Amalfi Coast | Umbria | Bolonga | Alassio | Langhe | Firenze | Roma


UmbriaAfter five days on the Amalfi Coast, we next headed up to the Region of Umbria to spend some time in Orvieto.

Parts of Umbria are much like areas of Tuscany, although there are differences in the regions, and to those who live in Umbria, the regions are distinctly different.

We find Umbria less crowded with tourists and enjoy our travels there. There is an endless number of hill-top-towns so have lots of memory cards fory our camera, vVineyards, olive groves and interesting landscapes.

In Orvieto we visit with our friends Gianluca Antoniella and Velia de Angelis and experienced their new and exciting venture, the Champagneria Orvieto. Now, celebrating one year of operation, the Champagneria is a popular small champagne and wine bar in the Umbrian town of Orvieto. Gianluca knows his wines and he will recommend a good wine or champagne. Velia, who runs her own cooking school, is regularly at the Champagneria and by all means, do eat her food.

Champaganeria Orvieto Champagneria Orvieto Gianluca Antoniella
Champagneria Orvieto located on Piazza Marconi in Orvieto just down below the Duomo.. Champagneria Orvieto. Gianluca Antoniella of Champagneria Orvieto
Champagneria Orvieto Velia de Angelis cooking at champagneria Champagneria Orvieto
Sit down at one of the tables to enjoy champagne, wine and food. Velia de Angelis cooks great food in the kitchen at the Champagneria Comfortable chairs and tables at the Champagneria.


Borgo San FaustinoWe have the opportunity to stay once again at agriturismo Borgo San Faustino which is located about 20 minutes from Orvieto.

Maurizio Fillipi looks after you with the utmost of care and the agriturismo, located in the hills is very peaceful. In a quiet location, this is a great place to relax. We have always enjoyed the large pool lying on one of the comfortable chairs and soaking up the Umbrian sun. There are is large house as well as a number of independent buildings, cabins, that provide large rooms.

San FaustinoMaurizio is also expanding with renovations to an old building to provide more rooms well underway. The new renovated building will be open in 2008. I stuck my head in to have a look, the large fireplace looks great.

This year I also took an early morning walk along the road (SP 101) and enjoyed the views of vineyards and old farms in this area of San Faustino.



Fustino area near Orvieto Faustino area Vineyards Faustino area


Le AnforeWe also stay at another agriturismo, Le Anfore, located in Sarteano, which is located about 57 km north of Orvieto.

As with previous trips to this area, we found its location, just 6 km off the A1 Autostrada, as an excellent location to use as a base to tour the area. If you get the option for meals, well they are excellent.

Orvieto is one of those towns that is easy to walk about, has lots to see, and is a good base to travel around the region. It sits on the summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff. You will see it high on the hill as you drive towards the town. Dating from Etruscan and Roman times, in 1000's the Pope's nephew took up residence in this town. For grand architecture, well follow the Pope's. Pope Clement VII stayed here in the 1500s during the sack of Rome as the defences of the town are superior.

Duomo The Gothic cathedral, or duomo, for which construction started in 1290, is one of the more famous buildings of Orvieto. Stripes of white travertine and greenish-black basalt along with intricate carvings makes this one of the churches to see in Umbria.

There is much to see in this town. You can drive up to the top and there are parking lots, or if you park at the bottom, take the funicular up and just walk about as much of the town is restricted in terms of where cars can or can not go.

Antico Bucchero OrvietoA good lunch at the Ristorante Antico Bucchero on via de' Cartari was also in order. We ate here last year and I have to say, once again, a great meal. See Great Places to Stay for more information on this restaurant.

We had the pleasure of being invited to stay at what will be one of the special places of this year's trip - the Palazzo Venturelli. This palazzo is in the very old town of Amelia.

Amelia is one of the oldest cities in Umbria. King Ameroe founded the town, with the name Ameria and it was later occupied by the Etruscans, then the Romans. Numerous invasions took place with from the middle ages up to the unification of Italy in 1860 the town, now known as Amelia rules by the Roman Catholic Church within the Papal States. As with many towns, it is all about location, and Amelia was on what was known as the Byzantine Way, the route connecting Rome to Ravenna.

Porta Romana AmeliaA walled town, the the large impressive gate is one of the first things you see as you approach the old town centre. These walls are 3.5 meters thick and there are four gates. The Porta Romana (see to the right) is the main entrance.

Old Amelia, inside the walls, is a well preserved medieval city. The architecture is interesting, although this is very limited commercial activity, so enjoy a walk up the various narrow streets. The centre is the Piazza del Duomo with the Cathedral and the 30-meter-high Torre Civica. The church, built in 872 was later rebuilt (1629) in the Baroque style and completed in the 1800's.




  Amelia Amelia Amelia
  Narrow streets of Amelia. old doors and an authetic feel.


There are a number of palaces that date from the 14th and 15th centuries that include the Palazzo Farrattini, Palazzo Petrignan and the Palazzo Venturelli. This is what brought us to Amelia, as we had the opportunity to stay at the Palazzo Venturelli. We have written about staying at the Palazzo Venturelli on our Great Places to Stay site.

The Palazzo Venturelli was built on the foundation of a domus romana that dates back to the 1st Century AD. In the basement there is an original mosaic floor or back and wine stones. There are three incredible bedrooms that are available for booking - and to think that you are booking a room is an understatement - as well as two apartments with kitchens. In addition the Venturelli is available for events such as cooking schools, weddings, receptions etc..

Plazzo Venturelli Plazzo Venturelli Plazzo Venturelli
Typical palazzo door, where you see very little from the outside as you walk the small streets of Umbrian towns. Inside the Palazzo is a large staircase in cotto and travertine. There are three floors to the Palazzo. We stayed in the "Yellow Room" are large bedroom, with canopy bed as well as an adjacent sitting room. All very elegant.
Plazzo Venturelli Frescoes in the Plazzo Venturelli  
In the ballroom, there are frescoes along the top of the walls that tell the story of the Venturelli family. The time floor is original. Frescoes in the ballroom.  


We will have more information in Great Places to Stay added to that site.

Labro is a very old town that we found on our way to visit the Marmore Falls. The town dates back to at least the 10th century when its castle was build. It was one of 12 castles in the area, and during the medieval age Labro suffered from many battles. Although sections of the castle have been demolished, much of the town stands.

Labro Labro

It is a maze of medieval buildings, narrow, winding streets, and antique portals. The town is beautiful, as long as you are not wanted to any commercial development and when we were there, all the restaurants were closed on Tuesday but I did enjoy walking the small streets.

The Cascata delle Marmore, the Marmore Falls, were built by the Romans to drain swamp lands. At 165 m (541 feet) in height, this is one of the tallest waterfalls in Europe and is the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. It is located about 7 km from the town of Terni and the signs can be a big confusing. Superior, takes you to the top, inferior takes you to a viewing area at the bottom.

Marmore Falls

The Velino River fed a wetland, thought to bread malaria and so in 271 BC the Romans built a canal to divert the stagnant waters to the natural cliff at Marmore. In 1422, Pope Gregory XII has a new canal built as over the years the flow as ceased and again in 1545, Pope Paul III ordered yet a new canal again be built. Later in 1787, Pope Pius VI had work on the falls themselves done to prevent some of the flooding that could occur and that resulted in the current terracing of the falls.

Check the schedule as the gates that allow the water to flow over the falls are open on at specific times, usually from noon to 1:00 in the afternoon and in the evening.