I know I've been dragging my feet writing the rest of my trip report but here it is...
I left beautiful Orvieto on Sunday morning, October 1, 2017.
I arrived to the train station early so I had a long time to wait before my train arrived. While sitting in the small lounge, I met a nice couple from Australia. We talked about our travels and ended up sitting together on the train to Terontola then onto the next train as well. They were traveling to Perugia, so we bid each other farewell when we parted since their stop was before mine.
When I arrived to Assisi, and while waiting for the bus (bus “C”), I overheard a group of young people speaking Spanish; I talked with them briefly and found out that they are students from Spain who are studying in Perugia. They were taking a day trip to Assisi. When the bus arrived, we all boarded and the bus was packed, so many of us had to stand.
When the bus arrived to Piazza Matteotti, I got off and realized that I’d forgotten to call the hotel owner, Stefano, who had offered to meet me at the bus stop to help me with my luggage. When I called him, he told me where to start walking and he met me within 3 minutes. It's a good thing that he did, because there is a flight of stairs to reach the front door of his hotel, Hotel Pallota.
Once I checked in, he carried my luggage up to my room (“Viola”- violet), and then he opened the window to show me the amazing view of the church of Santa Chiara (St. Clare). I thanked him, unpacked some of my clothes before going down to the breakfast room.
Hotel Pallota is a small family owned hotel but it feels more like a B&B. The owner and his staff are very friendly and helpful. Stefano, the owner, is such a kind and generous man who runs his hotel with great pride. The hotel is clean and comfortable. The breakfast/Tea room is stocked with bottled water, various teas, nuts, dried fruit, yogurt, cake, and biscotti, which are always available to his guests. Since I’d arrived too late to eat lunch at a restaurant, Stefano offered me and another couple, who’d also just checked in, some cake and tea. I later learned that his mother, Margherita, is the chef at their restaurant and she bakes all the cakes and tarts for the hotel as well as for their trattoria.
Once I’d finished eating my snack, I walked down to the church of St. Stefano, a very small, and simple Romanesque church found on a small side street (Vicolo Santo Stefano). The church is very quiet and peaceful and as I sat there I couldn’t help but wonder how many others had set foot on this church in the past few centuries.
Afterwards, I walked along Via San Francesco, the main street that leads to the Basilica of St. Francis. There are so many shops along this street that I took my time as I stopped to browse around some of them. I wondered how they all stayed in business since many of these shops were selling similar items. When I finally arrived to the basilica, the sun was setting and it was a perfect opportunity to take pictures of the lovely church without the crowds.
Once the sun had disappeared behind the green Umbrian hills, I walked back up to Piazza del Comune to find Trattoria La Pallota, (under an archway across from the Temple of Minerva) where I enjoyed a delicious dinner. I ordered the veal scallopini with Marsala sauce and roasted potatoes with fennel. There were a couple of men sitting at a table nearby and they had ordered the roasted pigeon. I watched them curiously, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, as they ate this small bird ever so politely using only a knife and fork.
After dinner, I walked back to my hotel and went up the spiral metal staircase to the top floor where there's a small sitting room with amazing views of the city. Wow! I thought to myself. I’m here in this beautiful city and I can’t believe my eyes!