Saturday, July 16, 2011


(does not include Tuscany; includes Umbria)

Borgo Storico Seghetti Panichi – 1 Via San Pancrazio (Castel di Lama); 011-39-73-681-2552;; must stay here.

L’Orto degli Angeli – 1 Via Dante Alighieri; 011-39-74-236-0130;; feels like welcoming aristocratic home with antiques, frescoes, and hanging gardens.

Borgo Finocchieto – off SS2; 011-39-057-780-981;; 5 house retreat; fully restored, 800 year-old village.

BIBBONA (includes Marina di Bibbona)
La Pineta – Via dei Cavalleggeri Nord (Marina di Bibbona); 011-39-58-660-0016; beach restaurant that caters to Tuscan cognoscenti, but down-to-earth owner Luciano Zazzeri (former fisherman) still gets his catch from family boats; try Livornese specialty, caicciucco(frothy soup made from branzino, garlic, and wine).

Sights & Sites
Palazzo Farnese (also Villa Caprarola and/or Villa Farnese) – Strada Provinciale 69 (at village top); 011-39-076-164-7941;; massive Mannerist & Renaissance construction, facing Monte Cimini (densely wooded volcanic hills); built on 5-sided plan; buttresses support upper floors; expresses Farnese power, rather than serving as villa in more usual agricultural or pleasure sense; in 1504, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, future Pope Paul III, acquired estate & had designs made for fortified castle (rocca); pentagonal fortress foundations constructed probably between 1515-30; among finest examples Renaissance architecture (reaction to ornate earlier High Renaissance designs of 20 years earlier); each of 5 floors designed for different function; main rooms on 1st floor (piano nobile), where large central loggia looks over town & surrounding countryside; among frescoed subjects is “Room of World Map” (Sala del Mappamondo), displaying known world in 1574; gardens as impressive as building.

Sights & Sites
Necropolis of Banditaccia – 43-45 Via della Necropoli; 011-39-06-994-0001; or; UNESCO World Heritage Site (together with necropolis in Tarquinia; 990 acres, of which 25 can be visited; 1K tombs often housed in characteristic mounds; largest ancient necropolis in Mediterranean; name Banditaccia comes from leasing (bando) land to Cerveteri population by local landowners; tombs date from 9th Century BCE (Villanovan culture) to 3rd Century BCE (later Etruscan period); earliest tombs are pits, in which ashes of dead housed; also simple potholes are present; from later Etruscan period are tumulus-type tombs & so-called “dice,” latter being simple square tombs built in long rows along roads within necropolis.

GUBBIO (includes Montone)
Fonte al Noce – Nerbici; 011-39-75-925-5728 or 011-39-34-7644-3721 (cell);; set in Umbrian, green landscape; marvelous valley views; ancient mediaeval village renovated to preserve typical Umbrian rural building; each apartment has independent entrance, rustic fire-place and sitting area, well-equipped kitchen, and tasteful furnishings; big common room with satellite TV, covered and open veranda, and swimming-pool; extensive, well-marked footpath network.
Palace Bosone Hotel – 22 Via XX Settembre; 011-39-75-922-0688;; in old city heart; 30 rooms, 3 with terraces overlooking valley; others have elaborately frescoed ceilings.
Torre di Moravola – Voc. San Faustino (Montone); 011-39-75-946-0965;; breathtaking pool; medieval tower turned into contemporary hotel.
Ristoro in Campagna – 148 Localita Pieve D’Agnano; 011-39-334-936-8992; classic Italian cuisine.
Trattoria Il Bottacione in Gola – 25 Via de Giove Pennino; 011-39-75-927-2063;; awkwardly situated off highway, 2 minute drive by taxi, but worth effort for excellent Umbrian food.
Trattoria San Martino dal Geghi – 7 Piazza G. Bruno; 011-39-75-922-0458;
Ulisse e Letizia – 2 Via Mastro Giorgio; 011-39-75-922-1970;; near Piazza Grande; affordable, traditional local dishes with truffles.
Sights & Sites
Basilica of Sant’Ubaldo – 5 Via Mt. Ingino; 011-39-75-927-3872;; church, documented as far back as 13th Century, restored in early 16th Century.
Church of San Francesco – 40 Piazza Quaranta Martiri; 011-39-75-927-3460;; by architect Fra’Bevignate; situated on previous Spadalongas residence; frescoes of particular interest include History of Virgin (Ottaviano Nelli around 1400), Madonna with Child, S. Cristoforo, and S. Antonio Abbate.
Church of San Giovanni – Piazza San Giovanni; 011-39-75-92371 or 011-39-75-927-537; gothic frescoes on otherwise unadorned walls.
Civitella Ranieri Foundation – on way to Umbertide;; artists’ colony in 15th Century structure with lush gardens.
Fontana dei Matti – Piazza del Bargello; 16th Century fountain, known as “Fountain of Madmen”; to be baptized with its waters, make 3 turns around fountain, with native citizen assistance, whereupon real certificate that states verified lunatic, along with honorary citizenship.
Mount Ingino – 11 Via Armanni; 011-39-75-927-3881; car.html; take funicular (Funivia Colle Eletto, birdcage-like car that holds 2); panoramic views.
Museo Civico di Palazzo dei Consoli – Piazza Grande; 011-39-75-927-4298;; ancient government palace dating to 14th Century’s beginning; over 60 ms h; bell tower and loggia; home since 1909 to regional museum collections; worth special trip alone for Iguvine Tablets (7 bronze plates on which is written most important Umbrian language texts and most extensive ancient religious ritual description.
Ranghiasci Park – Piazza della Signoria;; large garden.
Roman Theater – Viale del Teatro Romano; 011-39-75-922-0922;; large edifice dates from 1st Century BCE; inscriptions and excellent mosaics; restored for most part.

Lillo Tatini – 13-14 Piazzo Umberto I; 011-39-75-837-771;; delightful, small restaurant; seasonally themed dishes.

PERUGIA (includes Passignano sul Trasimeno & San Savino)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Cioccolateria Augusta Perusia – 2 Via Pinturicchio; 011-39-75-573-4577;; ice cream; try Raffaello (coconut-white chocolate).
La Fonte Maggiore – 3 Via della Gabbia; 011-39-75-573-2939; ice cream that focuses on rich, chocolate flavors distinguished by cocoa content.
Pasticceria Sandri – 32 Corso Vannuci; 011-39-75-572-4112; Swiss café since 1860; chandeliers hang fro vaulted, mural-covered ceiling; Perugian landmark; wood-paneled setting.
Bars & Nightclubs
Gus – 19 Via Mazzini; 011-39-75-573-4365; outdoor tables perfect for glass prosecco during break from passeggiata along Corso Vannuci (city’s main drag); prime people-watching.
Osteria a Priori – 39 Via dei Priori; 011-39-75-572-7098;; small restaurant with tiny streetside patio that is good place for post-dinner drink.
Il Punto di Vista – 2 Via Indipendenza; 011-39-339-662-0326; go for sunset and sit at outdoor table while having glass of wine and looking out over Umbrian hills.
Castello di Monterone – 3 Strada Montevile; 011-39-75-572-4214;; crenellated, 13th Century castle; small but fit for princess; 18 rooms set smong manicured courtyards, stone terraces, fragrant rose gardens; 2 onsite restaurants, and swimming pool; great views.
Hotel Brufani Palace – 12 Piazza Italia; 011-39-75-573-2541;; at Corso Vannuci’s end; 94 elegantly styled rooms; sweeping countryside views; basement level, glass-bottom pool exposing Etruscan ruins below.
Hotel La Rosetta – 19 Piazza Italia; 011-39-75-572-0841;; briskly efficient and impeccably central; higher-priced rooms have magnificent views.
Alter Ego – 2 Via Floramonti; 011-39-75-572-9527; oddly and unnecessarily chic but excellent food.
Osteria a Priori – 39 Via dei Priori; 011-39-75-572-7098;; small restaurant dedicated to Umbrian-sourced products.
Il Postale – 3 Strada Montevile; 011-39-75-572-4214;; Perugia’s only Michelin starred restaurant; 4 small tables in frescoed dining room in stone castle; modern menu; not prohibitive.
Ristorante Il Cantinone – 6 Via Ritorta; 011-39-75-573-4430; excellent pizza just few steps from duomo.
Trattoria da Faliero – 23 Via Case Sparse (Montebuono di Magione); 011-39-75-847-6528;; simple roadside spot overlooking water; short on signage but legendary among locals for its speciality, torta al testo, filled warm flatbread.
Vecchia Perusia – 9 Via Ulisse Rocchi; 011-39-75-572-5900; also known as "Da Franky" (owner is wisecracking guy known as "Franky Banana"); great food; try strangozzi (thick-noodle spaghetti).
Umbria in Vespa – 42 Via Case Sparse (San Savino); 011-39-75-843-062;; on Lake Trasimeno; good way to see lake environs.
Mastri Carte Editori – 77 Via dei Priori; 011-39-75-572-5549;; everything decoupage, from minimalist lampshades to elaborate rocking horses.
Osteria a Priori – 39 Via dei Priori; 011-39-75-572-7098;; small speciality food shop dedicated to Umbrian-sourced products.
Sights & Sites
Capella di San Severo – Piazza Raffaello; 011-39-75-573-3864;; includes fresco by Pietro Vannuci (Perugino) and his pupil, Raphael.
Cathedral of San Lorenzo – Piazza IV Novembre; 011-39-75-572-3832; although church on this land since 900s, current version begun in 1345 from designs created by Fra Bevignate in 1300; building continued until 1587; doorway built in late 1700s; main facade never completed; inside, dramatic Gothic architecture, altarpiece by Signorelli, and sculptures by Duccio.
Ecclesiastical Museum of Umbria – 7 Via Beato Lodovico da Casoria; 011-39-347-874-0224;
Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria – 19 Corso Vannuci; 011-39-75-5866-8410;; Umbrian art kept in Palazzo dei Priori, grand stone building dating to 13th Century.
Lake Trasimeno – 10 Piazza Mazzini (Passignano sul Trasimeno, Servizio Turistico Territoriale del Trasimeno); 011-39-75-965-2484;; 10 miles outside of town; entry fee; hiking; Italy’s 4th largest lake (after Garda).
Perugia Chocolates – 47 Via San Sisto; 011-39-75-527-6796;; on town’s outskirts; offers tours.
Piazza IV Novembre – central square on which Cathedral and fountain dominate.
Pozzo Etrusco – 18 Piazza Danti; 011-39-75-573-3669;; eerie Etruscan well that dates to 3rd Century BCE.
Rocca Paolina Fortress – Piazza Italia; 011-39-75-572-5778;; spooky, well-preserved medieval street warren that spreads out as city below current city.

Chiaia di Luna – among most scenic beach settings in Italy; essentially, narrow crescent of silky sand at towering, 328' volcanic rock wall base.

Sextantio Albergo Diffuso – Via Principe Umberto; 011-39-86-289-9112;; 1.5 hours east and just north of Rome, between 3K meter high Corno Grande and Adriatic, nestled in Appennines; in all but abandoned hilltop town; gorgeous buildings throughout village bought and meticulously revived by Swedish-Italian entrepreneur, philanthropist, and hotelier Daniele Kihlgren; entirely committed to conservative restoration using strictly local materials (primarily terracotta tiles, wood and limestone), as well as historical accuracy; for those who value beautiful local meal and comfortable, elegant accommodation.

Sights & Sites
National Archaeological Museum of Tarquinia – Piazza Cavour (near Viterbo, in Palazzo Vitelleschi); 011-39-076-685-0080;
Tarquinia Necropolis – Strada provinciale Monterozzi Marina - Tarquinia (near Viterbo); 011-39-076-684-0000; or; UNESCO World Heritage Site (together with necropolis in Cerveteri.

Sights & Sites
Galleria Nazionale delle Marche – 13 Piazzale Duca Federico; 011-39-07-222-760;; make sure to see Piero della Francesca’s Madonna & Child with Two Angels & Flagellation.

Relais di Villa Rossi Danielli – 10 Strada Sammartinese; 011-39-76-122-8082 or 866-539-0036;; affordable; 300 years-old; Julia Roberts lived here while filming Eat Pray Love; 17 acres – perfect rural escape (hour north of Rome); 6-room villa with coffered, painted ceilings and French floral fabrics; 5-room converted barn with wood-barning, stone fireplace.

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