Today, we’re taking the last leg of our journey through the regions of Umbria and Tuscany, where we’ll end our trip in fabulous Florence.
Andiamo! Let’s go and see what we can eat!
On our way from Rome to Perugia, we stopped in Orvieto, a quaint hilltop town with the amazing ability to transport you back in time.
The winding streets are stone, the old houses are confidently crooked and cracked, and the duomo (cathedral) looms large, ominous, and beautiful in the square.
All of this sits dramatically above the rest of the landscape on top of a steep hill. It feels like you’ve been dropped straight into the Middle Ages.
You have to visit to feel this magic for yourself.
We took a great tour of the town and cathedral, bought some hand-painted ceramics as gifts, and found a cozy little restaurant for lunch, where we ate:
After lunch (and after almost every meal in Italy), we got some dairy-free gelato. Unfortunately there was a boar’s head on the wall near the shop…
After I took a few deep breaths and ate my gelato, we strolled over to the bell tower to climb it for an even better view of the surrounding countryside.
There, I was able to blow kisses to all of Italy and its food, art, and people.
Mwa, mwa, mwa!
Pretty Perugia was our next stop.
This place had some chic shopping streets (I scored my now-favorite emerald green skirt there!) and breathtaking views of surrounding Umbria.
That night, an elegant dinner awaited us at La Trattoria.
The chef came out to greet us and highly recommended the leg of lamb.
We explained that we are vegan and what that means, and he said “No problem! We make wonderful food for you!”
We got started with this hearty, deeply herbed lentil soup (in a super cute little container!).
For our main course, we once again delighted in Italy’s fresh bounty of vegetables, grilled to perfection.
And for our third course, a lovely pasta with tangy, basil-y sauce.
The next day, we took the short trip to Assisi, home of St. Francis, beloved patron saint of animals. I loved getting to tour his Basilica and see the many murals of him interacting with birds and other creatures.
We also had a wine tasting and lunch at the osteria of a winery in Torgiano (but forgot to take pics – FAIL!) before heading back to Perugia for the night.
This time, we ate so-fresh-it’ll-blow-your-mind pizza at a hole in the wall restaurant called Meditteraneo.
We did note the further North we traveled in Italy, the more meat showed up on the menu.
And not American meat that we’re used to seeing. Boar. And pigeon.
Despite this, it was still easy to order vegan at every restaurant by speaking with the server and/or by choosing the vegetarian dish and asking for no cheese.
From Perugia the next day, it was off to Siena with its famous black and white duomo for a short tour, and then…to Florence.
Gorgeous, marvelous Florence.
I could have spent weeks in the famous art museums the Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria dell’Accademia just staring at the overload of beauty all around us.
There was plenty of outdoor beauty to be breathed in too though, so we walked all around (it’s such a walkable city) to see the sites.
On our way to the Piazzale Michelangelo, we passed a poster for an anti-animal-testing group.
It’s so awesome to see animal activism around the globe! There are compassionate people everywhere.
And then it was time for gelato and lunch (in that order).
The next day, it was more site-seeing and time to explore the vegan/vegetarian restaurants we had scoped out on HappyCow.net.
There were several to choose from, but we headed to La Dolce Vegan based on their great reviews.
We were a bit giddy at the huge list of things we could order on their all-vegan menu, so we went a little nuts.
As in three pieces of tiramisu nuts. Over the course of a few hours though…that makes it ok, right?
After going back to La Dolce Vegan for dinner, doing some shopping, and climbing to the top of the duomo early the next morning, it was time to head back to the States.
Here’s the snack we grabbed in the airport on our way back.
Arrivederci, Italia! Ciao, ciao, ciao! Kisses on both cheeks!
I love you and your food and your people and your history and your art and your culture! I will be back for more!
To Compassion All Over the World!