Living in Italy, you might forget how short distances really are. Compared to other countries of the world, we tend to avoid traveling 300 kilometers by car to reach beautiful places. We’re afraid that it will prove too tiresome to endure in just one day or overnight stay. We should learn from other tourists to put aside our laziness and learn to enjoy our country more. But it's a known fact: those who have beauty "under their nose" have a tendency not to look at it from the right perspective.
You don’t need to travel 300 kilometers: in Italy 50 kilometers are enough, sometimes even less to experience a change in the landscape: from a rocky coast to soft hills and the most thick forests. Perhaps this is why one always has the desire to stop, or even to get off the train to reach a town on top of an enchanting hill.
This is exactly why in Rome, a month ago, when a few friends suggested I visit a good holiday farmhouse in Umbria, I thought it could be a great idea. I don't know the region much and I had only a night left: perfect for a tour in one of the magnificent locations of central Italy, surrounded as it is by breathtaking medieval towns, such as Gubbio, Spoleto, Spello and Perugia. My destination is Nocera Umbra, very close to Assisi, two hours by train to be precise. Hours that fly while I gaze out of my window at the ripe fields of cereals that colour this land of yellow and are a pleasant contrast to the green and light blue of this summer cloudless sky. I'm sure you'll excuse my "last century's traveler" poetic vein…
At the station I find Andrea waiting for me who, along with Marcella and Massimiliano, a few years ago cleared his office desk and left the city to open "La Corte del Lupo" and live in the natural landscape of Umbria.
The holiday farmhouse is nestled in peace and quiet, the secular oak tree and the crickets nudge at me with the slow pace of rest. The bedrooms are fresh and comfortable, with a breathtaking view of the hills, the light curtains that flap in the gentle breeze, and the swimming pool that is just waiting for me to take a refreshing dive.
I can't resist going for a short walk, I brush my fingers on the ears of the barley that is ready to be harvested, and I look for a ripe boron to savour. A beautiful old lady with a handkerchief over her head allows me to take a picture with a tad of adorable frivolousness. I am already madly in love with this place.
The holiday farmhouse is surrounded by olive and fruit trees; I enter the large garden that abounds with all kinds of natural products, and my jaw drops at the sight of the raspberries.
Andrea takes me to visit the lab, where Marcella has just finished stocking up jars of jam. You get the feeling that they are always busy, in an atmosphere of utter serenity, and the choice of the three smiling partners instantly makes sense to me.
Andrea serves a delicious, simple and very local cuisine. One can taste Umbria in his dishes and scents. The products of the holiday farmhouse, from the cold-cuts to oil and freshly picked vegetables have a taste that one simply can’t forget.
We enjoy the evening talking about recipes and social media, but as the cold evening air approaches, I fall into a deep sleep. Breakfast is a triumph of homemade delicacies: biscuits, pies, plumcakes and even "lupella", the chocolate spread. A part of me has no intention of leaving. It’s true that one night is not enough in Umbria.