April 11, 2008

Travel Log: Vacation from Vacation - il Cantico della Natura - in Umbria

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Tuesday night-Wed-Thu, April 8-10 - a Magione hillside villa

We've scaled the Swiss Alps, visited the Milano Duomo, rode a gondola through canals in Venice, saw "The David" in Florence. It was time for a vacation from the vacation.
Our train pulled into the little town of Magione & we barely made it off (I think we were the only people deboarding). Rain was picking up & we sought shelter in the little very-local cafe at the station. Soon our host, Frencesco arrived to carry us up the hillside through the tiny village of Monte Sperello to our destination - Il Cantico della Natura. In heavy rain we wedged our luggage out of the tiny car into the warm hospitable confines of the villa dining hall.

This place was picture perfect & exceeded expectations - already set high by the web site. Since the restaurant was closed and we didn't have a car, Frencesco prepared us a spread of local sliced meat, cheese & wine (best wine on the trip, so far - a couple bottles will hopefully make it home). Tee enjoyed the large "slipper" tub on a cold rainy night before enjoying a good night sleep.

In the morning we found the entrance to the dining room blocked by "guardians of the breakfast lair" - 3 sleeping puppies!

Rain was in the forecast Wed & more so on Thu, so we nixxed biking plans and after a huge breakfast spread hiked up the hill, along the ridge, explored an abandoned very dilapidated dwelling overgrown with vegetation, and traversed down the back side and into the little village of Monte Melino. This village had everything it needed, small [private] castle, 1 building housing a few families, large villa w/ mean dogs, taverna, olive orchard, and beautiful church. No more, no less (well, there was a timely placed public WC!). A local elder invited us to visit the church. The hike back UP the hill (and through the village of Monte Sperello) prepared us for dinner - which was awesome (not sure what it all was, since the fixed menu was in Italian, but all was good).

Thursday - Definitely a day off. We caught up on email, explored the grounds, napped. I took a run down the hill and weaved over to large abandoned villa which intrigued me - it was viewable from our room. I found it, ventured inside, then ran (ok, walked a lot) back up to get ready for dinner.

Both Wed & Thu called for rain, but we never felt a drop, so no complaints!

So much to say about this wonderful place, definitely wish we had more time. See later posts for photos.

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