From what I saw of the provinces of Umbria and Tuscany, their terrains aren’t all that different…both have plenty of hills though the Tuscan hills roll in big arcs while the Umbrian hills are tighter, shorter. Both have lots of vineyards and agriculture and hill towns and sunflowers and other good stuff. I like Umbria very much and I especially prefer their bread to the bland, saltless Tuscan bread! Both provinces are very beautiful and lush.
In extreme contrast is this part, the mountainous area, of the Abruzzo region! Wow, what a huge difference! Right now I’m looking out at mountains covered in sparse vegetation and/or rocks! Quite beautiful in its own way.
According to Wikipedia re Abruzzo region: “The region is located in central Italy, stretching from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea, and includes mainly mountainous and wild land. The mountainous inland is occupied by a vast plateau including Gran Sasso, at 2,912 metres (9,554 ft) the highest peak of the Apennines, and Mount Majella 2,793 metres (9,163 ft). The Adriatic coastline is characterized by long sandy beaches to the north and pebbly beaches to the south. Abruzzo is well known for its landscapes and natural beauties, parks and nature reserves, characteristic hillside areas rich in vineyards and olive groves, and one of the highest densities of blue flag beaches.”
I’m in Santo Stefano di Sessanio which is a tiny medieval mountain village in the area of the Gran Sasso. I mean serious medieval!! Anyone watching the PBS series “Poldark”? The inside of the house Poldark lives is like the “decor” of my room! My b&b is Sextantio Albergo Diffuso (scattered hotel) and it is reminescent of those peasant homes. Think typical broad stone walls and rooms stained from cooking and heating fires, dark thick wood beams and creaking doors on rusted iron hinges as well as wall openings with only shutters to keep out the heat or the cold. There’s at least glass in the openings now!
Sextantio consists of various rooms and facilities throughout the village in ancient buildings that have been somewhat restored to their former medieval style with a few modern additions. The hotel has added electricity, safety equipment, wifi and upscale baths. Otherwise, it’s like living in a medieval room and village!
The reception is down the hill a bit and the breakfast/dining room is the other direction past private homes, other b&bs, a bar and abandoned properties waiting for attention. The cantina is a little further on. The tea room is that way and the store is close by that place! The diverse locations of the bnb’s facilities require the guests to become regular visitors throughout this part of the village. Great plan, imo, and judging by the number of visitors in this tiny place, I’d guess it’s successful.
And here are some pix from village and surrounds:
Yep, penultimate is a gaggle of young boy and girl scouts who trooped into the village one afternoon and the noise of just their voices was boggling! Picture taken from my window…
And that bird is a garrulous swallow…holy schmoly, that bird chattered and chirped and sang and sqawked …often and very loudly! The swallows and swifts are a wonderful part of this trip!