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15 Days In Italy-and 1 night Amsterdam Part III

Luckly my DH was much better by the next day, so we picked up our rental car in Modena and we departed for 5 fabulous nights in Umbria. These days turned out to be the best of our trip. We’d visited Assisi on our first trip in 2009, but had not been back to Umbria since. We found Umbria to be much like Tuscany, but cheaper and far less touristed. We stayed in Trevi, which is the olive oil capital of Italy. I had tried to find some info on Trevi via trip reports prior to our trip, but information was difficult to find. One trip report did mention that there wasn’t much in Trevi. We liked it, however. Our vacation apartment, Antica Loggia, is the loveliest I’ve ever stayed at in any trip I’ve ever taken. The view from the sitting room over Umbria is worth the stay, but it’s also completely updated structurally and furnishings are top quality. Definitely recommended. It’s also very large, maybe 1,600 square feet? There’s beds enough for 8 to sleep, so for three there was ample room to spread out and relax. In Trevi, there are several olive oil shops on or near the main square, all of which gave us samples of their farm’s oil. We purchased from all 3 we visited. In one oil shop the staff spoke English, but as for the other two, it was pantomiming, our rudimentary Italian, and a bit of google translate. There were a lot of other shops in town, including a small grocery that seemed to have everything that was needed to make a very tasty dinner at our apartment, including some very good local wines. One of the proprietors of the grocery spoke very good English and helped us to make our wine selections. There is also a very nice linen shop where we picked up some items to take home. Everyone was very kind to us and as helpful as they could be. We heard there were several very good restaurants in town, but we ended up cooking at our apartment due to it’s gourmet chef kitchen. Trevi is a hill town, and as such has fantastic views over the gorgeous Umbrian countryside. We were there during poppy season, so when we’d drive off the hill for the day’s touring we’d sometimes stop to snap some evocative photos with poppy fields in the foreground and Trevi in the background.

While in the area, we also visited Assisi, which is very beautiful but chock full of tourists. Montefalco, Cannara (apparently famous for its onions and onion festival) and Bevagna are nearby, and are definitely worth the trek, very quiet and beautiful, all exuding Umbrian charm. Umbria is like what I suspect Tuscany was like 30 or 40 years ago, possibly? On one of our 4 days, we popped over to Tuscany to visit 2 of our favorite towns, Pienza and Montepulciano. Pienza was as pretty as I remembered, but heaving with throngs of tourists. There were so many Americans there that I felt like we were visiting TuscanyLand as part of a Disney vacation. No wonder the staff at stores that we entered seemed a bit jaded and not that welcoming. It must be a mixed blessing for the residents, lots of tourist dollars coming in, but also having the tourists in town flocking to your town every day. We did purchase several chunks of the sublime pecorino cheese. Montepulciano was likewise mobbed with tourists, but I did pick up some good bottles of wine to take home. We ended up cutting our time short in both towns, not necessarily because of how busy the locations were, but more because of the torrential rains we experienced that day. I would visit both towns again, but maybe in November or March instead to avoid some of the crowds? In Pienza, we did have our best pizza of the trip, at the Ristorante Pizzeria La Mensa del Conte. Just delicious, as was a glass of Montacino red that I enjoyed very much. I purchased a bottle of it from the restaurant, I’m sure at a hefty premium, but of course I didn’t have the time to track it down from a less expensive source.

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