Assisi, Umbria

View from Poggia del Pettirossi
View from Poggia del Pettirossi

One of my resolutions after the A to Z Challenge in April was to “join the dots” where I’d only written about parts of a holiday. One of those was our Italian trip in 2003. We started off in R is for Rome, then took the train to Foligno in Umbria before setting out on a walking tour, Footsteps of St Francis, which ended at G is for Gubbio. This was organised through Headwater, a company which moves your luggage on while you walk from hotel to hotel, in this case every other day.

View from Poggia del Pettirossi
View from Poggia del Pettirossi

Headwater’s rep collected us from the station and took us to Il Poggia del Pettirossi, a hotel in the Bevagna hills overlooking the Umbria Valley – see the beautiful view above. I also like the shot through our window, left, though I remember the problem of having no curtains, just a blind which the photographer (ahem, not me) rolled right up out of the way so that it jammed and wouldn’t come back down! There was a terrace running outside the bedroom windows, so doing without wasn’t an option. Attempting to explain with minimal Italian on our side and minimal English on the staff side was tricky, but fortunately, with some difficulty and possibly swear words that we didn’t understand, it was fixed.

Our next stop was Assisi, 23km away – though the rep gave us a lift for the first part and we “only” did 18km on foot according to my diary. We walked down into Assisi – and then walked 3.5km, on a road, out the other side to our hotel. This was something I wasn’t happy with in general on this holiday – too many steep climbs on roads with the sun beating down on the tarmac. However, Assisi was lovely – we walked back down the next day, but took the sensible approach and got a taxi back.


Our next port of call was our favourite place to stay, because Paula at Agriturismo La Fontanella was such a welcoming host. More roads on the way though! Those are her cats – an additional plus point for us. On our day off, we walked to a place called Casa Castalda which had two pretty churches but not much else to detain us.


We had one more stop before we set off for Gubbio, but I have no good memories of that, so choose to draw a veil over it. We had holidayed with Headwater many times before this, in France, Spain and elsewhere in Italy, and the walking was much better. We’ve only used them once since (T for Tenerife), but I think that’s because it’s a type of holiday we’ve moved on from rather than from any dissatisfaction with the company. They still have Footsteps of St Francis in their brochure, but it’s completely different from the route we followed and probably much better for it.

R is for Rome

We stayed in Rome for a few nights in 2003, en route to a walking holiday in Umbria (for the end point of that holiday, see G is for Gubbio). We packed a lot into four days – these are just a few of the things we saw.

G is for Gubbio

I’m staying in Italy for G, but will fast-forward a decade. Gubbio was the end point of a walking holiday in Umbria in 2003. We were only there two nights, but seem to have covered a lot of ground. My diary lists: Palazzo Ducale, Palazzo dei Consoli, Duomo, Roman Amphitheatre, Mausoleum of 40 Martyrs, San Francesco, and the funicular up Monte Ingino to the Basilica di Sant’ Ubaldo and the Rocca viewpoint. Phew! Here are a few of the pictures.

F is for Florence

I’ve had to dig way back for F, and for the first time scan in photographs from the pre-digital era. We visited Florence in December 1992, the only time we have ever spent Christmas abroad. It was lovely – the city was decorated, but in a tasteful, understated way rather than the rather vulgar tat you get in the UK. On Christmas Day, we just walked into a restaurant, which was open as usual, and had a pizza – no booking in advance and paying inflated prices. You could also walk into museums without queuing – unheard of in the summer. Maybe it’s changed in the last two decades – some day I’ll have to try another Italian Christmas to find out.

I feel terribly nostalgic looking at our slimmer, more youthful selves. I remember that tartan coat really well – I loved it. It was bought in a second-hand shop and I then spent the same amount (£5 or £10, I can’t remember) having the torn lining replaced. Sheer elegance, I’m sure you’ll agree!