“Don’t tell her what time we arrive.” This was how a meeting between close friends was to begin, with a lie, with an evasion.
But it was necessary.
We decided to do our normal night train down south so that we could “earn” another day during our little vacation, one of the several long weekends in April. Unfortunately, the way the night train schedule worked out to this particular destination, we were arriving at 6am. We had planned on getting some breakfast and maybe walking around the city for a few hours, and meeting up with our host at a more suitable hour, like 10am.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t letting us get away with that. When we arrived, early and maybe not so bright in the Italian city of Spoleto, region of Umbria, we found a city that was still sleeping. But it was a peaceful and beautiful experience because the beauty of the city is mainly in the open so we didn’t need to wait for opening hours to enjoy most of it.
I should have known what to expect. I mentioned to my friends and colleagues that I was going to Spoleto for the weekend and almost everyone said, “oh, che bello!” so that should have been an immediate indication.
Spoleto is a great city that I can’t wait to be able to visit again – there is something of historical significance around every corner and its setting is so picturesque and there was green and trees everywhere we looked. Being in great company with friends didn’t hurt, either. The city itself is built on a hill with different paths going up and down its narrow streets, and we took several different ways and discovered something new each time.
The pictures from early morning were wonderful and completely absent of tourists or even locals. Our early morning cappuccino and cornetto were hot from the oven.
The Duomo di Spoleto (Cathedral of Santa Maria dell’Assunta) is not as obvious as you’d think – it’s situated off a small street with a decline leading to the piazza del Duomo. It feels a bit like it’s sunken (and protected) because of the hills on one side, and the buildings on all other sides.
One of the most striking sights of Spoleto is the Ponte delle Torri, a 13th century aqueduct, which they claim to have some Roman origins as well. But it blows me away to think that this bridge is 700+ years old – it’s enormous. A circular walk which is a runner’s dream surrounds the Rocca Albornoziana, a castle-like building that sits at the highest point of the city, near the bridge.
A medieval church, Santa Eufemia, a few steps away from the Duomo has very interesting windows, seemingly built more for protection than to let the light in.
Via di Fontesecca is a street in the centro storico that will later be overrun with tourists. The shops are quaint but most likely to be avoided unless you really need that salsa di tartufi or ceramic bowl.
Soon, the city will awake!