Posts Tagged With: Umbria
History is written all over Spoleto and our apartment is within the medieval Umbrian city center. We took a day away from the Way of St. Francis to explore an area where civilization dates to the bronze age.
An aqueduct and theater helped emperors strengthen their control in Umbria.
Popes extended their influence here through the 12th century Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the 14th century Rocca Albornoziana. The fort still stands guard above the city.
With the help of many, many euro from the European Union, Spoleto has built an elaborate people-mover system to help old folks like us get up the steep hills. It starts with elevators in hallways behind nondescript entryways around the city. They take you down to one of three escalator lines. Each line offers several landing areas where riders can exit for access to their destinations.
Unfortunately, we are unlikely to find any more escalators as we resume our mountainous trek to Rome. But, there will be wine, beer and Italian cuisine at the end of each day. We walk 11 out of the next 12 days, with what appears to be the more difficult half ahead. We could blame it on St. Francis, but instead will honor him for laying the groundwork for this great challenge.
As we climbed to our rustic hotel in Valfabbrica, those two words summed up our day on the Way of St. Francis. We celebrated warm showers, beer at the Pinky Bar, and dinner up the hill at a ristorante with linen tablecloths, the works. My birthday calzone was as big as a football, and I ate the whole thing.
To be fair, Saturday had been a relatively short, easy trek, but we paid for it today, Sunday. We climbed 3,500 feet and descended 4,400 feet.
Umbria did its best to distract us with natural beauty as well as medieval castles and churches. But the moment we will most remember came as we climbed to a home with commanding views of the valley we had left behind. A woman pulled out two plastic chairs and pointed. Sue and I sat. Our feet oohed and aahed. We had a conversation that no one understood. But it didn’t matter. Smiles and kindness said it all.
We were afraid we’d miss touring the Basilica of St. Ulbaldo, perched high above the city of Gubbio. On our rest day we had no intention of conquering another peak on foot. However, when an alternative presented itself, we were first in line to hop aboard!
Seemingly hanging from a thread, the baskets of the Funivia Colle Eletto (or cableway) whisked us to the top of the mountain with only a mild case of sweaty palms.
I managed to loosen my grip long enough to take this photo…notice the dog calmly enjoying the ride along with the rest of us.
The views at the top were spectacular!