Spello: Umbria’s best-kept secret
What makes an Italian hill town so charming? It might be the narrow cobblestone streets that wind aimlessly, leading you to doors that you KNOW have stories behind them. It might be the mysterious quiet during the middle of the day, as everyone has retreated for a midday nap. It might be how easily you can imagine yourself walking through the same streets hundreds of years ago, as residents went about the things they still do today (albeit with the eases of technological marvels, like plumbing). Whatever it is, “it” is more evident in the hill town of Spello than in anywhere else I have been.
Located in Umbria, a Central Italy that is a quick drive from Rome, Spello is perhaps the most charming of the region’s towns. Its location on a sloping hill makes for beautiful views of the gently rolling landscape dotted with vineyards and olive trees. Inside its medieval walls are a dozen churches from the same time period, delicious restaurants and cafes serving up local cuisine (think truffle everything and the local wine, Sagrantino!), wine bars, and boutiques.
If all this still isn’t enough, Spello is also known for its flower festival, L’infiorata, held each year on the Thursday after Corpus Christi, which is 60 days after Easter. Huge murals made of flower petals cover the town in an overwhelmingly beautiful display of art. (Check out some photos here.) The rest of the year, Spello residents continue their love of flora with colorful planters that line the streets, stairways, and porches.