Tag Archives: Umbria

Hiking in Umbria

As promised… What a great day! With the sun in the sky and girls in their packs, we set out to hike the hill — leading to an abandoned ancient city– across from the abbey. Our receptionist assured us that it was a one-hour hike, which sounded perfect, particularly considering the obvious incline involved. But as is often the case with communication between people who barely speak each other’s language, there was a mix up. The trail was indeed an hour’s worth of steps and vistas; getting to the trail would require an hour of its own.

It may have been sunny but early spring wind made the air quite cool. Paul and I certainly heated up by the time we reached the top though. Even Phoebe shed a few layers, including my blue scarf.

Viva spring!

Approaching Umbriana, the abandoned city across the valley. Apparently people lived there until only six years ago!?

The view from the top…you can see the abbey where we stayed.

Enjoying a picnic lunch before heading back down, where I had a massage waiting for me. Paul took the kiddies so I could enjoy an hour of total bliss.

Even with sweeping views, the most fascinating part of the hike came at the end. We were walking up the road toward the abbey when our passageway was blocked…

Three huge, unattended draft horses were just milling about. Reluctant to pass behind them, I suggested we wait a second to see if these guys had anyone with them. The next thing we see is a man…with four more loose horses. When he caught up to this group, all SEVEN of them followed his directions implicitly. Stopping, going, at the sound of his voice alone. Amazing. Our kids don’t seem to understand us this well and we all speak English. Pretty much.

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The abbey in photos

Slowly, slowly…or as the Italians would say, piano, piano. I’ve been a working fool for the last few weeks, then traveling to fabulous places during our downtime (see photos below). No complaints but this does lead to some pretty belated entries.  Just the same, here goes. So back to the abbey in Umbria

And this time, without the shaky video.

Food and hiking next. Really.

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Staying at the abbey

Let’s backtrack. Things have been very busy, hectic and otherwise hurried around here lately but that’s partially due to the fun we’ve been having (the other part involves crying). We packed up the girls for two lovely weekends in the last month and this was one of them. Paul booked us a family suite at the Abbazia San Pietro in Valle, an old abbey turned hotel, in the hills of Umbria. Actually, it’s one of the neatest places I’ve been to yet.

The grounds are amazing, nestled among hills, trees and flowers, all with a long history. It’s been around since the eighth century. Eight. A duke was first attributed to its inception, and over the years the abbey fell into the hands of other noble families and even the government. At one point during World War II, it became a refuge for people of the nearby villages, seeking shelter as German troops retreated, right into their homes.

Attached is a trattoria called Hora Media, which was not only wonderfully hospitable toward Phoebe and Estelle, it was delicious. More on this, plus hiking and more meals out, coming soon. For now, a tour… (Shaky camera alert. Anyone with a history of motion sickness should probably pop a Dramamine first.)

And there were animals too.


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