A Photo Tour of Spello in Umbria, Italy

By - September 20, 2013 (Updated: November 18, 2014)

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Exploring Umbria.
Spello, Umbria, Italy

One of the many perfect views in Spello, Italy

Like most things in my crazy expat life, it all began with an email.

Hello! I am an American who recently moved to Umbria with my husband, 3 children, and 2 cats. We are surprising my eldest son with a trip to Brussels for his birthday, and in researching the city, your blog came up several times (it helps that I’m looking for cheese! but even without, it kept popping up).”

Thus began my email friendship with Michelle. We bonded over expat life, our passion for travel, and the love of good cheese.

You may remember a while back, Michelle even wrote a guest post for us and, over the months, I followed her family’s adventure on her wonderful blog. I regretted the fact we were travelling when Michelle and her family visited Brussels so we never had the opportunity to meet in person.

Michelle urged us to come and visit them in Spello, but we could never quite find a time that made sense.

When we returned home from our Asian Adventure, an email was waiting for me. It ended with, “Before you respond, let me just remind you… an aperol spritz overlooking the most beautiful verdant and tranquil valley, walks among olive trees, gelato, lamb scottadito, cured meats, and quite a bit of fabulous wine…. Thoughts?”

After our incredible but hectic travels in Asia, it seemed like the perfect way to unwind. So exactly a month after returning from Hong Kong, we were winging our way to Perugia Airport.

As you probably know, we love road-trips, so a rental car to explore Umbria was a must. We took a short drive from Perugia, through some of the most picturesque countryside we’ve seen, past the UNESCO listed holy city of Assisi, to the picturesque hilltop town of Spello.

We met Michelle at the little parking lot, just outside the town centre. It was like meeting an old friend. She had secured a wonderful apartment in Spello for us, for a steal. In fact, we thought they had mixed up our reservation, as we had a whole house to ourselves. The view from our roof-terrace was incredible.

Who can argue with this rooftop terrace view of Umbria?

Who can argue with this rooftop terrace view of Umbria?

We spent five deliciously tranquil days exploring Spello, eating fabulous food, taking day-trips around Umbria and into Tuscany, eating fabulous food, sampling the region’s wines, getting to know Michelle and her gorgeous family, and eating fabulous food. Oh, did we mention the food?

Lunch in Spello

This was just a little lunch Michelle threw together for us… You know, this is how we roll in Spello.

I’ll have a few more posts on some of the specific places we visited, but for now, I’ll let the photos do the work for me.

Welcome to Spello in Umbria, Italy

Welcome to Spello in Umbria, Italy

Ciao! Our morning greeter kitten...

Ciao! Our morning greeter kitten…

Friendly Kitties

You know I’m going to like any town with Friendly Kitties

Details of Spello

Our morning wander through the streets of Spello

Details of Spello

A few details of Spello

I wanted to drive away in this adorable car

I wanted to drive away in this adorable car

Andrew had another mode of transportation in mind

Andrew had another mode of transportation in mind

The absolutely perfect Vino Sofia Wine bar

The absolutely perfect Vino Sofia Wine bar

We took a day-trip to Assisi

We took a day-trip to Assisi

We had a snack it picturesque Montefalco

We had a snack in picturesque Montefalco

And lunch in Bevagna

And lunch in Bevagna

Although it was hard to choose, our favourite meal was at La Cantina in Spello

Although it was hard to choose, our favourite meal was at La Cantina in Spello

Spello, Umbria, Italy

Ciao Spello! We hope to return again soon!

A huge thanks to Michelle and the whole Damiani clan, for sharing this beautiful corner of the world with us and making us feel so welcome. We can’t wait to cross paths again on your next adventures!

Read more from this series...

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
It's after Halloween so I can officially share Christmas Markets now right...? 🎄🎅 - 1 week ago


  1. Comment by Marina Carstens

    Marina Carstens September 20, 2013 at 08:23

    That all looks gorgeous. I want the food. Now. Gimme that food! And to think I was considering cheese ramyen for dinner…

    (I especially like the cat on the archway.)

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison September 20, 2013 at 09:37

      Thanks Marina! The food was definitely fab! I wish I could cook pasta that tasted like that. Seriously mind-blowing flavours.

  2. Comment by Marc Poelmans

    Marc Poelmans September 20, 2013 at 11:11

    What a great travel report !! And this works very inspirational indeed. I’ve been meaning to discover Italy next year, so perhaps this can be one of the possible destinations! It seems like this town isn’t swamped by busloads of tourists, and that food looks quite “incredibele”… Thanks for the tips, Alison! And yes, that cat on the archway is “the” shot for me too 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison September 20, 2013 at 11:49

      It’s definitely a bit off the tourist path but still close to places like Assisi so you can make day trips. I have a couple of more Italy posts coming up but if you want any specific tips, just let me know.

  3. Comment by Michelle

    Michelle September 20, 2013 at 12:49

    Keith says, “I want to live there!” Spello has felt so far away, and this brought it all back. Thank you Alison. This was an unbelievable gift to open this morning.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison September 20, 2013 at 14:02

      I’m so glad you guys liked it. You guys made it such a special place for us to visit and I hope we all are able to go back again soon!

  4. Comment by Annette

    Annette September 20, 2013 at 14:28

    Wonderful! I followed Michelle’s blog the last few months and enjoyed “living” in Spello.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison September 20, 2013 at 14:37

      Thanks Annette! We loved living vicariously there too!

  5. Comment by Stephanie

    Stephanie September 20, 2013 at 18:02

    What a lovely photo essay of Spello and a visit with the Damianis! We had our own similar trip in April, but our photos are nothing like this. Thank you for capturing it more beautifully than I ever could!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison September 22, 2013 at 13:30

      Thank you Stephanie! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos!

  6. Comment by margie burton

    margie burton September 20, 2013 at 18:50

    Reading your post, i was filled with an almost inexplicable sense of loss and longing. .i realized i greatly miss Michelle’s daily blog of Spello life.Love all the photos, and seeing Michelle and her family in some of the photos was poignant.

  7. Comment by Andrea

    Andrea September 30, 2013 at 11:15

    I love Umbria! I regret not visiting Spello when I was there but I loved Assisi, Perugia and Dubbio. It’s such an underrated region in Italy. Great photos as always.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison September 30, 2013 at 12:09

      Thanks Andrea! It’s a cute little town. There are so many great places to explore in the region it definitely deserves multiple visits 🙂

  8. Comment by Lucio

    Lucio December 6, 2013 at 18:15

    Spello is truly a magical place.

  9. Comment by Sherry Hall

    Sherry Hall February 20, 2014 at 23:45

    It looks like a wonderful place to visit. Would you be able to provide contact information for the property where you stayed while in Spello?

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