Well, I haven't said much about travel in several weeks even though I think about it all the time. My last trip to Italy, two weeks in Rome in January, is unfortunately a distant although pleasant memory. And it's pretty much all paid off now, so I can look ahead to September. I have two more weeks of vacation left, and I intend to blow it all on this trip.
My last reported plans involved the as-yet undiscovered Emilia-Romagna region. Undiscovered, that is, by me. I am interested in seeing Bologna, Ferrara, Parma and I also want to do day trips to Ravenna to see the mosaics and to Padua for the frescos. I really want to see all of these things.
But my heart is called back to Umbria. I just can't resist.
So, I think I'm going to have to cancel all of my plans for the E-R and give in to the lure of Perugia and Assisi and even Bevagna. I spent three great weeks in Umbria in June 2007 and I want to go back. I may even rent a car, for the first time after a half-dozen trips to Italy.
I admit to feeling some conflict about my destination, and so I haven't quite cut the ties (that is, all the hotel reservations) for the Emilia-Romagna region. Because it does sound splendid and the lure of the new is always powerful.
But I find something magical about Umbria, and even though I was there only a year ago I know that I missed so much. Last year, for example, I spent almost a full week just in Perugia, a wonderful city with a great deal of wonderful art, churches, a great passeggiata, lots of restaurants and bars. I only made one day trip outside of Perugia last year, even though I originally saw it as a base, not a place to roost.
This year, I'm thinking another week based in Perugia but I hope that this time, I'll actually make at least a couple of day trips from there. Last year, I took the bus from Perugia to Gubbio for a day. It was fantastic. This year, maybe I'll get out of town and take the train to Todi for one day; and up to Sansepolcro or Arezzo another day (I really want to see Piero della Francesco's Legend of The True Cross!)
Last year, I spent four days in Assisi, but a visit by the Pope at the same time really cramped my ability to see churches and generally get around. This year, I thought I'd stay three days and maybe do the town right.
Last year, I spent several days in Spoleto and did a day trip to Orvieto from there. This time, I've booked 3 nights in Bevagna and I think I might actually rent a car and from there, try to visit Spello and Montefalco, maybe Trevi. I chose Bevagna because I thought it might be fairly easy to park there, to drive in and out of for a couple of days. I had considered staying in Spello, but I've been convinced by Girasoli and others that it really might be too small to warrant more than a few hours. This makes sense to me, because even with a car I expect that by dinner time, I'll want to park at my hotel and then walk -- walk somewhere for dinner, have some wine with dinner, then walk around without concern that I need to drive somewhere.
So, that's the new plan: Assisi, Bevagna, Perugia. At least, that's the plan for now......