Spello is one of my favourite villages in Umbria. It is “all uphill”, or “all downhill”, depending on your point of view. But, in any case, you have to walk in one direction or the other in order to visit it. After my post about Infiorata di Spello I thought of writing a small list of activities and restaurants: what to do in Spello.
What to do in Spello
1 Attend to the Infiorata
One of the most beautiful events I have ever attended. If you want, you can ask to be infioratore for a day and create the tourists carpet together with other people from all over Italy and the world.
If you can’t make it for the Infiorata, go take a look at the Infiorate Museum in the main piazza. It’s a less than tiny museum, so you can visit it in no time. It is very interesting to see some photos and sketches of the past Infiorate di Spello. They can give you an idea of the beauty and the grandeur of the event. On the floor a huge preparatory drawing copy. It’s fundamental to understand the thorough attention and the method of the infioratori. Located in the main piazza, inside the Town Hall builfing, you can’t miss it. Plus it’s free.
2 Admire all the Flowery Windows, Balconies and Alleys
From May to August every year, the village becomes more beautiful thanks to this competition. All citizens can participate and adorn their doorways and houses facades with plants and flowers. You will surely notice, other than the flowers, many houses proudly displaying the winning plaques.
Along the main street and also in some hidden corners I spotted a lot of interesting shops and workshops. The Telaio di Spello sells household linen. La Bottega degli intrecci displays clothes and lovely bracelets and necklaces. At Arte Legno you can buy everything “woody”. I bought my floral coronet for the Infiorata (see post) at L’Angolo del Macramé, where you can also find bags, necklaces, and lots of girly stuff.
These are just a couple of places, but there are at least other 5 worth a visit places here and there. There’s no need for me to list them, since the village is not huge and they’re all located along the main street… or quite.
4 Admire the frescoes at the Duomo
Sadly Santa Maria Maggiore was under restoration when we visited the village for the Infiorata. But we had previously visited it 10 years ago. So I can surely recommend a visit if you’re in town and the restoration has ended. One of the chapels of the cathedral is painted by local painter Pinturicchio and it’s quite a beauty. Also the church of Sant’Andrea houses a Pinturicchio work. And it’s not the only “worth a stop artwork” there.
5 Take a break at Bar Giardino Bonci
If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook you saw that I took refuge at this café more than once during my two days in Spello. I still remember the first time that Matteo and I wound up here. We were strolling along the main street. We felt like gelato and we saw a sign: café with a view. So we got in and… WOW!
The view was hauntingly beautiful. And I chose this adverb because… every time I’m in my office, with a view on the surrounding grey buildings, I think back to that view and I’m both dreamy and sad. Plus lemon sherbet was very good.
6 Other beautiful panoramas spots
Other than Bar Giardino Bonci, there are other beautiful panoramic points in Spello. One is just behind Sant’Andrea church. Another one (with a view the opposite side of the valley) is next to the Roman Arch, on top of the village.
7 See the landmarks of the village
Porta Consolare, the main access to Spello, is at the foot of the burg. Near here you can see the door, with the writing Splendidissima colonia Julia, meaning “very splendid Julian colony”, as emperor Augustus defined the village at the time of the Roman empire. Julia was the gens of Augustus, i.e. his family. He was the nephew of Julius Caesar.
Three marble Roman statues adorn the side facade. Part of the landmark, a medieval tower. On top of it a lovely tree. Why is it there? I don’t know, but it’s beautiful to see. I could see it from my room’s window.
Porta Venere is instead almost on top of the village. The two towers flanking the door are called Properzio’s towers. Properzio was a Latin poet, born in this area (but probably in Assisi).
Around the village you can admire about 2 km of city walls, among the most significant and intact in Italy.
Palazzo Cruciani is near the Town Hall. Very notable is the elegant wooden walkway.
There are other interesting things to see, such as the Civic Art Gallery, with interesting works from the 15th to the 18th century. Or the Mosaics Villa. I have not visited them… yet. Maybe next time. I’d gladly go back in Spello again.
Where to eat in Spello
First of all, in Spello you can find several deli shops where you can eat a torta al testo, the local focaccia (similar to a piadina romagnola, if you know it), stuffed with cold cuts, cheese and/or vegetables. It is delicious and cheap. Therefore a good idea could be try one for a quick lunch.
Matteo and I stayed in Spello two days, so we had the opportunity to try three different places.
La Locanda del Postiglione
We had dinner here during the so called night of the flowers. Antipasti were nothing special, but both the pasta dish and the tagliata were rather tasty. The service was not impeccable, though. I know, it was a crazy night, full of customers. But, anyway…
This restaurant was once a coaching inn. After the cessation of activity during the Second World War, the restaurant has been restored by the family of the first owners. They still run the place. On the wall you can see the ancient rates sign. It’s weird for modern visitors, because it reports the writing “digiunare completo”, meaning “complete meal” for 2,90 lire.
The only problem is that nowadays digiunare means “to fast”. There’s still the form desinare for having lunch, but no one uses it anymore, it’s very obsolete. There’s another peculiarity: si accettano avventori con cibi propri, i.e. we accept customers with their own food. Like I wrote in the post dedicated to italian coperto. Nowadays is not allowed anymore.
Il Pinturicchio lived up to its reputation. Both dishes I ordered were tasty, well prepared and well presented. A big plus for the service. All staff members were kind, smiling and I felt completely at ease.
La Cantina was the one we tried for the last dinner. I loved the place and its decor. It was the perfect set for our last, romantic dinner. Food was rather good. My dessert was scrumptious.
Where to stay in Spello
We choose a simple Airbnb room, owned by adorable signora Rossana. We had the upper floor of her house all by ourselves. It consisted of a room with a magnificent view of the rooftops of Spello and the tower of the Porta Consolare. Plus a small but convenient bathroom. Two floors of stairs, brekfast included (not huge but good). We had our keys and could come and go to our pleasure.
Rossana was very friendly, ironic and lively, happy to chat but not at all intrusive. She also managed to find us a perfect and free parking spot 5 minutes away from her beautiful house. The exterior of the building was magnificent and full of plants, as the rest of the village. There are probably better accommodations around, with pool or other facilities, but I confess… when I decided myself to book a room, I only found this one… it turned out well in the end.
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