If you or your family are in search of solitude on your Italian vacation, you might want to consider staying in this remodeled vacation house tucked into a piazza in the heart of the resurrected medieval borgo of Pascelupo called La Piazzetta di Pascelupo.
From your little perch in the Apennines you can gaze out upon the wild territory that was remote and mysterious enough to attract many spiritual wanderers; the area on the Umbria/Marche border is home to many abbeys and monasteries. From your terrace you'll be able to watch the morning sun sneak up on the 11th century hermitage of San Girolamo, where the cloistered monks carefully guard their isolation from the rest of society.
La Piazetta di Pascelupo is a two bedroom vacation rental located in a little piazza in the town of Pascelupo, which was almost entirely ruined by the earthquake of 1996 and rebuilt. Today the many attractive houses are mainly used for second homes to spend summer vacations and holidays in. A little bar run by Mimma, the owner of La Piazzetta di Pascelupo, is open in the summer. Otherwise you'll have to shop or go to the bar/pizzeria in the lower town of Perticano, where the owner speaks English and will make a hot cappuccino any time of the day for you.
The house consists of a kitchen, dining area and living room on the ground floor. There are two large bedrooms upstairs, as well as a large bathroom with both a tub and a shower.
Breakfast is provided. It consists of the typical Italian breads as well as dry cereals, coffee and juice. The kitchen is well stocked; there is an oven and 4 burner gas stove top.
Surrounding Pascelupo is the Parco del Monte Cucco. It's an ideal place to trek or mountain bike. Trail 46, suitable for walking or mountain biking starts just on the edge of town (near the church) and leads to Sorgente Prigioni (Prigioni Springs) (2.8km) and to Pian dei Spilli (the Plane of Spilli) 6.6 km. The Eremo di San Girolamo, shown below, is visible from the town of Pascelupo.
In a short drive you can visit the now abandoned Abbey of S. Emiliano in Congiuntoli, "originally erected to guard the relics of the martyr soldier Emiliano and a Saintly woman with twin children" according to the Itinerary guide "Parishes, Abbeys and Monasteries between Marche and Umbria" you can obtain from the tourist office in Fabriano or Gualdo Tadino, or in the Commune (Piazza Luceoli, 7) or Pro Loco of Scheggia, a nearby town along the Via Flaminia that was once a Roman colony.
From the Abbey you can visit the Benedictine Monastery of S. Croce at Fonte Avellana, still in use. The scriptorium, shown to the right, where monks transcribed important documents, is a fascinating stop on the tour. It's a room specially designed not only to catch all the light in those upper windows, including the very last light of the day in winter, but it also had a very intricate system for determining important dates through the use of a slit in the wall to project light on a floor marked with important times.
There's lots more to discover in this little slice of Umbria/Marche, including, for adventurous travelers, walking through Monte Cuccio on the "Traversata" the "crossing" through the Grotto of Monte Cucco.
Bottom line: We had a wonderful two-night stay at la Piazzetta di Pascelupo. If you like natural beauty along with your bits of fascinating history, a stay here will be a unique experience.
Current cost: high season 30 Euro per person, minimum 2 people, dropping to 25 euro in the low season.
Related: Recommended Self Catering in Italy.
Disclaimer: lodging was provided by La Piazetta di Pascelupo to journalists for the purposes of review.