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Sunday, July 1. 2012
Re-posted from last June - Southern Umbria #6: Photo dump of the Todi area in the Tiber Valley, mostly
Through Delta, flew from JFK to Rome via Paris (cheaper that way) on Air France (which I like very much - decent airplane food with cheese and baguettes, etc, champagne when you board, drinks free, charming hostesses). We had the worst seats so you do your best to zone out. I needed some Ambien. The quick 2 hr- flight down to Rome, using Delta, is on Alitalia.
We clever, thrifty Yankees can do a 12-day grand luxe and glitz-free trip around Umbria for the price of a good high-end Mac server. A few travel trips for this first pic dump post:
We got some very good hotel deals via Expedia. We are very particular about where we will stay, as you will see (if you care). Mrs. BD is my planner. We seek out little gems without jacuzzis and absolutely without bellboys with uniforms. We are allergic to that sort of crap, and like to explore places that most people do not. We reserved a fine hatchback Lancia through Costco. Cheap. With the talking GPS - and that came in darn handy because we prefer trying to get lost on back roads unless we are in a rush to the airport. Somehow managed not to get the car in a roadside farm ditch on this trip - but I have done that in the past. Hilarity always ensues! Amusing recriminations also. Good way to meet the local farmer with tractor!
We stayed at one hotel in the Tiber Valley, one in the Valle Umbra, and one in the Valnerina to cover all the of Umbrian geography. View of the olive orchard of our hotel 10 k outside Todi, early morning mist:
More good stuff and fun pics below the fold -
One of the cool new terminals at De Gaulle airport -
Nice snack shop at De Gaulle airport
I got this shot of the Alps on the flight down to Rome:
Nice snack shop at Da Vinci airport in Rome
Picked up our car in the airport and drove up past the Sabine Hills through Lazio into Umbria while figuring out the GPS. Terrible traffic jams out of Rome, but what does one expect? The Romans are famous for driving like lunatics, and it is good sport to deal with them on the roads.
We were headed for Todi, actually, to a rural agritourismo place around 10 klicks outside Todi in the farming hills. We luckily arrived just at dusk, because their tiny sign on the 1mile dirt country lane would have been invisible at night, and the GPS is not entirely reliable on obscure dirt roads.
Mrs. BD did one heck of a job with the planning, because this place where we stayed for three days was paradise. Tenudo di Canonica. It's an 11th Century farmhouse built on Roman foundations, with a defensive tower. Only nine rooms, and a fantastic dinner chef. I took some pics of the place and the views from the grounds and its farm (mostly olive orchards, but some sheep and wheat).
View from the Tenudo's lawn:
The old farmhouse was built on Roman foundations, most still visible. The farmhouse's tower is medieval. This inn is like paradise.
Entry hall of the tenudo:
They raise their own chickens and sheep - and olives of course.
Typical BD pre-breakfast. Damn, I wish they made bigger coffees. They do not do pre-made coffe in Italy, but you hate to keep bothering them for more when they are busy getting the breakfast table ready. Americans get going much earlier than they do - they seem to believe that 8 AM breakfast is early while I think 5 AM is just right:
Normal breakfast, with soft-boiled eggs from their chickens:
I have only spoken with two Americans who have visited Todi, and they loved little Todi as much as we did. Some pics of the little town:
Love the Farmacia in the 12th C building. So much old stuff, they just use it instead of sanctifying it.
People live in this tower:
15th C. Santa Maria Della Consolazione, just outside the three walls of the town. An ordinary working church, not a cathedral. Our car was that silver Lancia hatchback (nice car, std transmission). In Italia, 15th C is modern:
Lunchtime! Looks like a little pizzeria, but it ain't. It's a great ristorante panoramica after you go through the doors! It's never a bad idea to enter a ristorante panoramica.
I had the carpaccio (comes with dandelion greens), and Mrs. BD had the fettucini with salmon sauce. Both wonderful. I love good carpaccio.
The restaurant's giardino panoramica:
Here's the panoramico. I can see our testudo from this giardano panoramico:
We did go down into the 1st C BC Roman cisterns along with some historically-knowledgeable Brits, but my pics did not come out well. The story of how such things were constructed is remarkable. The Romans were masters of engineering and masters of concrete. The magic of concrete was lost during the Dark Ages.
Did we buy anything in Todi? Not much. A postcard or two. Mrs. BD did buy a silk scarf from a Scottish lady with a nice scarf shop. More pics of the lively little town of Todi:
One of the three walls, Roman, then Medieval, then Renissance walls as the town grew:
Another pic of our fine tenudo
That is not lawn up there on the hill - that's wheat. They do not waste space on lawns:
View from our window. Leave the window open: Nightingales singing all night long. Also, heard a Screech Owl. Did not know Europe had them. I kept thinking that this area would be heaven for Bob White Quail, but I had none in my luggage.
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Loved the pictures as it brought back so many fun memories of our trip to Italy earlier this year. Thanks for posting.
Not to worry, by the time I am done photo-dumping you will be bored to death.
Wow. I'd love to know the website addresses for your lodging rentals. My blog has some great rentals on it, but yours are impressive.
Ps. my blog
BD, Love your style, travel ops, and your signature breakfast cigar. Getting out of Fiumicino and up to Umbria on overnight flight sleep?..Impressive.
Did the same out of Heathrow and down to Kent, left side driving, twice. So far I've cracked and shattered the passenger side mirrors in two different trips (those small village transitions from the highways). I'm determined not to go 0-3 next time.
Great posts. keep 'em coming.
Love Italia, can't wait to go back.
Nice, brief travelog. Sounds like you folks do it right: fly in and roll your own around the country. We like that method too, but haven't tried it in Italy. (Or not yet.)
"The Romans were ... masters of concrete." IIRC, my high school Latin teacher told us (40 yrs ago) that one of the Romans' construction techniques was their use of a hydraulic cement very similar to what we call Portland cement now.
And now I find there's a Wikipedia entry about "Roman concrete".
I checked the rates at the Tenuta, and you must be paying way, way, too much for your good high-end Mac server.
Looks awesome though.
Not to worry, by the time I am done photo-dumping you will be bored to death.
Au Contraire, Mon Ami. Your descriptions and pics take me right there. Thank you.
Wonderful, I feel like I've been on a vicarious vacation in Umbria!
How about that Lancia, was it a diesel or did it run on petrol?
Nice, Bird Dog. You may have just sparked a tourism run on Todi.
One quibble though -- a Lancia? It looks just like an Alfa Romeo 147 (my wife has one...)
Very nice, thank you for the lovely pics. Do you or Mrs BD speak Italian?
No, not really. And few Italians outside the big cties speak any English, so we're all on level ground.