Andrea and her family live in a small village in Umbria, 5 minutes away from the Tuscany border. They’ve lived in San Leo for nearly 16 years and are located in between 2 valleys and have beautiful panoramic views. “It’s a small village with a population of 210 but we are fortunate that the village has 2 shops, bars, a pizzeria restaurant, a primary school, a post office and a church. Occasionally on our days off or on a Sunday we like to explore, we have our favourites. We are really spoilt for choice, but here are our top 4 in Umbria and 1 in Tuscany.”
Our main go to place is Città di Castello, with approximately 40,100 inhabitants. It is located about 25 minutes away. Our daughters go to college there and it’s where they like to hang out with their friends. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a public transport system available, just the school bus, it picks them up at 7:10am and returns at 2:20pm Monday – Saturday. So if they have any after school activities, parties, nights out, then they use ‘dad’s taxi service’, which is very reliable. There isn’t much for kids to do, but they don’t mind just walking around and chatting.
There are loads of excellent restaurants and bars, most clothes shops are located just out of the centre in the industrial area, with more bars and restaurants and a McDonald’s. There is also a communal sports centre and hospital. The main car park is located outside the walled section and car parking is free, even at the hospital. What we do depends on the time of year, or the activity our daughters are doing. Sundays during spring and summer, we have a little walk along the river Tevere, then into the centre finishing off with either a drink at Café Maggi or an ice cream at All Ice (our favourite), or if we are in the industrial area we have a drink and a slice of pizza at All Foxx. Città di Castello is lovely in the summer evenings, eating out, walking around or just sitting with a drink and people watching. There are lots of festivals, which we enjoy visiting, our favourites are Only Wine in April and Tartufi in October.
When we feel like going a little further, we love to visit Lake Trasimeno. This drive takes an hour, it’s a windy road but worth the effort. The main places we visit are around the lake. It’s surrounded with beautiful views, restaurants and bars. We wander around the area or sometimes we relax at the man-made beach, which also has a pool and bar. On Sundays they have a market, very occasionally we get a ferry to the island Maggiore, which has a population of 35 – it has some restaurants, a beach and has a lovely walk around the island. It reminds me of the book The Island by Victoria Hislop.
Or we visit Castiglione del Lago, on the southwest corner of Lake Trasimeno. The village has Etruscan and Roman origins and an impressive medieval castle still stands there today. It is the walled town with shops, restaurants, ice cream shops, hospital, churches and lots of streets to investigate, with beautiful panoramic views.
As a birthday treat for our daughters we visit Spoleto so they can meet up with their best friend who moved there 5 years ago. Spoleto is around 100km away and is surrounded by hills, olive groves and vineyards. It is such a beautiful place. It is built on a hill and has a fantastic escalator/elevator system to take you up the mountain side, which saves your legs! It even has an underground escalator taking you to different areas from the fortress to the Basilica St. Salvatore, the San Ponziano Church and the Monastery. There are also loads of shops and restaurants which all combined make for a good day out.
Cortona is another favourite place to visit, this is in Tuscany and is under an hour away on a very windy road but the views of the lake are amazing. When we’ve managed to find a parking space, the walk is step up to the town centre, we try and visit out of tourist season because it gets very busy. Again it has lots of restaurants and bars, leather shops, art galleries, ice cream shops, a pretty park and glorious views, in the summer they have an open air cinema and The Tuscan Sun Festival – classic movies, music and arts festival, normally opened by someone famous. It’s small but very beautiful, our favourite thing to do is have a walk around , then relax in a bar with a cappuccino or hot chocolate and a cake.
These are just a few of the beautiful places we love to visit that are local to us.