Any of you who have been to Trevi in Umbria raise your hand! Not many, I bet. This small hilltop town is off the mass tourism radar and is often visited on private tours of Italy.
The city of an ancient little-known Umbrian tribe, Trevi today is a charming quiet place that commands spectacular vistas stretching across the valleys for almost 60 miles, as far as Perugia in the north and, on exceptionally clear days, even Monte Amiata in Tuscany. It is best discovered at a slow pace, over a few days, with long lunches and coffee breaks between sightseeing stints.
Roman ruins, medieval walls, beautiful Romanesque churches and Renaissance palaces are all testimonies to a long and rich history. Ancient Romans loved the local thermal baths here as was St. Francis of Assisi , who came to Trevi for a few dips. Spend some time admiring the opulent carved doors, pretty arches and the fine Altar of the Sacrament in the 12th-century Church of St. Emiliano.
The small Museum of San Francesco has artefacts dating back to the town’s beginnings and is certainly worth a visit. In the Pinacoteca Civica has an excellent collection of fine paintings by medieval and Renaissance masters, including the great Pinturicchio.
You can walk or drive about a mile south of Trevi to find the lovely Chiesa della Modonna delle Lacrime that is famous for a stunning fresco by Perugino and a miracle occurred there in the 15t century when the painting of the virgin cried tears of blood.
Trevi is surrounded by olive groves and the area is renowned for high quality olive oil, which is the mainstay of the local economy. To sample tasty traditional Umbrian cuisine head to the cosyTaverna del Sette that has a pretty courtyard and a blazing log fire inside in winter. Delicious wild pigeon, eggplant, home-made pasta washed down with superb local red wines will make you want to stay in the small town of Trevi forever. Make sure you try a soup with the prized local black celery if it is on the menu.
Photos by: Giovanni Picuti, Sergio Trentanni, Gianluigi Bettin.