LeMarche/Umbria/Tuscany: Catch-up Post #4

So . . . Friday, October 12, a beautiful day (we could have used that sunshine while we were searching for property with a lovely view in the countryside!) and we pointed our car southwest toward Assisi, another new town for us. We arrived there in the early afternoon, parked near the top of the town and walked down a bit to the beautiful church. We explored the upper level, then the lower one, watched the tourists pay the priest so he would say masses for them and their loved ones.

Of course, as usual we then stopped for cappucino and a bit of a sandwich before we lugged our tired bodies back up the hill to the parking lot. Winding down and down and down, around and around the hill to the main road, we moved west toward Lake Trasiemeno, where we had stayed 10 years ago, and then to Cortona.

Cortona is just inside the Tuscan border, the location for the book Under The Tuscan Sun (also the movie location, actually). We decided perhaps we might look for a place to stay there, since it was late afternoon. I knew exactly where I wanted to park in this beautiful hill town, near the main Piazza, and my little guide book suggested a reasonably priced hotel. I just hoped I could find it!

The road up to Cortona is confusing because there are many points of entry through the old walls and many little parking areas. But I kept guessing correctly, miraculously enough, and we came out of the winding road to the main part of the town, JUST EXACTLY where I wanted to be. I commented to Neil that I thought we could get a Cortona map and find this hotel my book recommended.

We got out of the car, made sure we had the requisite parking sticker, and when I turned around, there, right in front of us, was the hotel. Beautiful, perched out on the edge of the hill, overlooking the beautiful valley far below. And they had a room, a lovely room, as well as a sunny dining room overlooking that same valley.

We could not believe our good fortune. We checked into our room and could hardly wait to wander through the town. I bring my Italy Women to this lovely place, but Neil had never been here. We decided to find a restaurant way off the beaten path and take our time getting to dinner. The restaurants up in this town don’t open until at least 7:30 or 8:00 so we couldn’t have been in a hurry if we had tried.

I found my favorite coffee and drink bar, one that has delicious little appetizers served on trays with the drinks we order, and everything was so good that we ordered a second round, peach bellinis, I think, with a bit more food. We wandered through the streets, down one little lane and another, reading menus, checking out the atmosphere, looking for the restaurant that looked least like we would see even one American in it!

We succeeded in choosing just the right little place, with a party of local young people celebrating something at the table next to us, and a group of Brit/German travelers on the other side. I ordered everything in Italian, we had a wonderful, inexpensive bottle of wine with our food, and a really decadent set of desserts. The only photos I have are of the nearly scraped-clean plates, Neil’s with trails of dark chocolate, of course, and mine decorated with traces of raspberry and cream.

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LeMarche: Catch-up post #3

Thursday, October 11. Cupramontana

After eating dinner at a restaurant in town, recommended by our host, Cristina, we made our way back to our B & B, had a glass of the wine made just downstairs from our room, and went to sleep. In the morning we awoke to a lovely breakfast in the dining room just outside our bedroom and then we were off for the day. We were to meet Peony downstairs and she would take us to her husband, Peter. From there, we would visit several dilapidated country houses in the area, just to begin checking out the real estate. And of course, this is the one day it was drizzly, foggy, with almost no visibility. But it was the only day we had left in Marche, so we took what we had.

Peter and Peony were delightful guides through the crumbling stone beauties of the Marche countryside, and after a few wanders through mud-ridden fields, a stop at a coffee shop, and a quick peek at a little (tiny!) apartment at the top of a chapel in a neighboring town, we continued our search for the perfect “handyman’s dream” on the hillsides. Just for our dreaming purposes, of course, at least this trip.

At the end of a long day, we returned to our room, cleaned up, and drove to Jesi, a larger town about 12km from Cupra. We found the recommended restaurant, Settima Cielo, (7th Heaven) and had a perfectly delightful dinner in a room full of families, young people, all Italian, almost no English spoken at all. Wonderful! More practice for my meager language skills. I’m beginning to be quite impressed with myself!

Back to Cupramontana, sleep, another delicious breakfast on Friday morning, pack up and head toward Umbria and ultimately Tuscany again.