Postcards from Umbria

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We followed our friends to our rental car at the beginning our short vacation together, feeling a palpable sense of freedom and relaxation. The source of our contentment was easy to pinpoint: we weren’t in charge. While we had all chosen the destination and lodging together, another couple had rented the car and they would be doing the driving and navigating. As Paul and I climbed into the far back seats of the… Read More

Antiques don’t particularly excite me, yet I love the Arezzo Antiques Fair. I planned this trip around a visit to the Antiques Fair, even though it meant shaking off jetlag and jumping out of bed early on my first full day in Italy. Arezzo is a small city in Tuscany about an hour north of Benano. On any regular day, it’s a lovely place to visit. On the first Sunday of every month and… Read More

I always offer to help our guests plan their trips, and I’m happy when they accept some help. And when my friend Katie accepted my offer, I was thrilled. Katie had agreed to act as her traveling party’s activities director, and they hit the jackpot when they assigned her to the role. She read everything I sent her, pored over this blog and Rocca di Benano’s Pinterest Board (which is sort of… Read More

I asked my friend Lynn to write this post based on her recent experience coming to visit Benano. Traveling by train while jet lagged in a foreign country may seem like a daunting task, but you can do it! I recently arrived in Rome, found the train station in the airport, bought a ticket and rode to the main terminal in Rome (Roma Termini), bought another ticket and rode to Florence (Firenze)…. Read More

I’m lucky to have Paul with me, at least for the first third of this trip. His company is enough – his willingness to write a blog post is icing on the cake. This one’s from Paul. Here’s a tip for anyone staying near Orvieto and contemplating a day trip into Rome or Florence: it’s eminently doable, but simply rolling out of bed whenever you please (as we did) and showing up… Read More

Because we can’t agree on the details of the morning, I am allowing Paul to comment on my report of the incident. His comments are in italics.  (Thank you.) We were at an Autostrada toll booth and it wasn’t going well. My heart was beating hard and fast, my face was hot, and I wanted to cry. (You cried during “Up”!) Even Paul was uncharacteristically agitated. (Was not.) The automated ticket-taker refused… Read More

Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled with the strides I’ve made learning Italian. I even fought a traffic ticket in Italian, for crying out loud.  (Sort of – watch this space. I’ll tell the story soon.) Still, after 5 weeks fending for myself, it was a relief to be treated to a day in Tuscany, in the care of Francis Surman. To say he’s a driver undersells what he offers. Yes, he’s a… Read More

It didn’t take long for me to get comfortable driving here.  Dad, because I love you, you can interpret that as “I lost my abject terror of driving here and am doing it only with the utmost caution,” if that helps. When Paul and I came here in November, I agreed to share the driving with him, but only because it was high time I got over my fear of driving in… Read More