The third day is when we crossed over from the region of Tuscany to the region of Umbria and the scenery became lush green hills and valleys as far as the eye can see. Our first stop of the day was Castiglione del Lago that has been given the distinction as one of the borghi più belli d'Italia. We surprisingly were not overly impressed by this one, having seen villages more deserving in Abruzzo (but Massi might be biased seeing as his mum is from Pacentro). The village is situated within stone walls overlooking Lake Trasimeno; the photograph above is of me sitting in an olive grove in front of the Fortress of the Lion, probably the most notable sight to pay a visit to in the town. We didn't stay too long, just enough to take a few pictures (like this one below where I was so tempted to stop for lunch, the restaurants in Italy are just too darn cute!).
Our next stop would be Cortona, the town made famous by Frances Mayes and her novel (life story)-turned-Hollywood movie: Under the Tuscan Sun. Like all italophiles, I love that movie (and Marcello aka Raoul Bova in his younger, more good-looking days). The town of Cortona also just happens to be the stomping ground of current students in the Faculty of Art from my alma mater, the University of Alberta. My former university has a campus in Cortona and it was neat to wander around and reflect on how many students from my hometown have walked the same streets over the years, lived out the much-idealized summer abroad; how many of them fell in love with Italy right there?
Unfortunately the afternoon started to get hazy and by lunchtime, we knew we were in for a full-blown storm. We did what any reasonable person would do in this situation- ducked into the nearest trattoria to bunker down for a Tuscan lunch and wait out the rain. The area is known for an 'abundance' of truffles, so I indulged in fettucine sprinkled with black truffles while Massi took on a modest 1.3kg of fiorentina steak. Needless to say, by the time he finished, the storm had subsided and we bid arrivederci to Cortona, leaving her beauty in the distance.
We arrived in Gubbio before dinnertime, a distinctly medieval town located at the bottom of Mount Ingino. I feel like I keep repeating the term 'medieval' to describe everything but out of all the towns so far, Gubbio is the most deserving of the description- it has a certain darkness to it, likely due to the presence of dark, grey stone used in most of the buildings, casting shadows on the narrow alleyways and numerous sets of stairs climbing up and down through the town. The architecture is Gothic and we saw only a few of the main sights such as the Roman theater and the Palazzo dei Consoli, both pictured below. Having been chilled by the rain on the back of the motorcycle for most of our journey, I was feeling slightly under the weather for our evening in Gubbio, my insatiable appetite not even making her usual dinnertime appearance. I think you would need a couple of days here to really see all the town has to offer, it's organized very well for tourists, with maps and walking itineraries dotted throughout the historic center. Be prepared to work up a sweat as many of the more popular sights are higher up in the town, as well you can trek up to the church which overlooks Gubbio (seen in the photo below) for a wonderful panorama.
Jasmine is a former pharmacist turned freelance writer, foodie, and fashionista from Alberta, Canada living "the sweet life" in Bergamo, Italy.