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Report 1920: Rome, Tuscany, Venice & Amalfi for Beginners

By nikkihop from USA, Summer 2011

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Page 10 of 16: June 9, 2011 Day Nine: Assisi, the Marmore Cascade, & Sorrento

photo by nikkihop

The Marmore Cascata

After the misery of our drive the day before, DB and I woke up in a beautiful hotel room with a spectacular view of the Perugian countryside. I heartily recommend the Hotel Fontebella, but make sure you book the Valley View room overlooking the broad expanse of countryside to the south. We paid $161 for one night. This was DB' favorite hotel, mainly because of the comfortable king-sized bed. He wished we could have stayed longer than one night for that reason alone. We slept in and relaxed a bit.

As usual, I got up earlier so as not to miss the fantastic breakfast, which is included in the price of the room. If you stay here, do not miss breakfast. It's the room. It's in this vaulted-ceiling cavern on the ground floor, where the sun streams in and turns the white bricks golden in the light. It's medieval and glorious. They serve cold cuts, pastries, cereal, juice, coffee and other assorted yumminess.

For $10, we got to park our rental car all day just steps across the narrow road from the front door. So, we left the car and strolled around Assisi, popping into St. Francis' church to pay homage and climbing the steep winding streets to Rocca Maggiore, the medieval castle atop the hill. As far as I am concerned, this is a must-see and better than anything else in town. You truly get a sense of what it was like to live in a medieval castle. We climbed the battlements and walked across the long brick corridor that connects the tower with the castle proper to get a magnificent view of the town and surrounding farmland. We both could have spent more time in Assisi, but we were eager to get to our slow travel destination, the Amalfi Coast. All too soon, we climbed down the hill, packed up and drove out of town on our way down south.

We had one more stop on our way down south. I wanted to see the great man-made waterfall built by the Romans in Terni. It was a beautiful drive and a nice place to stop and rest. We parked at the top of the hill and walked to the upper belvedere to view the waterfall, which was creating rainbows in the sun. We shot some gorgeous photos and then drove down to the lower belvedere to see all of the falls from a greater vantage point. We would have hiked down and back up, but dark clouds were once again gathering in the distance, and we wanted to stay as dry as possible. Sure enough, as soon as we got to the bottom viewing belvedere, it started to rain. We stood in awe for a few moments, snapped a couple of photos, and then headed back to the car.

The drive to the Amalfi Coast was uneventful and easier than the drive from Venice to Assisi. The hard part came when we hit the pedestrian only signs (again) in the town of Sorrento, where we would be staying for the next six days. Finally, I just had DB pull up to a police officer guarding the road and explained in Italian that we were trying to check into the Palazzo Abagnale and could we drive through to drop off our luggage? No problem. The polizia practically gave us an escort on foot the two blocks to our guest house. We unloaded the luggage and checked in.

This B&B is a breath of fresh air. It's extremely mod - very 1960. Our room was pure white with modern silver and acrylic fixtures and a king-sized turquoise bed that looked exactly like the photos on the website. The staff was very kind and helpful and breakfast was delicious. Fabulous coffee and blood orange juice. We paid $603 dollars for five nights.

We parked the rental car overnight in the main city parking garage until we could return it in the morning and said goodnight.

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