Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live inside a fairytale? You know, the kind where all girls get to be princesses and all guys are handsome knights who go hunting out in the forest while the princesses meet for tea-parties and braid hairbands made of flowers?
That sounds silly, you might say and yet I bet at one moment in your life (which you may or may not remember) you’ve pictured yourself that way. Admittedly, I haven’t thought of princesses and knights in a good few years, but when I arrived in Perugia, Umbria back in April to attend the Travel Bloggers Unite conference I was instantly taken with the sheer beauty of the land, the clean air and the endless lusciously green fields.
The resort we stayed in, the Valle di Assisi, spreads over a wide area with many independant country-style houses, ensuring a quiet and peaceful stay without any disturbing neighbors, pumping nightclubs or street noise. It’s that sort of place you imagine writers go to for a month, where they find their centre and get the inspiration they need to produce bestselling novels. It was the first time I ever had to walk for 15 minutes to get from my room to reception.
The way to reception.
The house we stayed in.
Thankfully the resort does offer bikes at your free disposal on the terrain, so getting to reception could be done within 3 minutes and be quite fun actually. Speaking of bikes, the only thing I wanted to do when I first arrived was to ride around and take in the beauty of the land. Most of the streets lead along green fields with no shortage of panoramic views. One afternoon Lea and I played naughty by taking the hotel bikes out for a spin (you’re not officially allowed to leave the resort area with them) with the goal of cycling up to the old town of Assisi we had heard so many good things about.
Lea happy on her bike
The wind blew mildly and the air was warm when we headed out, just a couple of hours before sunset. Grey and white clouds assembled dramatically, but the sun still managed to shine our way to the ancient capitol of Perugia, that was once built by the Romans in a terrace shape and onto the Monte Subasio mountain, providing inhabitants with generous views onto the surrounding landscape.
We cycled and stopped and snapped photos and then cycled some more until we arrived in the center of the old town where we got off the wheels and explored the small cobbled streets by foot. 28.000 people live here and although there are some touristic tendencies, like the souvenir shops and restaurants equipped with dfferent language menus, we still found this town to be as charming as many of the other Italian cities we’ve ever visited.
In the short time we walked around town, we witnessed an awe-inspiring sunset, some pretty interesting ham& cheese shops and a monk who walked the streets barefoot, holding a stick and chatting to us about prophecy and god. The whole thing was a little surreal but along with this historic setting it was fun to imagine what life was like some 2000 years ago, when barefoot monks were probably the norm and people assembled on the town square for festivities, announcements and markets.
Eventually we ran into some more people from TBU and we all sat down on a cute piazza where a new restaurant called La Piazzetta dell’Erba (Via San Gabriele dell’Addolorata 15b) had just opened and invited us all to free wine and food while the owner’s newphew performed Italian rap songs on the mic. I can’t be sure but I think I overheard him slip a few dirty words in there, too.
Around 10 we got tired and decided to roll our bikes back to the resort but not without a final pitstop at the gelateria for some amazing pistacchio and chocolate ice-cream. Perfect ending to the day really.