by Melinda Gallo

Quick visit to Perugia

We woke up to a sunny and hot morning in Massa Martana. We enjoyed our breakfast on the terrace of their rented villa with our friends. We sat in the shade and contemplated what we'd do for the day. We discussed visiting another town, swimming, and, of course, eating.

Living in Florence :: Quick visit to Perugia

One couple and their child went to visit a small town nearby, but we wanted to stay with our friends and visit some more with them. We didn't leave the house for lunch until about 2PM and we were afraid that finding a restaurant open on a Sunday might be difficult. We called one place that our friends had seen and the person responded and said it was closed.

We drove by the same restaurant and saw that it was open. We sent in the only Italian, Luigi, among us to ask about eating and they told him that the kitchen was closed and they could only serve us meats, cheese, and salad. We saw plates of salsicce (sausages), patatine (french fries), and pastaciutta (pasta) being served to a few of the other customers. The man led us to a corner of the restaurant where there was a large table and a small table: one for adults and the other for the four children.

We waited while he helped another table of customers who arrived after us. Luigi went up to the man to ask when we could order and he told him that he would send over the cameriera (waitress). When the cameriera arrived she said that the choices were limited, but that the kitchen was open.

We were all a little confused, but quickly ordered as much food as possible: antipasti, primi and secondi. We were served plates and plates of food as we sipped on an Umbrian red wine, "Rosso di Montefalco", that was delicious.

By the time we finished our secondi, the cameriera told us that it was too late to order anything else and that the kitchen was closed. We were all a little disappointed because we saw a panna cotta that looked wonderful.

As disappointed as we were about dessert, we were extremely satisfied with our meal and the fact that for all 10 of us, we paid only 110 Euros total!

We drove back to the villa and everyone went swimming. Dave and I decided to drive up to Perugia on the way back to Florence. We wanted to visit a few of the small towns closer by, but being a Sunday evening at the end of July, we thought it'd be easier to find a place for dinner in Perugia.

Once again, we didn't have a map, but we knew which local road to take and headed toward Perugia. We made it to Perugia in about 45 minutes, which was much faster than we expected. Because I have never driven to Perugia and I got a multa (fine/ticket) in Orvieto the day before, I chose the first parking lot that I saw. Little did I know that it was probably one of the farthest parking lots in town.

We went up multiple escalators and just kept walking toward people in the hopes of finding the pedestrian area that I remembered from when I came to visit Perugia many years ago. After about 20 to 30 minutes of walking, we made it there and found the street quite crowded. We walked to one side and looked over the Umbrian valley, which was below.

We then sat at a terrace of a bar to have a drink and watch people walking by. Many of the shops were open, but it seemed that most of the people were just walking around.

We found a restaurant and ate outside on the terrace. We weren't very hungry because of our enormous and late lunch. We took a taxi back to the parking lot since I couldn't remember exactly how we got up to the downtown area.

We followed the signs to Florence and made it back in about an hour and a half. The number of drivers increased as we got close to Florence.

I drove the car into the downtown area because it's allowed at certain times of the day and night and found a parking spot right under our door. It was perfect because we were exhausted from visiting our friends, spending time in Perugia, and driving. We hope to rent a car another time to travel around Italy some more. There is so much more to see and visit.

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