Dreamy Spoleto

by Anna

We bid farewell to Croatia on Sunday and took a three hour ferry from Vis to Split where we had to take the Blue Line overnight ferry to get back to Italy. Now, I may be a little dramatic in saying that the ferry ride was a total nightmare (Johnny will tell you it wasn’t that bad), but I wasn’t expecting our sleeper cabin to be in the depths of the ship in a metal coffin. Ok, ok, I AM exaggerating, but we were surprised when we discovered that “Deck 2” was actually between the engine and where the cars were kept. There weren’t even windows until you reached “Deck 5.” Apparently they figured it was more important that the “night club” and “casino” have windows. I almost opted to sleep on the open air deck on the 8th level, but after a bottle of wine, some watery spaghetti and playing with Johnny’s hair, I felt better about descending back down to the depths of Deck 2 and slept pretty soundly with the help of an Ambien until our 6am wake-up call. We got to Ancona around 7:30am, ran to the train station which was farther away than we thought, missed our train by 5 minutes and subsequently posted up in the train station for the next few hours. We finally got on a train at 11:30am and after a couple hours had made it to Spoleto!

Boarding the Blue Line
Wine makes everything better Johnny feeling very “Johnny Depp” with his tan & ponytail

Like most terrible travel days the trip paid off. Spoleto is beautiful, and we have been having the best time here! I have to give props to Johnny for randomly picking this town as a stop on our way to Rome. Located on a hilltop in the Umbria region of Italy it is surrounded by rolling hills that seem to be every shade of green and even sometimes blue and purple. The sky at sunset looks more like a painting than real life, the town itself somehow instantly felt “homey” and all the people have been extremely friendly and welcoming. Every steep winding street seems more ancient than the next, there are barely any tourists and every meal has been DELICIOUS. And as an added bonus, we are staying at a charming hotel/B&B. It’s the best of both worlds…our room is cleaned every day, we got shower gel AND slippers, and we are treated to a nice breakfast every morning on a terrace overlooking the hills. We’ve been feeling quite luxurious:)

Spoleto is probably best known for a music/dance/opera/drama festival that began in 1958 and is held here every summer in June/July. The performances take place around the town in amazing settings like an ancient Roman Theatre and on the Piazza del Duomo in front of the town’s cathedral. Since we just missed this festival, we wandered around and enjoyed the ancient ruins and pretty scenery. This included a visit past the hilltop fortress to a bridge built on a Roman aqueduct called the Ponte delle Torri and a short hike from there to the 13th century Chiesa di San Pietro. We made the most of the terrace at our hotel as well, reading and lounging in the afternoon. I even busted out my sketchbook finally…it is hard to not be inspired by such a beautiful landscape.

Piazza del Duomo
Fresco in the cathedral
Teatro Romano
Ponte delle Torri
Crossing the Ponte delle Torri View from the Ponte delle Torri
Lounging on the hotel’s terrace Sketching the view from the terrace

I think the highlight of our stay here though has been the food! The area is well-known for truffles, and there are all sorts of varieties of truffle dishes on every menu. Each restaurant has served food that tastes like a wonderful home-cooked meal. Today was undoubtedly the best experience of local food, as we decided to try out a wine bar called Osteria del Matto that we had passed several times over the past few days. We read on a food blog that the place is run by Filippo and his “Mama,” and that the food is bought fresh each morning and the menu decided on the spot by “Mama.” We settled in on a bench outside, and the courses of food started to arrive….lentils, toasted bread with olive oil and garlic, pancetta bruschetta, chicken in mustard sauce with grilled radicchio, home-made pasta with chili, garlic and olive oil, etc. It sounds like a ridiculous amount of food, but everything was in small-sized portions and came out slowly so that you had time to savor each bite and then digest before the next dish. Before we knew it, we had struck up a conversation with the man at the next table, Dennis. He was from Dublin, and he and his wife owned a vacation home in Umbria about an hour away. He had been coming to this place for years, and said it was the best (we had to agree!). Soon, Filippo came out to say hi to Dennis and bring him some home-made beer, followed by “Mama” asking us if we wanted more food. Next thing I knew, I was sitting alone at the tables as Filippo had taken Johnny and Dennis off to see where he was home-brewing his beer and the beginnings of a new beer bar that he plans to open in a couple years. Before the end of the meal we also ended up meeting a group of Australians from Melbourne and a group of Americans from Kansas City. It was an international affair at Osteria del Matto, and we left with full stomachs and some original artwork by Filippo.

Dinner at La Torretta Another great meal at La Lanterna
Osteria del Matto Secret recipe chicken at Osteria del Matto
A close-up of Filippo’s work

We couldn’t have enjoyed our time here more, and we are ready to take on Rome tomorrow!

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One Comment to “Dreamy Spoleto”

  1. I can’t miss one of your posts! They are always so informative and entertaining. Now that Johnny is wearing his hair in a ponytail he’s caught up with you, Anna, and they’re sure you’re celebrities of some sort…

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