Just returned from 2 1/2 weeks in Italy with three of my best traveling friends, and hope sharing these highlights may give you some ideas for your next trip. Love these “girls’ trips” because without husbands, we seem to cover twice the ground for half the money. We’re calling this trip “Eataly!”
We flew out the Tuesday after Easter, direct from Atlanta to Rome, on what, through no fault of Delta, turned out to be the Vomit Comet! With the first gut-churning drop, I dove into my backpack for Bonine and made it through fine, but there were some seriously sick people all night long on that flight. I’ve been flying internationally for years, and I’ve NEVER experienced a flight like this one.
We were all thankful to finally be on the ground. Our shiny new black Alfa Romeo was waiting for us at Europcar, another smooth rental arranged by gemut.com. This is about as big a car as you are going to get in Italy without going to an expensive SUV, but it works for four people if you’re not too overloaded with luggage. This was the first time I didn’t bring my Tom-Tom from home or rent their GPS, because we recently switched to T-Mobile, and their free, unlimited international coverage let me use GoogleMaps on my iPhone, constantly, driving and walking!
Especially in Italy, I like to settle in and stay a while, and Umbria is one of my favorite regions, the beauty of Tuscany without the crowds. We rented http://casaspello.com in Spello for 10 nights. (Thanks, Laurel in Rome for the rec!) We chose the largest Tiberius apartment with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Loved staying in Spello. It’s a beautiful small hill town with very few tourists. Just like all hill towns, you do need to be prepared for lots of uppa, uppa, and downa, downa to get anywhere. Our house owner gave us a parking pass so we could park in the local’s lot near the town center, which was helpful, but this apartment, or town, would not be easy for anyone with mobility issues.
One of the best parts of staying anywhere 10 nights is claiming your favorite coffee shop and restaurants. Every place we ate was welcoming, but on return visits we were treated like friends. Pasticceria Gelateria Tullia was our morning coffee stop and our afternoon gelato break. Its outdoor seating overlooks the local elementary school entrance, and it’s always fun in the mornings to queue up with nine-year-olds ordering cappuccino. Il Pinturicchio (www.ristoranteilpinturicchio.it) was nearest our apartment, and we returned several times, delighted with everything we tried on their menu. One night we really had no room for dessert, but ordered one tiramisu with four forks, and our friendly server returned with what can only be described as a giant slab of tiramisu for us to share.
We also liked Osteria del Buchetto (www.osteriadelbuchetto.it) a tiny family restaurant perched even higher up in Spello. On our final night we discovered La Locanda dei Postiglione (www.locandadelpostiglione.com) which is apparently the place to be and be seen in Spello, with amazing food, and even on a very busy Friday night, their service was attentive and friendly. Spello also has a big grocery store near the base of the town where we stocked up on wine, Parmiggiano, and Italian crackers. The Wednesday morning market was great for strawberries and oranges and Pecorino. There was a line to buy from the porchetto man, but we were headed out on a day trip and couldn’t leave it for hours in our car.