Saturday, June 11th
I originally wanted to visit Bevagna and Montefalco while in Spello, but the only way to get to either town was four changes on local buses from Foligno. That sounded much too difficult, so I decided to take a day trip to Gubbio from Spello instead of visiting Gubbio while in Perugia.
There were two options to get to Gubbio – by bus from Perugia or by train, Foligno to Fossato di Vico and then a shorter bus ride to Gubbio. According to the Italy books I have read, there are 10 connecting buses to Gubbio from the train station. Because I sometimes get bus sick and I forgot to bring ginger with me, I thought that the train-bus combo sounded like a better choice.
As seemed to be the theme this year of late/delayed trains, my train was delayed half way to Fossato di Vico (it stopped in the middle of no where for about 10 minutes as trains often do here in Italy). Just as my train arrived in Fossato di Vico, the connecting bus left. I found out that the next bus was to arrive in 2 hours! The station was in the middle of nowhere.
I was left with no other transportation options. There were not even any other trains arriving for the next two hours to take me to a different town instead of waiting for the next bus. It was literally like a ghost town.
I asked the man at the bar if there was a taxi. He went to a few houses nearby to inquire and told me that the price would be 19 or 20 euros. I figured it would be better than sitting at an empty train station for two hours and if I did wait for the next bus to arrive, most of the sites to visit in Gubbio would probably be closed for lunch by the time I arrived two hours later.
It took an hour for a taxi to arrive and the price went up to 25 euros. I was not very happy but figured, I might as well take the taxi to see as much of Gubbio as I could. The taxi driver drove rapidly and we arrived in one piece in 20 minutes (the bus takes 30 minutes).
Gubbio was another beautiful hill town in Umbria. It was larger than Trevi and Spello but not too large that most of the main sites could not be seen in a day. I had a small map that I ripped out of my Rough Guide travel book which got me to the information tourism office. The map the woman gave me was not much help. I ended up using the map that I brought with me instead.
She told me that everything except for the Palazzo Ducale would be closing in an hour and I did not have time to see much. I was determined to see as much as I could and ended up being able to see everything that was top on my list.
My favorite thing was the funivia to the a church high up on the mountain side above the town. It was sort of like a chair lift, but instead of sitting, you stood in a cage. It seemed more difficult to me to get into the cage than boarding a ski lift. The man would say go or run and you would have to jump in as it rode by.
The top was so peaceful with beautiful wild flowers on the hillside, birds chirping, hiking paths, and amazing views.
There was a wedding taking place in the church and so I did not get to see the inside. I did not have long to stay as the funivia closed at 1:15 for an hour or so for lunch.
After riding the little cage down, I visited a few more sites, wandered around, enjoying the town and taking more pictures.
I decided that I better try to catch an earlier bus back to Fossato di Vico than originally planned so that I would not end up being stuck in Gubbio or Fossato di Vico for the night in case of more bus/train problems.
The bus arrived a few minutes late. The train in Fossato di Vico of course was in ritardo.
Fortunately, I was still able to catch my connecting train from Foligno to Spello
After arriving back in Spello, I stopped for a gelato before walking back up the hill to my hotel. I ate at another good restaurant that evening, called La Cantina. I was again thankful that this restaurant was very close to my hotel as it was COLD again at night. Dinner was wonderful. I had another plate of strongozzi with a hot red sauce and an insalata mista.
When watching the weather (Meteo as it is called, on Canale 5), the coldest place at night right now in Italy was right here in the area near Perugia – 9 degrees celsius! Lucky me!!
Thoughts on Gubbio: Because of my bad start, I did not have that much time to visit Gubbio. I did enjoy the time I had there though. Because of the location, one really needs a car to make this a home base. I would love to return one day when I would have more time to spend and not feel so rushed.