Saturday, 5 August 2017

5th August 2017 - Tuscany and Umbria - so much beauty...

Saturday 5th August 2017

Anghiari stone
Our little Panda Fiat has zoomed all around the countryside, from Tuscany to Umbria.

I am feeling a bit befuddled and bewildered… I blame the heat!  Well over 40 ALL THE TIME!

All of the hilltowns we have visited are glorious and gorgeous.

Clean and tidy!


With cats

Truffles – OMG I have never seen truffles before (I come from Hicksville obviously!!) never imagined them to be so huge!  As big as apples!

This blog will be just a bit, as they say, random…

So many impression of so many wonderful things.

In Castiglion Fiortentino we found a (free!) museum with a breathtaking display of Etruscan art.  Etruscans – around 500 BC!!  And they superseded the Umbrians, who laid the foundations for the fabulous towers, walls, buildings.

There was a very tall tower, with an equally deep drop way down below.  What amazing builders, masons, quarrymen (yes I know in our era of gender fluidity that they might have been quarrywomen but…somehow I think the women were busy growing the veggies and keeping the home fires burning.)

And on the outskirts of the town – a wonderful modern statue!

Each town we went to was eerily empty of people.  Yes I know we are mad dogs and Englishmen, out in the midday sun, but…there were no people wherever we were!

Until we hit Cortona, which was PartyTown.  Many people, many shops selling beautiful stylish Italian things, and also, many touristy tchotchkes.

Cortona also had a bit of a dragon theme.

Loved it!

In fact…loved everything!  Umbrian cats!



And then…Assisi!  Built from beautiful pink stone.

I have googled this pink stone; there is much gushing but no geological description thus far…Will have to delve deeper.

The Basicilca in Assisi is breathtaking.  We caught the tail end of a nine am mass and then took ourselves on a tour with a smartphone thingy.

I am ashamed to say…

Well two things

I didn’t notice the signs saying NO PHOTOS

This cheery monk was singing as he scampered across the basilica!
and took many before a man shouted at me…

Oh those beautiful Giotto frescoes!!

Slipped in a laneway photo instead...oops!
And #2 cause of shame…we nearly missed the upper church where the abovementioned Giotto frescoes are to be seen…

Yes there is a second layer of vaulted church above the first fabulous layer!!!

What amazing stonemasons, quarrymen, architects etc etc.

On our way out of Assisi we were accosted by a hitchhiker.  Not your usual type of hedgehogger…a handsome young Fransican monk!  

He needed to go down the hill to Santa Maria dei Angeli.  And we were more than happy to oblige, even though it made Siri have a bit of a nervous breakdown.  (I had a bit of a nervous breakdown as well; I am not a natural-born navigator…When we got back to Via Violetta I sank into the pool with a strong gin and tonic on the edge and breathed deeply for quite a long time.)

Assisi forn afar (I am not super talented at long disitance but...never mind!)
Our last beautiful Umbrian town (we crossed the border, Tuscany to Umbria,) was Gubbio.  Just as fabulous as all of the others. 

Gorgeous doorways, laneways, squares.

And olive groves
I will be very sad to leave this beautiful, peaceful region.

We have managed to negotiate our way with a mixture of English and Italian; everyone is calm, obliging, cheerful.  And...everything is just so BEAUTIFUL!!!

Etruscan shards

Tomorrow – a brief glimpse of Cinque Terre!!  (Yes Cinque Terre is very much on my list of places I want to see but I am also very tempted just to stay calmly here at Villa Violetta…)


  1. Not quite the right use of gender fluidity Mum. But yes there probably weren't many/any quarry-women at this time in history. There may have been a few quarrymen wishing they were growing veggies with the women...

  2. And I love the hitch-hiking monk!