Umbria: Stepping Back in Time
We watch Florence drift away through the dirt-streaked windows of the Regionale 3153 train en route to Foligno. Blue station signs proudly announce the names of their towns in large white letters as we pass through stop after stop. We pass Porcellino, skirt around the beautiful Lake Trasamino and two and a half hours later, we arrive in Foligno.
The streets of the cities in Umbria wear their history well, with obvious nods to their medieval, Roman and Etruscan residents before them. Rock walls, stone streets and impressive arches wait around every turn. Gates that still stand to this day protected the residents of this fertile land when Hannibal’s feared Carthaginian army marched through central Italy on his way to Rome. Apparently, on the day Hannibal crossed this valley, the residents of the town of Bevagna were spared from his wrath because the Carthaginians could not see their city through the dense fog as they marched by. Fortunately for us, we were treated to far nicer weather and fortunately for Bevagna, we weren’t an invading army.
In Spoleto, the view from the Ponte Sanguinario bridge just a short climb up from the Cathedral di Santa Maria Assunta allows us to see all the way to the Apennines in the distance. Day turns to dusk, and only a few residents stray out into the city center for dinner and drinks. There is a relaxing calmness to the way of life here, almost like stepping back in time to a quieter era. I close my eyes and let it settle in.