Updated: Jul 12, 2020
My favorite city in the world is actually a small Umbrian village. I travelled there in late October of 2019 with my friend Cindy and her friend Kate. Spello is just one town over from well known Assisi, which is the birth place of St. Francis. Spello is called the City of Flowers and well, that’s all! Mic drop for this Flower Essence Alchemist. Welcome home to me!
Spello is a delight. It’s about 76 miles outside of Rome. We travelled to it from the Florence side by train. It took us about 2 hours and it was a lovely ride to view the countryside. The entire village is behind the walls of the rosy stones of nearby Monte Subasio. The ancient Umbri founded Spello, which in the first century became a Roman colony known as Hispellum. There are 3 beautiful Roman arches still there to greet you. It eventually became know as “Spello" in 1829.
If you only go for the day, you too will be captivated by the cobblestone streets and flowers galore. Spello is after all, The City of Flowers and the Jewel of Umbria.
Spello is not a place for wedges and heels ladies. The tiny, winding streets make it very easy to put in some serious miles. At every turn there is a new surprise of vibrant color and thoughtfully placed planters full of flowers. The heart of the city is the Piazza della Republica and this is where you can do some serious people AND pigeon watching. On Sundays, the families come out to take walks and eat together. There is laughter from the cafes and gelato is being lapped up happily.
The pigeons of Spello are more like comfortable residents. I love the image (center) that I captured of these beauties in flight.
Our favorite wine bar is called La Botte Di Bacco and it’s owner Daniela will be forever a friend to me. We went there every single day of our 6 in Spello to have an Aperol Spritz (as Daniela laughed at how American we are). This drink consists of Aperol, Prosecco, club soda and a slice of orange. We began and ended each day at this bustling wine bar at the base of Spello. We would watch the tourists come in for a few hours each day and then we would settle in with the locals for the most enchanting time there, the sunset. Daniela made a special trip to have gluten free bread for me too! :)
Our darling apartment called Spello House was cozy and charming and it has the MOST popular balcony in the village. From the second floor, we would pose as the tourists went by to take a photo of the splendor of the upper deck garden where we were usually drinking Italian coffee. Monica, our hostess was beautiful and thoughtful and helped us so much with information and guidance.
Spello House is cozy, charming and situated in the perfect spot in town and it literally has the best balcony in the whole area.
Our favorite full eatery is called Ristorante La Cantina di Spello where our friend Paolo who is the owner, treated us like family. We met him through Daniela. Paolo’s staff, the restaurant aesthetic, the food and drinks are bar none... superb. We had a 5 hour dinner full of laughs and drinks that we have never heard of. Aperitivo, Amari, Limoncello, Grappa... There's a drink for every step of the way! Oh my. How did I not get ONE hangover in Italia? My only regret is not letting Paolo pick my meal because he came in early to handmake me gluten free pasta, and I chose a boring sauce. Well, trust me, nothing is boring at La Cantina, I just wasn't tapped into adventure to try the boar sauce and I chose truffle sauce...oops. Next time Paolo, you chose.
Spello is a town of pure JOY. In contrast to nearby Assisi that is all about priests and felt very masculine, Spello, with its flowers and nuns felt very feminine to me. In fact, I didn’t see one priest where as in Assisi, they are everywhere. You can FEEL the flow of feminine energy on every corner and there are many sweet older women who are happy to greet you. You want to know their whole life story.
Just before we left, we found an adorable art gallery called Arte Atelier MP di Michela Parroni. The talented artist Michela customized a sketch for me that had 3 girls in it... perfect for our travels as a trio. She added little cute symbols that represented each of us.
If you only go for the day, you may miss the gem and surprise of Spello. At the top of the hilly town and just outside the medieval walls is the Roman Aqueduct where the locals still go to fill their water jugs from the spouts. You can walk along the aqueduct on a pebble path that meanders through the olive trees sloped down alongside the mountain. The trail takes you 3 miles alongside the stunning pink walls to the town of Collepino and the trek is a nature lovers delight.
Overlooking beautiful Spello beyond the olive trees is quite breathtaking. The entire town is behind the medieval walls and seeing it from a far is remarkable! As you walk along, the mountain views are equally stunning.
If you ever get to Rome, or Florence… you must stop in Spello to see the magic and meet our friends! Spello has captivated my mind and soul. Just as it is known as the green heart of Umbria, it has captured mine for sure.
Ciao for now,