Our Happy Umbrian Holidays
When my friend comes to Italy I take a vacation. I know, it sounds funny since I’m already in a very long vacation, here in Italy. As a matter of fact when I stay all alone I work on my blogs 12 hours a day without week-ends and holidays. Though my Moscow guest would be happy to stay all month long on the beach, we usually spend a week or more in some new and interesting places. Since there are so many great places to see in Italy, we, like a lightning, never strike twice in the same place .
Usually we go from Abruzzo to Italy. Yes, it’s true, we really feel like visiting a different country. As my readers may know, Abruzzo is not a classic Italy but a sort of medieval one. This year they celebrate a 150th anniversary of Unification of Italy but it seems that the Unification was rather virtual than real one. Our visits to out-of-the-way places in Italy showed that ancient traditions have continued to this day not only in carnivals, folk festivals and local cuisine but in everyday life, as well. Every time when I come to a new region I feel as if I get to an absolutely new country.
Last September we made a fabulous travel to Umbria. Why did I choose this region? Certainly because Umbria is the native land of Saint Francis of Assisi. Three years ago I passed by Perugia and saw the magnificent church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. I was greatly impressed by the gilded figure of Saint Mary glittering in the sunlight. The second reason behind my choice was a rather pragmatic one, namely a very convenient bus communication between Perugia and Montesilvano where I live. We decided to spend two nights in Perugia and another three nights on the lakeside of Trasimeno. I’ve seen this grand lake from far away when I visited my friends in Toscana.
After mapping out the itinerary, it was a matter of two hours to choose and book two hotels. I used the booking.com on-line service. I like its clear interface and swift feedbacks. I also like a system of rating and reviews. I always study attentively pros and cons and also post my own opinions about hotels where I stayed.
The most difficult thing was to choose a hotel in Perugia. As my friend put it, that was a multicriterion problem. I had to optimize such parameters as price, quality, location and transport availability. In case of Perugia, the task was even more complicated since I learnt from travel reviews that the historic part of the city is situated on a high hill, but bus and railway stations are located at the foot of the hill. It was a very useful tip since Google maps on hotel sites don’t reflect this topographic peculiarity.
At first I booked the modern “Chocotel”. According to a map it was situated just near the historic center, but after reading reviews I understood that it was situated down the hill. After blowing hot and cold I chose a more modest but still more expensive hotel “Fortuna”. We wanted to spend in Perugia only three days and it was reasonable to stay in a downtown hotel.
As a matter of fact, all three days we walked around the hotel which is situated just near the main street Via Vannucci. The Palace of Priors, the Umbrian National Gallery, the Maggiore Fountain and the Cathedral of St. Lawrence are situated on this street.
The Fortuna hotel*** is located in a mansion of the 14th century. Its façade is very picturesquely covered with thick dark green ivy. Inside the building, you can observe old frescoes. I don’t think that they have high artistic value but nonetheless they enrich the interior. Our chamber was rather modest and small but very calm and clean. In fact, we didn’t spend there much time. We dropped in for a couple of minutes and ran away again.
The hotel’s stuff was very friendly and helpful. They sent me e-mail with detailed instructions how to arrive to the hotel from the railway station. When we wanted to visit the International Department of the Perugian University, the manager called them and even made an appointment with them.
After spending three eventful days in Perugia, we left for the Trasimeno Lake. We reached the small town of Passignano sul Trasimeno by train without any problem. The Lido Hotel*** is fabulously situated right on the lakeside. In addition, the railway station and ferry quay are situated a few steps away. It was very convenient since we wanted to visit small towns and islands by ferry.
It appeared that both “Lido” and “Fortuna” hotels belong to one and the same proprietor. They are absolutely similar concerning comfort and services but accommodation prices in “Lido” were two times lower than that of “Fortuna”. The Lido Hotel is situated in a rather modest building of the 20th century.
The main attractions of the hotel were a restaurant with panoramic view and an open swimming pool. We’ve never seen somebody swimming in the pool but every morning and evening we observed how a hotel worker opened and shut the pool with a horizontal screen. He didn’t let us even to approach the pool to make photos.
Our Umbrian holidays were lucky in all respects. We’ve got a great inspiration visiting places where St. Francis and St. Clare lived and preached. The magnificent Umbrian architecture and masterpieces of Giotto, Perugino and Fra Angelico once and for all have captured our soles. Besides, Umbria appeared to be a very hospitable region with developed transport network and excellent travel service.
This post is a sort of prologue for the series of posts about wonderful Umbria. Please, stay connected!
You can see more pictures of hotels in my Russian blog (http://wp.me/pNV1F-bu)