Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Pleasant Morning in Citta Della Pieve

Earlier, I detailed how Shane (who has, sadly for us and Italy, returned to the Pacific Northwest of the United States—happily for those living there) and I went all street style in Citta Della Pieve, while standing in one of its leaner streets. But if I stopped at only detailing that particular road it’d be giving short shrift to a particularly nice, mid-sized Umbrian hill town. We (Nat, Shane, and I) had headed to Citta Della Pieve originally looking for a restaurant owned and run by pals of our pal Gaetano (he of Da Cesari fame). Unfortunately, the restaurant wasn’t open (and honestly, we couldn’t find it anyway, as it is a ways out of city limits, and though the day was pleasant and blue-skied, a little much for our walking minds). Fortunately, Citta Della Pieve itself is charming, and very welcoming to visitors, with easy-to-follow signs, detailing where artistic, historic, and culinary stops are and in what direction, as well as where small attractive alleys were located. In addition, the town is the home of Perugino, who many consider the most famous, and best, Umbrian artist in the 1500s. It's somewhat of a surprise we hadn't yet stopped there (not to mention that pal Veronica told me that a famous Italian soap opera is set there).

We stopped first at the town’s cathedral, with its tall tower and red brick walls (the red brick being everywhere in Citta Della Pieve, due to it not having a large amount of local building stones):
The Duomo was a quiet and lovely spot, with two later paintings by Perugino, loads of interesting marble, and a calm, contented, comfortable feel that many larger churches miss (no pics inside naturally). From there we skipped across the road to the Palazzo Della Corgna, a large place which was for many years the home of the town’s leading family and which is now the Biblioteca Communale (and which also has handy communal bathrooms). It’s possible to walk up a series of stairs almost to the top of the palazzo (once you pass an Etruscan sundial from the six century—B.C. that is), with each staircase, and some walls, decorated by birds, faces, more traditional portraits, and babies riding dragons:
At the stop before the top floor, you can get a fantastic over-view of the town, seeing the traditional red rooftops flecked with green moss, a small grape grove, and rolling hills and larger houses in the distance:
Back outside of the palace though, we quickly founds ourselves just wandering the very streets we looked down on (after sadly missing entrance into the Oratorio di Santa Maria dei Bianchi, where another famous Perugino resides, by about five minutes since they close for lunch at 12:30 and we showed up at 12:35). I love wandering Umbrian hill town streets. The closeness, the colors, the sunshine—or rain—trickling down, and a slight weight in the air from the history contained (if not always recorded) in every step:
A pleasant morning indeed.


  1. che onore essere qui :)
    Thank you so much Mr Rathbun...
    you have definitely to come in Emilia Romagna to see Santarcangelo di Romagna. it's the best small town in the Center of Italy. and the food is delicious.
    Have a nice Sunday.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion--we will definitely try to get there. Sounds amazing, and we're always up for a trip. And have a nice Sunday your-own-self, too.

  3. Ciao Aj and have to visit Sant'Arcangelo di Romagna..very nice historical small city..also famous for the food!!and Veronica will guide you to discover this place.
    Is not far from where you are, you have to take the E45 route for Cesena and then direction Rimini..very easy to reach, I think about 150km.
    cari saluti