5 June: Spellbound in Spello

Author: Mrs A

Location: Spello, Umbria, Italy

Wednesday: We only drove 15 minutes to Spello, just 10km away from Assisi, everything we had read suggesting it was worth a visit.

We took quiet winding roads through agricultural land, grateful we didn’t meet any other traffic along the way.

Maybe just room for a cyclist to pass here…fabulous roads to drive on as long as you don’t meet anyone!
Gorgeous views accompany us on our way

Spello is far less well known than Assisi, but its history stretches back just as far. Much of the town is built on Roman remains and foundations, and sits within an old amphitheatre. The churches are often built on top of old Roman temples, and encompass little clues here and there to the past.

We entered through a grand gateway flanked by towers, amazed that there was not a soul around. In fact that is one of the main appeals of this town – it is so close to Assisi but there are so few tourists here. The streets and buildings are quiet, taking on a pink hue from the Mount Subasio limestone used in their construction. The constant call of swallows can be heard as they swoop catching flies around the rooftops, and the hum of insects on the ever present flowers.

Where are all the people?
These stone walls were restored in the early 1900s

Every corner is filled with flowers
Pretty pathways in all directions
A lovely looking villa
Every little space is used for pots of colour
Richness of colour in every direction

Seppo is full of flowers, every windowsill, doorstep and corner brimming with blossoms. The few people we did see were often tending to their pots, painting wooden planters, replacing dying plants with new ones.

A local gardening enthusiast tends to his pots

There seemed to only be one cat in Seppo…quite a chunky one too!
Fine views across the Umbrian countryside

From the top of the town there are fabulous views back across to Assisi, a monastery behind us enjoying this view daily.

Assisi on the hillside opposite
Wander around forever and never see another person!

Heading off down yet another enticing lane way
Will we get tired of these views?
A flower within a flower?
If only we could understand the stories behind this architecture

We tried to find somewhere nice to have lunch, but the menus were quite restrictive in terms of dairy-free, and the restaurant we really wanted to go to was closed on Wednesdays.

Mr A making use of the Google Translate app to ask about dairy-free meals

So we wandered back through the town, calling in for some wine tasting on the way through (three small glasses for €10), and popping our heads into the Chiesa di Saint Andrea, a church built in the 11th century, an example of Francisan architecture.

Hard to resist another little alleyway to explore

Chiesa di Saint Andrea
Frescos by Tommaso Corbo in 1532

We’ve seen sculptures like this all over Italy

It was well worth the visit to Seppo. We didn’t buy any wine, the prices set for the American market (two to three times the usual cost!) rather than the Italian value we have become accustomed to. It would be a great location to stay if visiting Assisi and wanting to avoid the crowds, assuming you had a hire car you could park outside the town walls.

We, meanwhile, jumped back on the road and continued our journey towards the east coast.

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