Summer #Wanderlust in Italy: Day 4 from Umbrian Hills to Abruzzo's Quaint Towns - Spoleto, Passo San Leonardo, and Pacentro
Oh hello again you! It's Thursday and that's exciting because that means the weekend is almost here and I'm in need of it after a bumpy start to my birthday week with the middle-of-nowhere breakdown of my car! It really made me wish I was still here, perusing the market in Gubbio the morning before we left for Abruzzo. I'm a bit of a lover of markets thanks to my mother who, from when I was really young, took us to the International Marketplace in Honolulu, Hawaii every single night of our two-week-long annual family vacations. I love the theatricality of markets- the chaos, smells of porchetta on a bun mixed with fake leather, the yelling, laughter, and inevitable screams of children wanting something they can't have. Love it all. But Spoleto was waiting for us and we had to make haste in hopes that the weather would hold up.
So here we are in Spoleto, in the province of Perugia where we arrived in time to eat the panini we had bought at the market in Gubbio (because we're thrifty travellers when we need to be!). We had our makeshift picnic in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria dell'Assunta while eavesdropping on our fellow bench-goers who were reciting the history of Spoleto from a guidebook. Being completely un-researched and unprepared, it was a welcome lunchtime treat to hear about the church we were munching in front of! Spoleto, like Gubbio, is another one of those towns that you could spend a couple of days in and never see everything- I counted almost fifteen churches listed on trusty Wikipedia, as well as another fifteen notable historical buildings. Being good tourists, naturally Massi and I focused on the important stuff like taking photos with this female torso sculpture and thinking up comedic captions to go with it (you can imagine some other male tourists had some fun taking lewd photographs, though this is no Nicki Minaj wax figure...).
We spent a great deal of our time in Spoleto at the Rocca Albornoziana fortress which was worth touring- not for the ancient artifacts housed inside, but for the photo-ops around her exterior (the two previous photographs above were taken there). We didn't have long in this town as we needed to make it to Pacentro (Abruzzo) in time for dinner with the rest of Massi's immediate and extended family. Since food trumps everything, we set out on route to Pacentro. Unfortunately, following our GPS and changing the settings to avoid the autostrada (freeway), we ended up doing an impromptu tour through the mountains and coming into Pacentro from above rather than below, if that makes sense. The usual 45 minute journey ended up taking over 2 hours...! However, it afforded us a fleeting sunset in the mountains as we zoomed through Passo San Leonardo 1282 meters above sea level. Between the horses roaming the roads and the "remnants" they left behind, we had to be extra cautious on the motorcycle. It was worth it however, in the end, to be greeted by a steaming hot plate of pasta with fresh tomato sauce when we finally reached Pacentro "slightly" after the dinner hour.
Jasmine is a former pharmacist turned freelance writer, foodie, and fashionista from Alberta, Canada living "the sweet life" in Bergamo, Italy.