Click on photos to enlarge. One of the lures of Umbria is its hill towns – small gems, many of them fortified, whose centers have resisted modernization for a thousand years. They are the right size to fit our relaxed schedule – a late breakfast, drive of under an hour, lunch, exploration and back to La Posta di Confine in time for a swim or a nap before considering dinner.
With traveling companions, Duke and Lisa, we have reservations in Todi at the Antica Hostaria de la Valle at 1 o’clock. We’re a little late. Finding Todi is not a problem, but finding the way into the medieval center of town through its massive walls is a little harder. Our terrace table is waiting for us. At the other nine tables, diners are well into lunch.
Mark orders the tasting menu and we all gasp at the quantity of his antipasto of cured meats and other delights which he
He then tackles a plate of umbracelli, a handmade local pasta akin to a very thick sphagetti, followed by a mixed grill.
Duke has a lovely whole grilled branzino (sea bass).
I order a plate of umbracelli.
All delicious. But we unanimously vote Lisa’s
gnocchi the best we have ever tasted. Topped with slivered truffles, they are pillowy heaven.
In definite need of exercise we climb the steps to the Tempio of San Fortunato. The lofty gothic interior, plain by Italian standards, is full of light – something of a relief from heavy, dark baroque.
Up the street and around a bend. There it is – the Piazza del Popolo. We catch our breaths. It is stunning. The huge piazza slopes slightly up to the cathedral that dominates its far end. Thirteenth century palazzi frame the space. Todians stroll or sit at one of its cafes much as they have done on a Sunday afternoon for hundreds of years.
We decide we’ve done enough sight seeing to justify a gelato. Down a narrow street is the Bar Pianegiani where they’ve been making it for 50 years. The setting is a small piazza filled with tables, an ancient wall fountain spilling water into a basin.
They know what they’re doing.