TRAVEL FROM ASSISI TO SPOLETO
Umbria is magic. Once you get into this region, you feel you’ve entered another dimension, somewhere in an indefinite time in the past. It’s a window into a different world where daily rhythms are different and more pleasant. Forests, vineyards and olive groves, green hills dotted with medieval villages characterize this part of the Way
a visit to Medieval villages in Umbria
Assisi is one of the fascinating sites of Italy with, of course, many good reasons. It’s somehow magic and captures the visitors with its peaceful streets filled with flowers, medieval architecture, buildings, churches, and small restaurants. It’s lovely to just walk around and absorb the sensation of having entered an ancient past.
From Assisi, you will walk on the western flank of Mt Subasio through the Sacred Hermitage of the Carceri, an important Franciscan monastery, then continue to the beautiful upper meadows to enjoy the fantastic view of the valleys.
Then you’ll proceed downhill through the olive groves and the Roman foundation town of Spello.
Spello is built on the slopes of Mount Subasio. This little town has Roman origins witnessed by several features including the 2 town gates, “porta Venere” and “porta Consolare” and the remains of a Roman theatre outside the town walls.
The village is filled with colored flowers and for the happiness of the foodies, it’s a landmark for truffle lovers.
It’s a great place to take amazing photos and capture the typical life of a (“yes!”) lazy but joyful ancient village.
The path continues across the Valle Umbra getting to the hills on the other side of the valley. The walks will continue on this line of hills down to the valley to Bevagna, personally my favorite.
Unlike most Umbrian towns, Bevagna isn’t built on a hilltop but at the confluence of the rivers.
Bevagna is lovely. I love it for its lively atmosphere rich in everything. First, it’s beautiful, the perfect Umbrian village. It offers a lot: since entering the main city gate, the town is filled with little restaurants, bars, little shops, some of which sell cashmere ( yes, this is part of the so-called Cashmere Valley of Italy).
‘Piazza Silvestri’, the Main Square, the heart of this town is the square, with its beautiful fountain and two Romanesque churches and ancient buildings recalls a past that is far away but here seems present.
There are many stunning restaurants, like one I discovered just by walking around, built in a hidden roman Theater. (if you’re curious, check here)
During Roman times, Bevagna was a prosperous town, as it was situated along the busy trade road, the Via Flaminia, which connected Rome with the Adriatic coast. Particularly characteristic are walls of the 13th to 14th century, surrounding most of Bevagna for 2 kilometers.
The olive groves soon make way for vineyards.
Montefalco can’t but be my second favorite town across the Franciscan Path as a wine lover.
To reach the town, you have to climb because Montefalco is –predictable- built on a hilltop. The town is also known as the balcony (‘ringhiera’) of Umbria because of its beautiful panorama.
We enter an excellent wine county. The hills surrounding Montefalco are famous for producing excellent wines: Sagrantino and Rosso di Montefalco.
So, do not forget to taste some of the delicious wine in one of the many wine bars. About 150 wine producers are surrounding the village. It’s worth paying a visit and tasting.
The town of Trevi. Included it in the list of the “Most Beautiful Villages” in Italy.
The slopes of the surrounding mountains are covered with evergreen olive groves, and there’s no surprise to discover that this ancient place is known as the “City of Oil.”
Being one of the most important areas of Umbria for the very high quality of the oil, the visit to the oil mills is strongly recommended. You will thus have the opportunity to witness all the processes of extravirgin olive oil making, from the harvest of the olives, the pressing to the bottling.
An unmissable destination for an out-of-town tour is the Sources of Clitunno, near the village of Campello sul Clitunno: fed by underground springs that come out of rock cracks, they are a true, naturalistic jewel of the area.
The crystal clear water and the dense vegetation of weeping willows give the environment a charming atmosphere.
From the lower hills of the Monti Martani, you will then walk to Spoleto, the charming medieval town.
Spoleto is a pretty hill-town filled with beautiful architecture. It is famous for the Spoleto Festival, which takes place every summer (end of June beginning of July).
Herman Hesse said, “Spoleto is the most beautiful discovery I made in Italy; there is such a wealth of beauty almost unknown, mountains, valleys, oak woods, monasteries, and waterfalls!”.
Spoleto is worth visiting: the cathedral, the castle, a Roman house, Roman theatre, and many museums. But Spoleto is not only art and culture, but also food & wine! The town has some lovely shops with fantastic local products, cozy bars with terraces and excellent restaurants.
The foodies will appreciate the tasty Umbrian kitchen: recipes based on simple ingredients, such as extra virgin olive oil and cereals, homemade pasta with meat sauces, black truffle, red wine, and typical desserts such as the “torciglione,” whose recipe is passed down from one generation to the other.
THE MANY BENEFITS OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
What many consumers don’t realize is something that people living millennia ago in ancient Greece took for granted; extra virgin olive oil, all by itself, is one of the best beauty secrets.
First, Olive Oil is a natural, hypoallergenic skin moisturizer.
Furthermore, virgin olive oil has the advantage of providing potent antioxidants, including vitamins E and K.
These vitamins help repair and renew skin damaged from overexposure to sun and air pollution. Other modern-day environmental hazards like cigarette smoke and fast food create aging effects on the skin.
The nutrients in olive oil naturally stimulate cells and return skin to a firmer, smoother, and healthier state.
Let’s provide a slightly more scientific explanation. Skin damage is related to the destructive activity of oxygen-related free radicals produced by skin cells.
Polyphenolic components of olive oil are like the traditional antioxidants, such as tocopherols, used by the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry to prevent skin damage.
There are several simple and inexpensive ways to get the best skincare and beauty benefits from a single bottle of extra virgin olive oil.
The rich emollients in olive oil allow just a little to go a long way.
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