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Beautiful Trevi and Spoleto...

Sunday, October 8, 2017.

I took a taxi from Montefalco (via Foligno) to Trevi (no buses run on Sundays in Umbria). The drive to Trevi was beautiful. As the taxi drove up the tree lined single lane road, I could see the town high up on a hill and to me it looked like a tiny kingdom from a fairy tale.

When we arrived, there was some type of event taking place at the main square, Piazza Mazzini, and the street to the hotel was blocked, so the taxi driver parked and helped me with my luggage up the street to my hotel.
When I entered the hotel’s office, the receptionist, Elena, was listening to a couple who were complaining about the size of their room and were requesting another room. I heard Elena telling them that unfortunately the hotel was fully booked but she would see what she could do. Elena greeted me and explained that my room wouldn’t be ready till 3 PM. Once she took my passport information, she gave me a map of the town and told me that I could leave my luggage in the office.

I decided to visit the church of St. Emiliano just beyond the hotel. The church was very quiet and I was the only person there. I sat there for a while admiring its interior with its beautiful frescoes. Afterwards, I walked down to the piazza where they appeared to be getting ready for an event. There were some merchants selling “Sedano Nero” (black celery-
which is actually green), traditional crafts and some jewelry. On my way to the Tourist Information office, I saw some people dressed in medieval costumes carrying their bow & arrows and apparently there had been an archery competition earlier that day.

I had decided to visit Spoleto the following day, and I found out from the young woman at the TI office that the buses to Trevi’s train station run very infrequently so I was advised to take the bus to Foligno then the train to Spoleto from there. I also found out that there are no taxis in Trevi; if one needs a taxi, the taxi comes from nearby Foligno.

Since it was lunchtime I walked over to ‘Taverna del Sette’, recommended by Elena, where I enjoyed my pasta dish & a fresh salad drizzled with green olive oil & a touch of vinegar.
There were a couple of men sitting on a table nearby and I noticed a delicious grilled steak brought to their table, so I promised myself to return for dinner the following day.

After lunch, I returned to the hotel and I was told that my room was ready. I was informed that my room was in another building, not in the main building. The hotel’s receptionist helped me roll my luggage down the street then he stopped in front of a great big wooden door, he took the key and opened it, we then climbed some stairs to the second level, past a dining room, he then opened another door that lead to my room.

The room had a great big bed with an amazing antique carved wood headboard. There was a hallway between the bedroom and the bathroom, and I noticed a door at the end of the hallway that was locked. The bathroom was very spacious but instead of a shower there was an antique tub.

After hanging some of my clothes, I went out of my room because I’d heard voices in the room adjacent to mine, and I was greeted by Elena who was getting the room ready for other guests. She explained that it was an apartment and I could see the kitchen from where I was standing by the door. I asked about the door in the hallway and she reassured me that the door was locked and it would remain locked.
Apparently my room was part of a large 2-bedroom apartment that is suitable for a family of four.

Continued...

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I was very tired because I didn’t sleep well the night before, so I laid down and fell sleep despite the voices coming from the apartment next to my room. When I woke up I realized I’d slept for almost two hours! After my restful nap, I walked toward the St. Francis Museum but it was already closed. I walked along Via Lucarini, next to the medieval wall and admired the spectacular green Spoleto Valley below.
The sun began to set and I continued my walk on the street along the wall. The views of the valley, as the sunlight faded, were absolutely magnificent. No photo could ever capture what I was experiencing that moment as I stood there next to a medieval stone wall, in that quiet small town high above an amazing green valley.

After a few minutes, I walked up some steep narrow stone streets back up to Piazza Mazzini.
I was a bit hungry and realized that I didn’t have any fruit because the tiny convenience store I’d found earlier didn’t have any fruit.
I walked into a small trattoria in the square and asked if they served soup. The young waiter told me to go to a small place on the street past the square where they served delicious soups. When I arrived to the tiny restaurant, the owner told me that they had ran out of soup. When I asked him what he recommended, he told me that his wife, the chef, made his favorite dish,
eggplant parmegiana, which was homey and delicious.

After dinner I went back to the antique building where my room was. It was a bit eerie walking into this huge empty building; fortunately I’d left the lights on in the entry hallway as well as the ones on the stairs. As I walked into the building and up the stairs, I left all the lights on including the ones in the dining room next to my room.
The building was very quiet and I didn’t hear any voices coming from the adjacent room, so I called the front desk and asked if anyone was staying there. I was told that I was the only one staying in the building. I double locked my door, looked out my window and the street below was quiet and peaceful.

Monday, October 9, 2017

There was no heater in the bathroom, so I turned on the hairdryer on its highest setting, closed the bathroom door and crawled back into bed under the warm covers. After a couple of minutes I realized that the hairdryer idea was not such a great idea as it would be impossible for it to actually heat up such a large bathroom. So I went back into the cold bathroom and took the fastest shower ever. The antique tub had a hand held shower faucet but no place to hold it on the wall! There was no place to hang my towel either.

I never understood the idea of taking a bath; as I didn’t grow up taking baths, only showers. So when my children were small, I would always give them a quick shower then once they were clean, I’d fill the tub with just enough water for them to sit and play with their toys for a short while.

When I walked back up to the hotel, there was no one in the office, so I took the elevator down to the breakfast room and asked for Elena. When she came out of the kitchen, I asked her if it was possible to be moved to a hotel room with a real shower. I explained that I have a bad back and had a challenging time taking a shower in the tub that morning. She explained that the hotel was fully booked but she’d see what she could do about it.

After breakfast, I walked to the bus stop just beyond the main square, and boarded the bus that departed at 9:45AM. The bus arrived at the Foligno train station at 10:10AM then I waited for the train traveling to Roma at 10:41AM (train was 15-20 minutes delayed). While waiting for the train, I thought to myself; it would have been so convenient if I’d had a car...But I didn’t...

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I arrived to Spoleto at around 11:20AM. I took a bus to the city center but when I asked another passenger, a young woman, if the bus traveled near the cathedral, she told me that I needed to get off at the next stop and take a small bus (navetta). There was a navetta, parked near the bus stop, near Piazza Garibaldi, but when I asked the driver if it went to the Duomo, he said no. This is what happens when one decides to visit a place without having done any research beforehand. I had not planned to visit Spoleto until a couple of days before when my new friend had suggested it to me.
She had mentioned that there were escalators that one could take all the way up to the Duomo but I had no idea where they were, until much later on.

I walked uphill, from Piazza Garibaldi, on a fairly steep street lined with shops. Unfortunately they were all closed because it was Monday. I kept walking up toward the Duomo (following the street signs) then I came upon the TI office and asked for a map of the city but I forgot to ask about the escalators. The young man working at the TI office pointed the way to the Duomo on the map and I proceeded my walk uphill. Instead of going to the cathedral I decided to go up to the Rocca, the former papal fortress, on the hilltop above the city. This fortress now houses a museum but I didn’t visit it, instead I walked around the periphery of the fortress and enjoyed the amazing views of the city and the valley, the famous Ponte delle Torri, a ten arch bridge which had been built on the foundation of the former Roman aquaduct. I saw some people walking near the bridge but I didn’t feel like walking down.
I then took the elevator down and then a series of mechanical escalators down to the beautiful Duomo. After visiting the Duomo, I visited the small simple Romanesque church, ‘Basilica di Sant’Eufemia’ located by the Museo Diocesano near the cathedral. The museum was closed but I was able to enter the small church through a small side door that was accessed by a coin-operated turnstile.

I then decided to eat lunch at a trattoria that advertised fresh homemade pasta. I ordered the pasta with cinghiale (wild boar bacon) and it was very delicious. When I asked for the bill, I was surprised that I had not been charged for the bread or the carafe of water.

After lunch, I took an elevator and another series of mechanical (underground) walkways all the way down to near the Torre dell’Olio.

I then walked to the train station stopping at the award winning Gelateria Crispini (Viale Trento e Trieste, 29) for some deliciously creamy pistachio and chocolate gelato. I waited for the 14:58 train, which was 10 minutes delayed.
Once I arrived to Foligno, I waited for the 16:00 bus (the penultimate bus of the day) and arrived back to Trevi at 16:25.

When I arrived at the hotel I was told that they had a room for me in the main building, room 205. A room with a normal shower!
Once I’d retrieved my luggage from the other building, I was resting on my bed when all of a sudden the church bells began to ring. Soon after the bells stopped ringing, there was a loud noise outside on the street below my window. When I opened my window and looked down, there were was a large group of tourists and the noise was from the rolling bags they were lugging around. [Ha! No wonder they wanted to ban roller bags in Venice!] I presumed it was a tour group.

Continued...

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I called the ‘Trattoria del Sette’ and made a dinner reservation for 7:30pm. I was the only customer when I arrived at the trattoria but the staff greeted me and guided me to my table in the room with the fireplace.
I ordered the steak and a salad.
While waiting for my food, I was served bread and water. After a few minutes, the chef walked over to the fireplace and placed my steak on a wire grill that had been heating over the hot coals. My steak was very tasty and delicious. The trattoria began to get busy by the time I was almost done with my dinner.

After dinner, on the way back to my hotel, I stopped at a small shop (on the main square) that sells beautiful scarves. The owner, a young man, actually has two shops, right next to each other.
One of his shops was stocked with fabulous wool and cashmere scarves. In his other shop, he sells olive oil soaps and lotions. I ended up buying a beautiful blue and white cotton scarf. He asked me if I was staying at the hotel, and then he explained that all hotel guests receive a 20% discount at his shop.
Great, I said, I will tell my friends about your shops!

I went back to my room to pack my luggage since I’d be departing beautiful Trevi the following morning.
As I rested on my bed that night, I wondered if I should have skipped going to Spoleto.
I actually didn’t regret going to Spoleto but I did regret not having spent enough time in either of these two beautiful towns…
I will definitely plan to return to beautiful Umbria in the near future.

The following morning after breakfast, I took the bus back to Foligno then waited for the train to Rome where I spent my last two nights before flying home.
Since I’d visited this great city a couple of times before, I didn’t have an agenda and just wanted to walk around and visit some of my favorite sites.

If you love gelato, you must go to Gelateria Fassi, the oldest gelateria in Rome serving deliciously creamy gelato at a great price. Most of the clients within this large gelateria were locals (always a good sign!). Make sure to pay the cashier, on the right side as you enter the building, before you get your gelato. I ordered mango, strawberry and pistachio and was surprised when the server asked me if I wanted whipped cream on top of my already large gelato!
This is the largest gelateria I’ve been in and it’s very nice because there are plenty of tables so you can sit and enjoy your gelato. There were only a few customers when I was there in the mid-afternoon and I had fun watching others as they ate a huge gelato sandwich made with a brioche bun cut in half and stuffed with gelato plus whipped cream!

Happy Holidays to you all!

Priscilla

Posted by
11613 posts

I, too, love Umbria - my favorite region in Italia!

It's also the region where I have dropped the most money on taxis between cities before I figured out the "Don't travel by bus on Sunday" rule.

So happy you liked Trevi, one of my favorite towns. My first view of it was just as you described - magical. The best olive oil - did you go to the olive museum?

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7605 posts

Priscilla - Sounds like another wonderful few days. You are so capable and figure out so much, allowing yourself to see so many beautiful sites and meet interesting people.

I'm glad they were able to move you to the room with shower for the second day. Did you ever see the complainers about their small room again?

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1 posts

Zoe: Would you please elaborate on the "Don't travel by bus on Sunday " rule?

Thank you.

Tom

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Zoe,
Unfortunately I did not get to the Olive Museum.
I also missed many wonderful sites while in Spoleto mainly because I didn't have enough time, and I didn’t want to miss the penultimate bus back to Trevi.

Kim,
It’s interesting that you ask if I saw the couple who had complained about their room. I didn’t see them again.

Yes, I’m so grateful I was able to get a room with a regular shower the second day. I presumed they had given me the big room in the other building as a last resort. When I requested the possibility to be moved, I kindly reminded Elena that I’d made my room reservation six months prior, so this may have helped too.

Tom,

"Don't travel by bus on Sunday "

What Zoe means is that there is no bus service on Sundays in the whole region of Umbria. So if you plan to visit Umbria via public transportation, you need to plan accordingly.

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11613 posts

Yes, Sunday bus schedules are difficult for traveling between towns, not only in Umbria, but in other regions as well.

Monday is a good travel day because the transportation schedules are normal, and many museums/sights are closed.

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652 posts

Priscilla,
Concerning the Trevi apartment in the other building...I have noticed that even though annex buildings in hotels usually sound nice, they tend to feel not really part of the hotel or B&B. Some people may enjoy the privacy, but we have experienced that same sort of eeriness of being in an empty building. Glad you were able to change rooms.

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855 posts

What a nice trip report! I have not been to these particular towns, although we love Umbria. And it sounds like you are a great traveler.

Thanks for the report,
Mimi