General Comments

(07/10) -In Umbria, I did the Gubbio Ring Walk, half of the trek up Mt. Subasio outside of Siena (heavy rain and bus schedules forced us back), the St. Eutizio – Norcia excursion, and the ring walk at Castelluchio.  All descriptions were perfect.  Above Castelluchio, the fog was so thick that I completely lost my bearings, and even though this should have been a simple out and back loop, I was grateful for the accuracy of your directions.  Otherwise, I would have wandered off into the Sibillinis forever.  (Fortunately, I had a compass, which confirmed that I, not you, was disoriented).

Unless you’re based in Spoleto, Norcia isn’t reasonably reachable by public transportation, and Castelluchio even less so, so a friend and I rented a car for the weekend to reach those places from Perugia. Per your suggestion, we took a taxi from Norcia to St. Eutizio — 23 euros — and the driver arrived within 90 seconds of the time I called him.  At the abbey, the driver insisted on introducing us to the young American (!) monk who is now in charge, and he gave us a chatty history of the abbey.  The walk back to Norcia was truly spectacular. 

Southern Umbria is much different from northern Umbria and Tuscany, far more remote and wild. In Norcia, we stayed and ate at the Hotel Azzura. Room was OK; food was better.

Castelluchio is truly remote, and wonderful. The next day’s walk was perhaps even more spectacular than the previous day’s, but the thick fog and rain hindered the views.  We stayed and ate at the Taverna. OK room; terrific dinner and breakfast the next morning. I’m a big meat eater, and still can’t believe that a lamb chop could be so tasty.  The family who ran the place was very hospitable, with the daughter even sewing my jacket shut against the cold when my zipper broke.  (In mid-May, it was raining hard, with temperatures in the ’40’s).
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley CA




(08/10) Went on your walk and loved it until I got to the chapel by the stream.   There were red/white flags to the right there in front of the chapel but no trail.   There was a cell phone tower and some drug up ground but otherwise just a wall of vegetation.   Tried going in that direction and ended up at the bar near the beginning after a long up hill slog.    Can you provide the old directions to the main road so I do not have to take this new “improved” path the next time?
—Steve Black

[author note, (9/10)  See next update]

(07/10)-  Gubbio is a more typical Tuscan – Umbrian hill town, definitely one of the most interesting hill towns. Plenty of things to fill up a weekend, and not overrun with tourists. The less touristed scene is on Corso Garibaldi, with the local passagiata rivalling that in Perugia but on a much smaller scale.  We stayed at the Residenza di Via Picardi, on a quiet street right in the heart of town.  Beautiful room, with a great garden for breakfast the next morning. The proprietress was extremely friendly, encouraging us as we practiced our atrocious Italian on her.  A double room was 55 euros.  We ate at Ristorante Cantinere.  Excellent.

Here are more specific notes on the walk:

As others have noted, the beginning and the end are a bit confusing.  The church’s “front”, from which the walk starts, is really on its left side as you come up from the funivia.  If you’re still not clear which way to go, just walk along the paved road in either direction. If you immediately hit a hotel, you’re going in the wrong direction.

The bar past point A, supposedly the Tre Ceri, is really called the Parco Coppo.

Somewhere past Poderetto, we seem to have made a pre-mature left turn, and wound up hitting the inner loop back at Point D rather than Point C.  I still haven’t figured that one out.

At the end of the walk, the cut-off at the chapel no longer exists.  (Believe me, another experienced walker and I tried and tried.  It just ain’t there).  So just stay on the tranquil enough road down which you’ve been walking until you hit the main drag heading back to Gubbio. Turn right, then left onto Viale G. Verdi, and follow the book’s directions (bottom of p. 337) back into Gubbio.
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley CA

(7/10)-The double ring walk was exceptional.  I had so much fun I stayed in Gubbio for a week (Pensione Il Piccardi), exploring all the other paths that led through the mountains.

Best restaurant in Gubbio, where the locals go:  Picchio Verde
—David Dominguez, Orem UT

(2/10)—Your book is lovely. However, in quickly reviewing the section on Gubbio, I noticed a small error. You say that Piazza Quaranta Martiri honors 40 partisans killed by German soldiers. Partisans killed the four German soldiers. The Germans then killed 40 citizens, including small children and old people. My deceased former father-in-law was the town doctor. As soon as he heard the news of the soldiers being killed, he fled with his family to the hills. It’s a small thing, but the reality is much more jarring than what you wrote.
Thank you
—Ruth Hogue Angeletti

(7/06)—First let me congratulate you on your terrific walking guide. My wife and I bought the first edition a few years ago and fantasized about all of the great times we could have following some of your walks. Two years ago we did that and just before we left Siena found a copy of the 2005 edition which we bought. We then spent the next 10 days doing walks 17 through 22 as a continuous walk, stopping for a couple of days here and there. Your book led us through the whole thing flawlessly. We each had a couple of day packs and washed clothes out in hotel bathrooms. It suited our slow travel policy perfectly.
We just got back from a second trip to Italy. It was quite warm (30 – 35) while we were there and we were in the mood for higher country so we decided to try your Gubbio walk. First of all we were delighted with Gubbio. Off the beaten path but it had lots to offer. Terrific restaurants and plenty of inexpensive hotels. We split our week between two lodgings. First the Rezidencia Via Picardi, just off the Piazza Quaranta Martiri, where the intercity bus stops. A double was 55 euros with a light breakfast. Then we switched to a more luxurious place, Palazzo Gatapone just below the piazza consoli. A double was 90 euro and they had a great breakfast included in the price.

Unlike the Tuscan walk there were a couple of problems we had with the directions this time. We did manage to get the CAI map in Gubbio so we had that to support the information in your book. You’re right that it is a spectacular walk. Lovely vistas and since we were there in June we had fields of wildflowers. We took the fenuvia to the top and after an espresso we went on our way. We started out on the paved road. It has recently been repaved but the pavement still stops where you said. We passed through the little park looking for the bar Tre Ceri. We did see a bar where we thought it should be but it wasn’t called Tre Ceri. To the best of my understanding- it turns out that Tre Ceri is the name of a local company that roasts coffee and sells it to area bars and restaurants. Along with that they have cups and napkins, with the Tre Ceri logo, located in all the places that carry their coffee. This place is one of the many places that use Tre Ceri. I asked at the bar and later saw the sign identifying this bar. It’s accurate name is Parco Coppo. There is a small sign identifying it as that on the left side of the building as you approach it on the paved road.

The walk went on as described in your book. We opted to do the double ring walk. We had no problems at all until it seemed to me that we had been walking a particular leg longer than seemed right. I consulted the CAI map and realized that we were at the top of that little leg between points H and I on your map. Labeled CAI 255. We had missed the turn off at H. We were being quite alert and careful so I don’t know how we missed it but perhaps you could think of some more clues for that trail. It’s certainly not a disaster to miss that turn off but I just thought you would like to know our experience.

The last bit of confusion for us was coming up to the end. You mention the chapel at J as the point to look for the new section of trail to return to Gubbio. We got confused because there is another chapel about a kilometer or two before point J that you don’t mention. And this first chapel is by a small stream. And it’s just before you enter the canyon. And there is a trail that leads off to the right just before the chapel. We began following that trail (a very small foot trail) but I soon decided that it didn’t feel right. We were headed in the wrong direction and I could tell that it wasn’t going to hit a road anytime soon as your book described that it would. My guess is that it was the trail that goes to the refugio just above where it says ‘MAD’ on the CAI map. So we went back to the main trail and entered the canyon thinking the cemetery was close by. But it was over a kilometer before we saw another chapel just next to the cemetery. There was a small track off to the right but it looked like a private drive to us so we didn’t take it and followed the old route along the main road. It wasn’t terrible.

So I hope I was clear in describing the confusion we had there. Basically it’s because there are two chapels with streams, the first one is before you enter the canyon and I think the last one is where the trail goes right to get you to the smaller road.

I hope that was helpful. And again thanks for putting together a great guide.
—Bob Muens, Key West, FL

(11/05)—The other walk we did was the Gubbio double ring walk, which was perfectly beautiful. We had a slight problem at the beginning trying to figure out which was the front of the church, because we thought that was the back of the church, & another woman we met who had done the walk the day before thought the same thing. The first part of the ring walk was well marked by CAI signs, but the second part was not, so one really did have to have a good sense of direction here. Luckily for us, at point G, which was a T-junction, & was not marked, there was a man further along the road cutting wood, whom we asked if this was the way to Gubbio, & he confirmed yes, all in Italian! I did look for the CAI maps in a bookstore & was unable to find them, but I would highly recommend using them on this walk if one is planning to do the double ring.
—Robin Willis

(10/05)—The Gubbio information office has moved to Post Office building.
—Colleen Rodgers

(6/05)—On the Gubbio ring walk, you discuss a point at which the road passes the bar Tre Ceri and turns into a dirt road. I think if you said when the road passes to the left of the bar, or leaves the bar on the right, it would be clearer. There are paved roads continuing short distances in both directions then becoming dirt, and we pursued the one to the right, which then confused us more by leading us to signs indicating we were headed for CAI trails 251, 253 and 254, only to wind up at a dead end which I had to admit after making an exhausting climb up a steep hill and winding up in a horse pasture with no trails in sight. Also, I think the owners of this farm did not appreciate our being there. Horses were friendly though.

When we returned to the road to the left of the bar, we noticed that there was a private property sign on the gate barring autos from the trail, but not later on where the road forks, so this may have changed since you last visited.

One other thought – toward the end of your directions, you mention a chapel by a stream in close conjunction with directions around the cemetery. The only chapel we saw by a stream was the Madonna del Sasso, which is some distance away from the cemetery (both visible on the CAI map). If we understood your directions correctly, they may indicate these two features are closer together than we found them to be.




(7/10) – I would strongly recommend the 6 hour walk through Mt Subasio (hermitage) to Spello (Trail marked as 50, then 60, then back to 50).  Easily the best walk I took in that area.  Many other hikers keep you company along the way.  I joined up with Germans and Hungarians and had a blast. 

Best restaurant in Assisi, reasonably priced, went there numerous times:  Trattoria da Erminio
—David Dominguez, Orem UT



 —Norcia to San Eutizio: Both Ways

(07/10) – No specific notes for St. Eutizio – Nocia. Directions were flawless.
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley CA

(06/2009)— We’ve found your book really useful in our brief visit to Umbria and hope that it will continue to be so in Tuscany next week.

A couple of comments on the San Eutizio to Norcia walk. There are no overgrown sections and the path markers have all been freshly painted – in fact, in some places there loads of them all over the place! Just before S, your text mentions sticking to the path and leaving a farm to your right. There is a sign saying “Attenti Cani” at this point and the main track appears to go straight on into the farm yard with another track bending sharp left. We went straight on and met four large dogs – it was the one on the chain that was most ferocious and my wife was lucky to get away with a bruised hand rather than anything more serious!  I’m not sure that the farmer was terribly overjoyed with the noise as he sent his wife out to shut the dogs up… Perhaps an update note to keep to the lefthand track at this point would help others.

Oh yes, you need a shortened waterproof version of the routes as when it is tipping it down the book gets rather soggy! We now know why Norcia is so green.
—William Stephens



—Piano Grande and Castelluccio Ring Walk

(07/10) – No specific notes for Castelluchio Ring Walk.  Directions were flawless.
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley, CA

(06/2009)— On the Castelluccio ring route (when the weather was much more clement), after B, where your text says “staying always on the main path” – there appears to have been some activity that makes the lefthand fork more ‘main’ than the right. There are also fluorescent yellow way markers that beguile you up this way starting at a big blue sign board about the commune. This isn’t a problem but you end up a bit further left than you might want to be and the track you come to leads you down hill rather than up (plus it is on the wrong side of the ridge). We went straight up to the top of the ridge and connected with the track down to Castelluccio with no problem. Again, maybe an update would help others. We had been here nine years ago but weren’t sure of where to take a good circular path so this route was excellent. The flowers in late May are not at their peak but were wonderful nonetheless.

Once again – thanks for writing the book.
—William Stephens



—Two-day Sibillini Walk: Forca di Presta-Foce-Castelluccio