiting the countryside. I will include them in my next trip to Italy ( whenever that may be) and will only eat lunch in bakeries!



    • Sheila Clapkin
      Feb 21, 2011 @ 13:22:30

      I am so happy to hear from you. We are still on the road and now it is Sicily, I love! Next we will go, God Willing to
      Malta. There is so much unrest in the world. It is scary. See you soon.


  4. Keith Anderson
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 17:26:32

    I’m so glad that you can travel and then express yourself so exquisitely in the digital format. Reading your stories on this blog are truly inspiring and downright fun! Enjoy the rest of your trip.



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