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Report 678: Italia - Umbria, Lago di Garda, Lago di Como & Visits with Friends in Empoli and Coccaglio

By girasoli from Hawaii, Spring 2005

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Page 4 of 24: Saturday - Gubbio

photo by girasoli

Gubbio

There were two options to get to Gubbio, by bus from Perugia or by train - Foligno to Fossato di Vico and then a shorter bus ride to Gubbio. According to the Italy books I have read, there are 10 connecting buses to Gubbio from the train station. I originally wanted to visit Bevagna and Montefalco while in Spello, but the only way to get to either town was four changes on local buses from Foligno. That sounded much to difficult and so I decided to go to Gubbio from Spello instead of visiting Gubbio while in Perugia. Because I sometimes get bus sick and I forgot to bring my ginger with me, I thought that the train-bus combo sounded like a better choice.

As seemed to be the theme this year for me of late/delayed trains, my train was delayed half way to Fossato di Vico (it stopped in the middle of no where for about 10 minutes as trains often do here in Italy). When I arrived in Fossato di Vico, the connecting bus left just as my train arrived. I found out that the next bus was to arrive in 2 hours! The station was in the middle of nowhere. I was left with no other transportation options as there were not even any other trains arriving for the next two hours to take me to a different town instead of waiting for the next bus. It was literally like a ghost town.

I asked the man at the bar if there was a taxi. He went to a few houses nearby to inquire and told me that the price would be 19 or 20 euros. I figured it would be better than sitting at an empty train station for two hours and if I did wait for the next bus to arrive, most of the sites to visit in Gubbio would probably be closed for lunch by the time I arrived two hours later.

It took an hour for a taxi to arrive and the price went up to 25 euros. I was not very happy but figured, I might as well take the taxi to see as much of Gubbio as I could. The taxi driver drove rapidly and we arrived in one piece in 20 minutes (the bus takes 30 minutes).

Gubbio was another beautiful hill town in Umbria. It was larger than Trevi and Spello but not too large that most of the main sites could not be seen in a day. I had a small map that I ripped out of my Rough Guide travel book which got me to the "i" information tourism office. The map the woman gave me was not much help and so I ended up using the map that I brought with me instead. She also told me everything except for the Palazzo Ducale would be closing in an hour and I did not have time to see much. I was determined to see as much as I could and ended up being able to see everything that was top on my list.

My favorite thing was the funivia to the a church high up on the mountain side above the town. It was sort of like a chair lift, but instead of sitting, you stood in a cage. It seemed more difficult to me to get into the cage than boarding a ski lift. The man would say go or run and you would have to jump in as it rode by.

The top was so peaceful with beautiful wild flowers on the hillside, birds chirping, hiking paths, and amazing views. I did not have long to stay as the funivia closed at 1:15 for an hour or so for lunch. Unfortunately there was a wedding taking place in the church and so I did not get to see the inside. After riding the little cage down, I visited a few more sites, wandered around to take some pictures and then decided that I better try to catch an earlier bus back to Fossato di Vico than originally planned so that I would not end up being stuck in Gubbio or Fossato di Vico for the night in case of bus/train problems.

The bus arrived a few minutes late and left a minute after it stopped to board passengers. The train in Fossato di Vico of course was in ritardo and once it finally came, I noticed many "strange" men on the train. They seemed to be secretly selling things or passing money/goods in plastic bags to each other. The connecting train from Foligno to Spello also had many strange people on board. I guess Saturday afternoons are when all the "interesting" people of Italy ride the trains.

After arriving in Spello, I stopped for a gelato before walking back up the hill to my hotel. I ate at another good restaurant for dinner called La Cantina here in Spello. I was again thankful that this restaurant was also very close to my hotel as it was COLD again at night. Dinner was wonderful. I had another plate of strongozzi with a hot red sauce and an insalata mista. When watching the weather (Meteo as it is called on Canale 5), the coldest place at night right now in Italy is here in the area near Perugia - 9 degrees celcius! Lucky me!!

photo - Palazzo dei Consoli - Gubbio

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