Ancona on the Adriatic and the Mountain Towns of Umbria

Spoleto

The dramatic backdrop behind Spoleto’s castle, La Rocca Albornoziana

Ancona by way of Cesenatico

From Venice, we drove south in our adorable Cinquecento feeling all Italian-like. I have distant cousins in Cesanatico, so we stopped there for a visit on the way to Ancona. Naturally, I got us lost looking for their house. That delay along with a warm Italian welcome from the relatives and an unexpected long drive to Ancona put us at our hotel very late – near midnight – tired, excited, hungry. We woke the hotel manager who opened up the kitchen for us so that we could prepare a snack – gratis. The next day we explored the town by foot and had a delightful meal at Ristorante Giardino – lovely ambiance in a garden setting – and they were more than happy to prepare a fresh and vegan pasta and mushroom dish for me.

Lodging:  Grand Hotel Passetto
Absolutely recommend this place. It was run by super sweet people, and the location is outrageously perfect overlooking the Adriatic.

Highlight of Ancona: The Adriatic
This town is cute and very clean compared to many other Italian towns we saw. It’s the birthplace of an uncle (by marriage), so I wanted to check it out. We really appreciated the fact that no one we met in Ancona spoke English. It forced us to practice. But mostly, I was overwhelmed with joy at being back along the Adriatic. I think my DNA knows that this is the sea of my roots. Yes, I am the offspring of Italian mermaids and mermen. The merfamily is still reeling about how I never really got that whole “swimming” thing.

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Spoleto, Assisi and Todi

We then turned left and headed toward the hills away from the water. Our next destination, Spoleto in the province of Perugia (think chocolate). Staying at the Cavaliere Palace Hotel, we had the perfect bird’s-eye view of the town and an excellent choice of hotels to rest for two nights while we explored the area. Spoleto exhales foregone air wrought from a history of hard battles.

In this Umbria region, along with Spoleto, there are a few ancient towns including Assisi, and Todi. Assisi, being the birthplace of St. Francis. Hence, St. Francis of Assisi. Italians like to do that, so and so of such and such place. The surnames of both my grandparents were DiXXX or DeXXX being “of” something. All three of these mountainous towns offer beautiful cobblestone streets, ancient buildings chock full of history, healthy walks and panoramic views.

Lodging: Cavaliere Palace Hotel
This was an awesome little place in the heart of Spoleto.

Highlight of Umbria: Old world villages tucked within the nooks of mysterious and dramatic mountainsides.

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Italy, my Italy!
Queen Mary’s saying serves for me
(When fortune’s malice
Lost her Calais):
Open my heart, and you will see
Graved inside of it ‘Italy’.
~Robert Browning

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