Good morning from Italy! As you probably already know, Luna and I spent a large portion of our winter wandering the Italian hill country in and around Umbria.
Well, actually, when I say “wandering the Italian hill country” I really mean “snuggled up in our cozy apartment with views over the Italian hill country”. Because it rains here in the winter. Like, a lot. And when it’s cold and rainy, eventually poor Luna gets all shivery and needs to go home. So we spent most of our time indoors, either at home or in the cafes, restaurants, and gelatterias of Perugia. On the occasional sunny day, we did our actual wandering.
That said, we were lucky to be in Umbria because, in traditional European fashion, Luna was well-loved and easily admitted pretty much everywhere you can think of. So when the rain or the wind started up, there was always a shop to duck into. Blessed Europe.
We frequented cafes, chocolate shops, clothing stores, parks, and restaurants in Perugia, finding that the only spaces that weren’t dog-friendly were a couple little cafes on a back street and the grocery store (which is pretty typical of Europe).
Our favorite little dog-friendly wine and local goods shop is called Il Tempio. It’s a warm little two-story space full of local wines, jams, chocolates, and sauces. And if you head upstairs, they might just let you taste the dessert wine. Il Tempio is run by a father-daughter team and the daughter is incredibly fond of dogs (I don’t know about the father, as he wasn’t there when Luna was), so be prepared for lots of attention and snuggles if you bring your pooch into shop.
Our favorite cozy little bar, Trottamundo Kafe Libreria, with its world-traveling (and English-speaking) owners and the gorgeous golden bull mastiff mascot who comes to work with the owners on slow nights is hidden away down an alley called Via Della Stella. Sundays are live music nights between 7 and 9 and usually feature jazz or bossa nova. Dogs are, as you’ve probably guessed, welcome.
As for accommodations, we stayed in two gorgeous Airbnb apartments. They normally have a no pet policy, but if you ask nicely and have a well-behaved dog, they’ll totally make an exception for you.
And right down the block from those two cozy little apartments, there’s a gorgeous, green little park with some of the best views of Umbrian hill country that I’ve seen in my time here. The park is a big destination for dog-owners, so if your dog wants some puppy friends, it’s the right place to meet them. The park is located just off Corso Garibaldi and is called Parco San Angelo. You’ll probably need to ask a local for directions, as the entrance is down an alley.
I hear the best time to visit Umbria is in shoulder season, just before or after the tourist masses tromp through Italy (e.g. May, June, September). Though the upsides to a winter visit are quiet, discounted accommodation, and an authentic local experience, so don’t let me discourage you from a winter visit. Just be ready for some rain, fog, wind, and cold if you do choose January for your Umbrian adventures.
Finally, here’s a little doggie vocab to make your stay that much easier:
Cane (cah – nay) = dog
Cani (cah – nee) = dogs
Amica (am – ee – ca) = friend
Piano (pee – ah – no) = slowly, calmly, quietly (you may hear people telling their dogs this while greeting your dog)
Va bene (vah – ben – ay) = it’s good!
Si (see) = yes
No (no) = no
Bon viaggio (bon – vee – aj – jee – oh) = have a good trip!
That’s all we’ve got for you today, friends. Bon viaggio a Italia!
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