We picked up the car on thursday and headed off into the Umbrian countryside and of course it was the day that the heavens opened up” Bella Donna” so we climbed into our little FIAT 500 ( the new version) and zipped off to Assisi. Despite the masses of semi’s on the Italian highways we found the going good and got there with just one or two wrong turns in the mix( this is totally normal for most travellers)
What a great little(and i mean little) car, plenty of zip, enough space for 2 and it sticks like glue to the road so despite the rain we had a good trip.
We stopped in a lovely Middle ages hilltop town called Cittavella de Lago looking out over Lago Di Lacarno way up high in the hills and wandered around saying buongiorno to all the locals and getting smiles and response from them all.
The town was just gorgeous and the pride that they had in their potted flowers showed to its glory, it was like the town had a personality that welcomed us.
Assisi was a revelation when we got there,sitting up on top of a hill with a magnificent castle watching over the town it is much bigger than we thought.
Seeing all the clean white stone everywhere it looks as though it has been totally rebuilt since the Earthquake some years ago that devastated the town and took its toll on people and History.
As it was very wet we did not get to see a lot but did manage to walk one end to the other and back again going up and down and up and down due to the topography of the landscape and Ann conquered all the hills with passion or was it complaint!!
The Basilica of San Francesco is the big drawcard and it is no wonder as it has been so well cared for and the upper and lower churches as well as the burial crypt are wonders of engineering. The Frescos have clearly been cared for by the Franciscan monks despite all the perils of invaders etc.We do wonder whether from what we have read that Saint Francis would have wanted such opulence when the money could have been spent elsewhere.(no photos allowed). We headed straight back to Orvieto after our visit as it was getting wetter all the time.
Friday was our last day in Orvieto and since we had the car and the sun was out we decided to take a trip to Bolsena di lago via some hilltop towns( some nice some very average).And managed to find a real live lived in Castello.
Bolsena also has a great hilltop Castello and sensational views but of course it was closed for a long lunch from 1 till 4.We always seem to fall into the closed sastle trap, will we ever learn?????
The trip back to Orvieto had the best views and scenic countryside with fields and fields of flowers and despite getting stuck behind a big truck on a very, very narrow side road that just fitted a car let alone a big truck we found our way out of the maze of hilly country lanes.It was interesting but also just a bit too stressful waiting to see if something was going to fly around the next corner. BUT our brilliant little black Fiat got us home safe and sound.