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Report 1834: Northern Umbria and Southern Tuscany Trip Report

By cg0994 from California, Spring 2010

Trip Description: 16 day trip to Italy, from May 13 to 30, 2010, sightseeing and enjoying the food and wine of Umbria, Tuscany and Rome.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Rome, Tuscany, Umbria

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Cooking Classes; Foodie Trip; Wine Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 16: Day 1 Tuoro Sul Trasimeno

photo by Carrie

i Capricci di Merion

My husband and I recently got back from an amazing 2 1/2 week trip to Italy. The vast majority of our trip was spent visiting small towns and villages in northern Umbria and Southern Tuscany. The main focus of our trip was (not surprisingly) food and wine. Since we had so many wonderful meals and drank so much good wine, in addition to visiting many beautiful towns, I thought it would be best to do a day by day account, even though that means I need to do 16 separate posts. This may take a while!

We arrived at FCO (Rome's Airport) on Friday, May 14th, in the morning after an uneventful overnight flight from the US. Thanks to frequent flyer miles, we were able to fly business class, which was quite nice, and afforded us the opportunity to get a few hours sleep before our adventure began. Getting our bags, clearing customs and getting the rental car was a breeze, as was exiting the airport and getting on the A1, the main toll road going north and south through this area of Italy (this last part was made easy by this helpful article on Slow Travel Italy, Rome Airport Car Rentals link under Web Resources at end of report).

We were greeted with rainy overcast skies, and I was a little worried that the GPS we brought would not be able to find a satellite, but after a few minutes of turning it on, it found where we were, and we were on our way to our first destination, Tuoro sul Trasimeno, a small lake town in northern Umbria near Cortona (picture of the outside of the inn is above). We got there pretty quickly (probably about 2 1/2 hours), and found our home for the next four nights, I Capricci di Merion. This lovely inn is just actually in town (which was surprising, since from the photos on the website, it looked like it was in the country), but felt somewhat isolated because of the landscaping and views of the lake in the distance.

We checked in and were shown our room, the Puccini Room, which was a very pretty suite on the second floor. It had a small sitting area/kitchen, a bedroom with a wood burning fireplace, and a bathroom with a big Jacuzzi tub (but no shower, which was really the only negative about this room). After dropping off our bags, we went into town in search of a restaurant that was still serving lunch (it was about 2pm at this point).

We found a quaint place called il Teatro above an old theater. It was tiny, but cozy, maybe eight tables, and it looked like the older woman who waited on us (and spoke no English) was also the one cooking the meals. We had a simple but delicious meal of pasta (ravioli with tomato cream sauce for my husband, and tortelloni with truffle sauce for me), and headed back to the inn to check out the "wellness area" before dinner.

The hotel has built a spa type facility which showcases a beautiful Jacuzzi, sauna, and rain shower system. Couples can reserve the whole area to themselves for an hour at a time for no charge. We were able to snag a free hour and relaxed in the Jacuzzi for a while (which made us even more tired). We reluctantly left when our hour was up, and got ready for dinner in the hotel's dining room.

The dining area of this inn is beautiful at night, colorful upholstered chairs, soft lights, and a harpist completes this romantic experience (though my husband expressed some uneasiness with the pop leanings of the harpist's repertoire)! And the food was wonderful. We shared a first course of melon and mozzarella with truffles, then I moved on one of my favorite dishes of the trip, strawberry risotto (Steve had the gnocchi with duck sauce for his primo course). Our secondi were good but not great, a theme that unfortunately lasted most of our trip, where it seemed the most inspired flavors in Tuscany and Umbria are reserved for primi. This night we ate roast chicken with potatoes for me and beef tenderloin for Steve. All well-cooked and competent, but after the creative strawberry risotto, a bit of a letdown! We drank our first Umbrian wine of the trip, a Rosso di Montefalco, which was quite tasty as well.

After dinner, we enjoyed the fire in our beautiful fireplace and our mission was to stay awake until a reasonable time to avoid the jet lag. Staring up at the ceiling painted with an expansive glow-in-the-dark star-field with the crackling fire at the foot of the bed, we failed in our mission, and fell asleep early.

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