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Report 1933: Le Marche & Umbria: Three Women, Truffle Dogs and an Uncooperative GPS

By Pokey from MA, Spring 2011

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Page 13 of 14: Goo-Goo Gubbio

photo by Mindy Smith

Gubbio

Today we are scheduled to meet Marco Bellanca for a guided tour of Gubbio. Once again Letizia gives us perfect directions for driving and parking in Gubbio. Marco’s contact info: bellsista@yahoo.it phone: 39-(347) 600-2209.

We meet Marco as scheduled in front of the statue in Piazza Quaranta Martiri. He gives us an overview of the city and then we begin our informative tour of Gubbio. I love the medieval feel of this town! Marco tells us that the town is getting ready for the famous Corsa dei Ceri, the Candle Race which is held every May 15th. Saint Ubaldo, Saint George and Saint Anthony are each represented by different colored flags. They’re everywhere! Marco explains how the three large wooden “ceri” are carried way up the hill, through the narrow streets of Monte Ingino, until they reach the Basilica of Sant’Ubaldo. They always run in the same order and, of course, Sant’Ubaldo first, followed by Saint George and then Saint Anthony. Thousands of people attend this well known and popular celebration every year. Also, during Christmas time there is a giant Christmas tree formed with lights and occupies the whole of Mount Ingino. Marco tells us that the Coca Cola company wanted to buy the rights to the tree from the town but Gubbio said “no way!” Take that corporate America.

The ceramics of this area are quite lovely and we stop into a shop where Marco knows the owner. Michele and Colleen buy a few things, I choose to "opt out" and not buy anything.

We stop at the Fontana dei Matti. Marco explains that if we run around it three times we become honorary citizens of Gubbio. Who can pass up such an opportunity and maybe even burn off a few calories! We even get (buy) a certificate proving we are "fools!"

Marco takes us up and up through the narrow streets and we make our way to the Piazzaa dei Consoli and the magnificent Palazzo dei Consoli. The view of the valley from this high up is gorgeous, stunning, spectacular, etc. etc.! Impossible to take a bad photo!

Marco is a great guide, he brings Gubbio alive for us. I would recommend him as a guide for any of the hill towns in the area. Besides Assisi and Spello, Gubbio is a place where I would consider staying when visiting Umbria.

We say our goodbyes to Marco and head over to Locanda del Cantiniere Ristorante (Via Dante, 30). Another great recommendation from Letizia. We are seated next to a large table of very handsome young men, maybe soccer players(?), and we try to behave and not drool. We share Mozzarella di Bufala (with “rocket” and tomato), Michele has Trofie pasta with zucchini and shrimp, insalata mista, Colleen has Pappardelle with duck sauce and I order the pappardelle with beef tenderloin and green pepper. I am thirsty for beer and enjoy my ice cold Beck’s. All together the bill is €65.00.

There had been some discussion of driving to Perugia, but Michele and I say basta, enough for one day. All I want to do is sit on the terrace at Letizia’s with a glass of vino and my camera. So, we head back up the hill to our “home” without getting lost. We make a casual meal from the leftover cheese, sausage, and bread as we are leaving the next morning for Rome. Letizia brings us each a shot glass filled with her wild rose petals liquor! Whoa!! It sounds so sweet and innocent, right? I about fell off the patio chair!

I head back up to my room and stare out my window. The view of the Basilica of St. Francis, the valley below, the stars, the moon ... I am so blessed and thankful for my health so I can travel to such a beautiful part of the world. I call my friends at Residenze Il Carmine in Florence; seems so strange to be in Italy and not visit Florence. I will visit them in the Fall of 2012!

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