Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gubbio - My New Italian Favorite

I am really not sure what made us pull out the map and say - GUBBIO! - That is where we ought to go next! But we did. And I fell head over heels for my new favorite Italian town. The sky was blue and the architecture "just right." From the moment we drove up and glimpsed the city built into the mountainside above I was charmed. There were hang gliders everywhere floating down from the mountaintop. W0w. If I knew how to hang glide, I would have done it here. There could be no better spot and no better day. But don't worry, I kept the ground under my feet - sort of! Gubbio was a collection of tunnels and paths with lovely Umbrian stone rounding out the way. The town is known for its pottery and trays. They hung outside shops lining the pedestrianized streets. I wish we had room to bring one back because they were very pretty. Any food would show off on these artistic platters!

Again the town was practically tourist-free to our great delight. I swelled up with the unexpected joy and carefree warmth of the day. The Italians doted on our fair-haired Connor. Nothing makes us feel more welcome in a new town than friendly locals pointing the way and guiding us with twinkly eyes and genuine care. At one point we asked an elderly man how to get to a specific restaurant. It was on the other side of town, left then right, in and out of windy alleys. And he spoke not a word of English - we not a word of Italian. We understood he mentioned a fountain we would pass but that is about all we retained. But wouldn't you know we were able to mime the path out moving arms left and right and the gleam he exuded gave me confidence we would find our way.

Connor stopped at these stairs and insisted on posing like a movie star. She is certainly learning how to work a camera!
We did navigate our Italian-instructed directions amidst the twists and turns to Taverna del Lupo - a recommended lunch spot.We walked in and saw the white tablecloths and immediately stiffened. Would this be the right place for our personality-plus two year old? We usually steer clear of strolling in with BOB when the crisp linens adorn the table. But we were starving and the town had already embraced us so. We decided to risk it.The Lupo tavern did not disappoint! The wait staff could not have been more adoring of Connor, anticipating every need she had and not even bristling too much when she insisted on PLAIN pasta. That must be some sort of criminal offense in Italy!The menu was so divine I had to snap photos to remember! I could have eaten one of absolutely everything on the menu. But I opted for the Boar meat with noodle strips and Kirk could not pass on the opportunity to try the "Chocolate Ravioli"
Everything, including the chocolate ravioli, was met with our rave reviews. It melted in our mouths. Even Connor's plain pasta. She insisted on me snapping a photo of her lunch after I took one of Kirk's entree. Back out on Gubbio's streets the sky seemed even bluer and the sun even warmer. And the town even more enchanting with full, happy tummies.

Connor frolicked on the Palace piazza while we took in the views.
More pottery called out to me, but I had to be satisfied leaving only with photo memories.

We climbed to the top of the city and found a beautiful Italian church.
And then we knew we had to peel ourselves away from our beloved Gubbio. Wish we had planned more time to linger. Kirk and I both commented that if we ever retired in a European town, this one would be a super spot. It was the kind of place you can imagine yourself living and loving for a long time.

Watching Kirk stroll hand in hand with Connor down the city streets....yep, this is heavenly. I promised myself then that we would one day return to eat again at the Lupo tavern and with room in my suitcase for one of these colorful trays!
Gubbio, I think I love you!

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