Assisi is a pristine and charming high hilltop city in the Italian region of Umbria. It is most well known for its exquisite white and pink stone architecture, its steep, winding, climb to its old world towers on the top of the hill, and for being home to Saint Francis’s tomb inside a massive basilica, which actually houses two churches in one, an upper and a lower. Assisi is a small city and only about 20 minutes away from the bigger capital of the region and study abroad hot spot, Perugia, and only about two hours by train away from Rome, making it a perfect place to visit on a day trip. Now, even though Assisi is quaint and walkable, and can be seen in its entirety in one day, that day is going to be a bit of a work out if you want to see everything (which you totally do) and because of the fact that literally every single destination for tourists pretty much requires hiking up a mountain of a street, path, or stairway. So safe to say, you are going to need your energy here… food is important, that brings us to Al Camino Vecchio Trattoria.
You could walk right by the unassuming trattoria if you aren’t looking for it, luckily there are signs once you get close to point you in the right direction around the curving roads. Go for lunch or dinner after visiting the Saint Francis church close by. FYI: You’ll walk up some more steep hills, you have to earn your pasta here but it’s worth it. When you step inside, the staff will be waiting to seat you, friendly folks who are going to speak Italian to you unless you clearly can’t understand, in which case they’ll send over a young waiter who has had some English lessons. The menu is in Italian, but you can ask for help, or just take a chance and ask for them to bring you whichever is most typical of the city. The menu includes a list of Italian tourists favorites in the back, if you don’t, for some unfathomable reason, wish to try the best of Umbria. I got Tagliatelle all’Assisana. My understanding: pasta with tomatoes, mushrooms, oil and fatty pork. (Pork is to Umbria as chocolate is to Willy Wanka’s factory…) It was easily one of the best meals I’ve had in all of my time living in Italy. I would go back to Assisi again, just to have this for lunch.
- Friendly staff, whether they speak English well or not
- Charming location
- Great prices
- Selection of local wines if you want to try
- Multiple small dining rooms means enough room for many of guests but a quiet atmosphere
- EPICLY delicious food
- The chef wouldn’t come home with me
Go here. Live here. Eat here. You will be happy.
All photos via Sarah Freeman