Assisi- The embodiment of my sweet Italian “La dolce vita” travel dream.
Month travelled in : April
It was the last stop of our month- long travel in Europe. We wanted it to be slightly off the hordes of tourists , relaxed, in a scenic place. Actually we wanted it in the midst of vineyards. A beautiful, historic church and winding streets thrown in would be super actually. Also, since we would be flying out of Rome to our home in Bangalore, India right after this stay, we wanted it to be less than three hours by regional velocity train would be ideal. Yes, we did have a long wish list and voila! Assisi completely fit the bill!
We were literally transported back in time. I always admire how beautifully preserved there little towns are by the government and local authorities.
Assisi is in the heart of the wine region of Umbria . Umbria region being the lesser known sister than Tuscany, offered us stunning scenery that was completely comparable to Tuscany without the hordes of tourists and the price tags of Tuscany. I have been to villages in Tuscany before and pretty as they were, after visiting Umbria I wished I had come here sooner. The local feel, the long conversations with the local winemaker in his shop, the awesome discount on hand-painted tray were all perks of being in Umbria in spring. To be honest , the pictures here hardly do any justice.
The landmark of the town is the St. Francis Church and admission is free. The church is an important pilgrimage for Catholics. There is a check post guarded by army men but rest everything is smooth. The chamber downstairs is a very special, an abode of peace and positive energy. We sat there along with a few visitors and pilgrims.
The hill town of Assisi from our hotel. The church is on the left
View of the St. Francis church from the top entrance of the church
Wild flowers and fields at the top of the town
The road from the church winds up to the highest point in this hill town. We followed the path and were rewarded with endless views of wild flowers, green fields and spring bloom. There were pretty squares were we had lunch in the following days.
The haze at dusk seen from our hotel Bella vista at Santa Maria Degli Angelo
- How to reach – Assisi is easily reachable from Rome ( Roma Termini station) . There direct trains as well as trains with one stop. We took regional Veloce that took about 2.30 hours and had comfortable seats and A/C. You can book at http://www.trenitalia.com/ or at the railway ticket counter. There are also buses from Rome to Assisi that can be booked through goeuro.com
- Stay – There are many options in various budgets that can be booked through booking.com , www.hotels.com , www.airbnb.com . We booked through hotels.com at Hotel Bella Vista, very true to its name . With employee discount it costed me around Rs.3300 with buffet breakfast for two. We were given a free upgrade as most rooms were free in spring. Our room looked into nearby vineyards. The gazebo in the garden had the view of the hill and the town perched on it. The serving staff were very nice but knowing some Italian, specially greetings and names of breakfast items hugely helped us. It was great fun for me to be able use the Italian I learned from this app – Duolingo: Learn Spanish, French and other languages for free
The people at the reception spoke English and all the staff members were very warm and kind.
- Eat – There are many restaurants but we really liked our dinner at our hotel Bella Vista. Lots of locals seemed to come there. The prices were very reasonable given the quality of food and the service and setting was equally nice. Typically 6-10 euros for a medium pizza and pasta, 4-10 euros for second course.