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Sep 2012

Umbria Coat of Arms

The northern hills of Umbria are being headed into and no, not Alston[1], Umbria, UMBRIA! Pay attention and stop talking at the back! Fifteen hundred foot up here but you can drive most of it before a brief hike up to the medieval centre.

You know how Cumbria got its name don't you? From  Common Brittonic, actually, and the Celtic word 'kombroges', which also accounts for the Welsh word for Wales, Cymru, like you didn't know already? Aren't words great?

Highlights include the Palazzo dei Consoli and more churches than you could reasonably expect to visit in a week, never mind an afternoon.

The mid 14th-century palace is the inevitable museum and art gallery now and sits next to a Grande Piazza but it's not quite so high for the views to be spectacular.

It's from here, however, that you might clock the remains of the Teatro Romano, which remained inexplicably overlooked, but when you've been lucky enough to meet his big brother in Rome, it's only going to be a disappointment, probably.

For a superior view of your surroundings, head up Monte Ingino, which is home to 'The World's Largest  Christmas Tree', when in season.

But why walk to the church on top when you can get up in a birdcage? Yeah right, that's happening and the wobblies are being gotten just looking at that and yes, that'll be the old vertigo.

  Funivia Colle Eletto (San Girolamo)

A little way down from the big piazza this, well, what exactly do you call it? Just  six minutes for the 900-or-so foot up to the Basilica di Sant'Ubaldo near the top of Monte Ingino. Yeah, right, that's happening.

On your way out of, and on your way into, Gubbio you may notice, have noticed, some shabby, roadside distractions. Oh! How delightful? Perhaps some organic  San Marzano tomatoes can be sourced for that authentic, Neapolitan pizza that's being looked forward to later.

Hardly. This is one of the few main roads in these parts and those girls are selling exactly what you think they're selling with some guys in Mercedes keeping an eye on things.

It's a grim reality on the outskirts of some rural, Italian towns but these knees have already been trembled from that hike up the hill, thanks very much.