The View From Assisi – Weekly Travel Photo

Assisi - Cathedral and Fields

Situated in the heart of the rich Umbrian countryside the hilltop town of Assisi embodies the aura, charm, and personality of Italian hilltop cities.  The view from the historic city is enchanting and takes in a vista that includes carefully manicured fields, Assisi’s new town, Italian villas, vineyards, and a number of historic buildings including perfectly maintained cathedrals that are several hundred years old.  Despite the grandeur of the view, it is all flavored by the humble ideals and mentality of the Franciscans, who have served as the city’s dominant religious group for hundreds of years.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Weekly Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Rooftops in Perugia – Weekly Travel Photo

Streets of Perugia - Umbria, Italy

Tile rooftops, winding streets built upon the collapsed ruins of ancient city walls, aqueducts, and fortifications all combined with the hustle and bustle of a vibrant Italian city.  The streets of Perugia are the embodiment of everything that comes to mind when one closes their eyes and pictures Italy.  This photo captures the discordant layers that give the roof line of Italy’s historic cities a romantic charm and is a glimpse of the views which capture the imagination.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Weekly Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

My Fantastic Packing Mistake

Perugia, Italy - Traveling Boots

I had a comfortable late-morning flight to Rome.  The route to Copenhagen airport is an easy one.  Hop a reliable bus for a 5 minute ride, switch to the metro for a 35 minute trip and boom. Next thing you know you’re at Copenhagen airport ready to move quickly through their efficient security lines and on to your destination of choice.  The whole process is an easy one and something that I’ve gotten the hang of.  But, what’s the old saying? Complacency is dangerous? That sounds about right.

Perugia, Italy - Traveling Boots

Many of you probably found your way to VirtualWayfarer because of one of my packing videos or blog posts.  Both are an area I specialize in and consider myself a bit of an expert in.  So, when it came time to pack for my 5 day visit to Italy I didn’t stress out about getting things pre-packed.  Oh, sure, I  did the basics and made sure that the laundry was done. I even spent some time the night before fretting over what formal clothing to pack.  You see, I was heading to Perugia as a finalist in the Perugia International Journalism Festival’s ‘Stories on Umbria’ contest but there in lurked my pitfall.

The Colosseum - Rome - Traveling Boots

As I fretted over which suit to pack … to go formal or casual … which tie to take … and how to get it to Italy without turning it into a wrinkled mess in my backpack I neglected actually packing the essentials.  When morning came and it was time to leave I launched into a flurry of motion tossing clothing, electronics, and the usual assortment of items on the bed.  I was confident – and dare I say a bit cocky – chatting on Facebook and chuckling when friends asked if I’d packed yet.  After all, I’m an expert – I only need 30 minutes.

Rome - Traveling Boots

Sidetracked repeatedly by conversations and general distractions I eventually realized that I was running a bit behind.  I made the last minute decision to wear a sports jacket, dress shirt, jeans and a pair of leather dress oxfords for the flight. I’d only have about 30 minutes between when I was scheduled to arrive in Perugia and the welcome reception/dinner so I ruled out changing upon arrival.  I also packed a full suit and dress shirt which I took in a hanging bag as a carry on for the following day’s official ceremony.  This meant I needed to pack my normal walking shoes in my backpack.  Which I did. Quickly.  Grabbing a pair of my signature Keen Targhee IIs, tossing them in an old supermarket bag, and burying it deep inside my bag all took about 45 seconds. Then in went the rest of my clothing, camera chargers, spare batteries, dopp kit and the like. I paused, and with a flourish tossed the bag over my shoulder, snagged my camera bag, my suit and was out the door.

The Vatican - Traveling Boots - Rome

I made my flight to Italy with oodles of time.  The trip from Rome to Perugia was uneventful. I applauded myself for my efficiency.  The dinner was delicious and provided an incredible opportunity to socialize with veteran journalists from the likes of the AP, New York Times, and Telegraph.  The following day’s award ceremony was equally enjoyable. Though I didn’t win the prize, being in the final three was an incredible honor.  Particularly because I was the only blogger in attendance.   I spent the remainder of the day walking around Perugia in my black dress oxfords.  It was only the following morning as I transformed from semi-formal journalist to relaxed travel blogger that I realized I’d made the worst packing mistake in my personal history.

Last Minute Packing

As I sat in my dimly lit hotel room, still a bit groggy from the night before, I pulled on my jeans, tossed a black v-neck t-shirt over my head and then dug around in my bag for my walking shoes.  Unceremoniously I yanked them out and dumped the yellow Netto bag out onto the floor.  With one hand pulling my t-shirt down over the rest of my body I slipped my left foot into my shoe and then kicked the right shoe into position.  Then, as I went to slide my foot into the right shoe I realized it felt odd.  I re-positioned, still not focusing on it, and tried again.  That’s when I looked down and paid closer attention.  That’s also when I realized that in my haste I had made an impressive error.  I had packed two Keen Targhee IIs, true.  Unfortunately the two were also two left shoes in similar, but slightly different colors.

Rome - Traveling Boots

That’s right.  I packed two left shoes. Two left shoes that were also different colors.  Sure, it would have been bad if I ended up with one left shoe and one right shoe from different pairs – that I could have passed off as being creative, or gritty, or…hell, I don’t know.  Instead I was left with one simple conclusion.  I was an idiot. Not only was I an idiot sitting in a dark hotel room, 2 days into his trip laughing at himself, I was an idiot that had three days of hardcore walking around Rome scheduled.  Not something you typically want to do in a pair of black dress oxfords with minimal support, smooth souls, and stiff leather. As far as just wearing the two left shoes?  Fat chance.

The Pantheon - Rome - Traveling Boots

Too stubborn (and perhaps cheap) to buy a replacement pair of shoes for a mere 3 days I pressed on and wandered Rome alternating between my shower flip flops and my Oxfords.  To make matters worse the Oxfords were relatively new, which meant that the leather was still quite hard and hadn’t formed to my feet. So, my penance for rushing out the door and not packing properly?  Blisters, sore feet, and a bit of blood.

Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II - Traveling Boots

Oh, and for those of you that might wonder why I have two pairs of near-identical Keens – it’s because I picked up a replacement pair right before my 50 day Africa/Europe trip this past summer.  The old pair were still good, but not quite good enough to risk the trip.  The end result: two near-identical pairs of keens which sit like old dogs at the foot of my bed. The latest in a long line of shoes which have been featured repeatedly in the 320+ photos that comprise my traveling boots album. So, if you noticed that the shoes in my recent Italy Boot Shots were a bit out of place…now you know why.

Moral of the story?  Even if you think you’re an expert, it’s still a good idea to pay attention.  After all, no one is perfect.

When It Rains – Weekly Travel Photo

Rainy Streets - Perugia, Italy

The life of a street performer isn’t all showmanship and entertainment. I captured this patient, and more than a little forlorn, costumed street statue during a light spring rain in the historic part of old Perugia. Over the two days I spent in Perugia as a finalist in the Stories on Umbria journalism competition, a part of the Perugia International Journalism Festival, we had mostly sunny weather. Unfortunately, the 2nd evening brought with it scattered rain showers. While perfect for my relaxing walk through the city with my camera, it was far less ideal for this gentleman whose exposed face was painted completely white.

After capturing this photo and several closeups I chatted with him briefly. In return he smiled and with a flourish produced a tiny rolled scroll. The small piece of paper was held in place by a cut piece of pasta…very clever and Italian…and contained a small proverb. Of the various encounters I had in Perugia and Umbria during the trip, it was one of my favorites.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

An Italian Paradise – Weekly Travel Photo

Exploring Beautiful Orvieto

Italy’s charm never ceases to amaze me.  There’s just something about the storied Italian towns as they sit perched atop ancient hills that oozes romantic thoughts.  It is always somewhat shocking to me how the gritty charm of a city like Orvieto can make something as simple, benign, and uninteresting as drying laundry charming and memorable.   While Italy’s large cities (Rome, Florence, Milan, etc.) may draw the biggest crowds, my favorites have always been the smaller and mid-sized towns.  Many of which have been inhabited for hundreds, if not thousands of years.  This photo from the hilltop city of Orvieto showcases one such city.  The contrast between beautiful brick and stone buildings, the charm of crumbling and oft repaired plaster, of teaming flower pots, and of course of freshly washed laundry drying in the Italian spring air ignites my imagination and tugs at my heart strings.

In far too many parts of the world travelers have the opportunity to see history, but find themselves feeling detached or disconnected.  The beauty of these wonderful Italian towns is that they offer that rare and unusual opportunity to feel like you’re not just a casual observer in passing, but actually an active participant in history.  I captured this photo during a far-too-brief spring visit to the city.  It’s history as a pivotal defensive city is rich, and influential.  At times it has been nearly destroyed, served as a papal residence, and  was once home to one of early Rome’s most challenging opponents.  It layers history like layers of delicious delight in a layer cake.  Each new layer adds to the flavor, the depth and the richness of the overall experience.

This photo was made possible in part by the travel experts at

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here.

My Top 5 Travel Videos From 2012

Alex Berger Year In Review

In 2012 I filmed a ton of HD video footage as part of my mission to do more videos.  A lot of that footage still needs to be edited.  My equipment has also improved a lot over the course of the year as has my understanding of how to create and edit a video.  Ultimately, I ended up uploading 22 videos that highlight everything from student life here in Copenhagen to polar bears waging fairly epic mock battles in Churchill, Canada.  I’ve gone through and picked 5 of my favorites, but you can see all of the videos over on youtube. I’ll also be adding a bunch of new ones over 2013 (already have the footage from Prague and Scotland lined up!) so make sure to subscribe.

1. The Great Polar Bear Migration

2. The Death of a Hippo (May make you cry)

3. A Video Tour of Cappadocia in the Snow

4. Tasting Olive Oil (watch to the end)

5. The South Luangwa Safari (Wildlife Footage)

These are just a few of the year’s videos and there are quite a few that just barely missed the list (underground cave cities and sleepy lion cubs to name a few).  Now that the year is winding down and i’m forced to pause for a breather and reflect on the past year, it’s amazing to recall just how different the start of the year which was spent in Turkey and Italy was from the summer which I spent in the heart of Africa and Northern Scotland and which was a stark contrast to end of the year which I rounded out in rural Canada.

Video was shot predominantly on my Canon Vixia HF200 and my Canon T3i (600D) dSLR. Voice overs used my iphoneor the built in microphone on the HF 200.

Thank you all so much for your support in 2012, your feedback, your kind words, your likes, your shares, and your attention.

Have special requests for 2012 or questions? Let me know!

2012 – A Year of Travel In Photographs

Traditional Souks - The Spice Market

2012 was one of my best travel years to date.  In it I added two new continents, four brand new countries and scratched some pretty major destinations off my bucket list.  In addition to completing my first year in Copenhagen I made it to the United Arab Emirates, Scotland, England, Germany, Sweden, Zambia, Botswana, Italy, Turkey, Canada and the Czech Republic.  Experiences ranged from my first time back in North America in 15 months where I came nose to nose with wild polar bears to an incredibly awkward Turkish Hamam experience to a week spent cooking over a charcoal brazier in rural Zambian villages.  2012 also saw me upgrade from my trusty Canon G11 to a Canon 600D, my first ever dSLR.

I feel like you have all been there with me throughout my many adventures.  Your readership, support, comments, feedback and advice really means a lot and is part of what makes the hours, money, blood sweat and tears I put into this blog worth it.  So, thank you.

Without further delay, I give you 42 of my favorite photos from 2012 in no particular order.

Lion Cubs Playing at Sunset

Lion cubs relaxing – South Luangwa, Zambia

Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Snow

The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) – Istanbul, Turkey

Lilac-breasted Roller - Chobe Safari - Botswana

A Lilac-Breasted Roller – Chobe, Botswana

Polar Bear and Setting Moon in Churchill

Full moon setting as the sun rises – Churchill, Canada

Lazy Leopard in South Luangwa, Zambia

A large leopard in the grass – South Luangwa, Zambia

The Streets of Stockholm

One of many beautiful streets – Stockholm, Sweden

Rainbows - Victoria Falls - Zambia

The last of my big three – Victoria Falls, Zambia

Elephants - South Luangwa - Zambia

A young male pausing to stare us down in South Luangwa, Zambia

Traditional Souks - The Spice Market

Spices at a traditional souk in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Faces of Zambia

Children clowning for the camera in a small village in Luapula Province, Zambia

Zebra - South Luangwa - Zambia

A Zebra relaxing just before sunset in South Luangwa, Zambia

Berlin - Beautiful Marbles

One of my favorite marble statues – Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany

Beautiful Sunset in Istanbul

A mosque at sunset during Istanbul’s worst storm in 25 years – Istanbul, Turkey

Faces of Zambia

Children showcasing their zeal for life – Luapula Province, Zambia

Streets of Perugia

A particularly beautiful street – Perugia, Italy

Hamish the Highland Cow

Hamish the world famous Highland Coo (Cow) – Kilmahog, Scotland


Fishing boats in Antalya harbor – Antalya, Turkey

One Eyed Leopard

This beautiful male leopard has survived with only one eye – South Luangwa, Zamiba

Wild Polar Bears in Churchill

Dancing or fighting?  Perhaps a bit of both – Churchill, Canada

Dubai at Night from the Burj

Dubai from the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Wild Leopard at Night - South Luangwa, Zambia

A large leopard warning a nearby hyena not to come closer – South Luangwa, Zambia

Cappadocia Region in Winter

The famous rock chimneys that decorate and define the Cappadocia region – Goreme, Turkey

Exploring Beautiful Orvieto

A moment of love and companionship – Orvieto, Italy

The Streets of Stockholm

The historic streets of Gamla Stan – Stockholm, Sweden

Elephants Posturing - South Luangwa - Zambia

Elephants posturing near a watering hole – South Luangwa, Zambia

Sunset over Samfya Lake

Fishermen at sunset – Samfya Lake, Zambia

Elephants in a Line - Chobe Safari - Botswana

An elephant convoy walking single file – Chobe National Park, Botswana

Wild Polar Bears in Churchill

Polar Bears play fighting while waiting for the ice to freeze – Churchill, Canada

The Quirang, Isle of Skye

View out over the Quirang – Isle of Skye, Scotland

Lioness Feeding on Hippo

A lioness chewing on a baby hippo’s head – South Luangwa, Zambia

Bikes in Stockholm

A Swedish bike with a traditional twist – Stockholm, Sweden

Luapula Province, Zambia

The night sky over the village of Chisunka – Luapula Province, Zambia

Lion Stalking Impala - Chobe National Park

A lion casually stalking alert Impala – Chobe National Park, Botswana

The Isle of Skye, Scotland

An abandoned boat – Isle of Skye, Scotland

Perugia's Rooftop Textures

Looking down on Perugia’s beautiful rooftops – Perugia, Italy

Polar Bear Tears

Polar Bear tears – Churchill, Canada

Mother and Child - Chobe Safari - Botswana

A baby Baboon preparing for launch – Chobe National Park, Botswana

Geese Families in Stockholm

A mother and her babies resting – Stockholm, Sweden

Faces of Zambia

Hard at work preparing and seperating corn kernels for sale – Chisunka, Zambia

Old Painting from the Archaeology Museum

A close up of a beautiful piece of art in the Antalya Archaeological Museum – Antalya, Turkey

Alert Impala - South Luangwa, Zambia

A very alert Impala – South Luangwa, Zambia

Luapula Province, Zambia

d’Artagnan, my brother’s cat – Luapula Province, Zambia

It was nearly impossible to select 42 of my favorite shots from the last year.  There are a lot which I absolutely love that didn’t make this post. If you enjoyed these shots, please head over to my flickr albums and continue browsing.  You may have noticed that this post only includes one photo from Berlin, and does not include any shots from England, the Czech Republic or Denmark.  I wasn’t doing much shooting in England or Germany and I have not edited my photos from the Czech Republic yet so you’ll have to stay tuned for those!  I chose to exclude Denmark because it is my current place of residence. I’ll be doing a special post featuring 10-20 shots from the past year dedicated specifically to my life here in Copenhagen.

The photo at the start of the post (technically #43) is from the traditional spice markets in Dubai, UAE.

Most of the photos in this post were shot on a Canon T3i (600D) while using either a 18-135mm lens, 55-250mm lens, or a 50mm f1.4 lens.

I would LOVE to know which of these shots is your favorite, or if you have other photos I’ve taken over the past year which you think should have made the list but did not.

Thank you again so, so much for all of your support.  Your comments mean a lot to me!  I cannot wait to see what adventures 2013 brings!

Tales of Narnia, or Should I Say Narni?

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

Roused from our beds by the golden rays of the Umbrian sun we began what would round out our two and a half-day adventure through Umbria. Slowly rubbing the last traces of sleep from my eyes I found myself once again staring out the gently tinted windows of the bus as we wound our way past Lake Corbara and made our way toward the town of Narni.  Little did we know that the 6 hours remaining as part of our adventure promised interesting epiphanies, rich culture, and a walk through the mists of fantasy.

Cities of Umbria, Italy

When our guides told us we were heading to the town of Nari we said, ” Narni? Sounds a lot like Narnia.” We chuckled and then went back to watching pristine hilltop town after town drift past our windows. After the week or so I spent in Umbria I now stand convinced that one could easily spend a year exploring the region’s wealth of small towns and still barely scratch the surface. Each seems more picture-perfect, more inviting, more…charming than the last.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

…and then something happened. The rolling hills and the small settlements precariously perched atop them suddenly gave way to the blur of lights and curving gray walls. Some might say we had entered a tunnel, though I now find myself somewhat suspicious. You see, as we raced along at a furious pace it felt as though things had changed. Not by much, just ever so slightly.

Cities of Umbria, Italy

So, it may come as little surprise that when we finally reached the end of the tunnel, I’ve come to theorize, we may have been transported to a parallel place and time. Sure it looked similar. The cars were still there, the roads were there, but the clouds were slightly different. It reminded me of a story I once read only in place of a tunnel through a mountain, in that story the characters entered an old dresser in an attic and were spirited away.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

I shrugged off the sensation for a while, but it soon returned as our destination came into view. A partially fortified town a bit larger than most and carefully situated on top of an impressive nearby hill.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

As we drew closer to what I would later learn was the city of Nari our path led over a large bridge, passing long collapsed though still impressive Roman stone works, and then up a narrow road just barely large enough for our bus. Luckily the road opened up at the base of the hill into a fairly large, but no less jam-packed, parking lot which seemed to be the de facto parking lot for all of the city’s residents.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

As I stood staring up at the city, I took note of its skyline.  While many of the cities in Italy manage a set uniformity for their skyline, the steep hill where Narni resides and the general approach to raw stone and cured plaster gave it a somewhat random appearance.  Now in most cases describing the skyline of a city as random, unorganized, and somewhat confused would be anything but complimentary.  In the case of Narni, however, it is quite the opposite.  It adds to the charm and offers a depth to the city which is both unusual and quite flattering.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

Our trip from the parking area to the city was no less interesting. It consisted of a series of stairways, a funicular, several beautiful cobblestone streets and a square or two thrown in for good measure. The walk provided a chance to talk to several local guides and learn a bit about the city. As we walked I quickly found myself winded by the steep steps and conversation was slightly more challenging than normal. We eventually passed a group of wise women engaged in delightful banter, turned one more corner and found ourselves walking along a slightly larger road which seemed to line the spine of the hill. That’s when it happened.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

It quickly became evident that the strange sensation I had while passing through the tunnel had been far more than the idle result of one too many nights sampling local Italian wine. You see, as we turned a corner we were suddenly and quite obviously transported back in time. It would seem that we had stumbled onto a formal event. A festival of sorts that paid homage to the city, its rich history and culture.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

As we slowly made our way down the street we were greeted by a noble lord and lady of what I can only imagine to be some stature. Their serfs handed us beautiful scrolls and gestured for us to relax and to enjoy a bit of music, dance and contest.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

It was about this time that the city’s youth assembled in crisp lines. Adorned in the city’s regalia and with instruments in hand they faced down the day’s beating sun and after pausing long enough to fire off a series of fierce glares, they washed all emotion from their face and began to play. They beat their drums mightily sending waves of sound crashing from cobblestone street to storied stone wall, and then the trumpets began. As the crowd stood mute they performed for us an impressive array of pieces from a time (and place?) long past but clearly not forgotten.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

Suddenly, just like that, they stopped and turned looking to their left at mounted men of note. Men who with ease and grace lifted scrolls before them and began to read aloud. Their words announce the start of the next event… A contest of strength, of precision and of speed – an archery contest.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

Just like that the youths who were still assembled and standing in formation let forth a blast to commence the archery competition and the assembled archers – men of all ages – nocked arrows to bows.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

Bows were drawn to cheeks, breath inhaled and then quickly exhaled. Fingers released and in the beat of an eye arrows seemed to leap from lazily resting against the archer’s bows to sitting quivering embedded in the distant target.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

As each round passed it was a delight to watch both seasoned archers and boyish novices stand side by side performing their craft. By the end of the contest the target stood riddled with arrows and while one or two had found their way to areas beyond the target, nearly all struck squarely in the target’s center.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

As the silence of the crowd slowly began to replace the twang of vibrating bowstrings Narni’s next treat began. The silent roar of the assembled crowd was quickly replaced by a medieval melody. It was cheerful and energetic…music of a type that we all recognize, but rarely hear and almost never in person. As I turned to find the source of the music I quickly discovered several local women engaged in a graceful dance. As they bowed, stepped, bowed again and twirled I enjoyed their graceful movements and leaned slightly to the left, engaged in a muted conversation with my guide.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

As it turned out, our idle musings and chatter earlier in the trip had been far more spot-on than we expected. The wonderful world I had entered when I left that country-tunnel did in fact mirror the magical wardrobe found in C.S. Lewis’ series describing a far off place called Narnia. The city I now stood in, Narni by name, had served as official inspiration for the author. Though, one can only wonder – was he inspired, or just recounting the experiences he stumbled on during his time in the city and surrounding area?

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

As the women bowed to each other the drums and trumpets resumed their powerful song. Then, with surprising organization all of the assembled nobility, squires, archers and dancers formed into a line and paraded out and off into the depths of the city. Just like that we found ourselves transported back to our own time and making our way down the spine of the hill to see portions of the city’s underground town. But first, we paused at a beautiful overlook to take in the site of a fortified structure, the Abbey of San Cassiano, located across the ravine but still just outside of bow-shot from the city.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

Eager to explore the underground church which we had been told about, we made our way down and across two small terraces to the obscure doorway which modestly led into the side of the hill.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

After ducking through the tiny portal we were greeted by a 12th century benedictine chapel which was only re-discovered some 20 years ago. In a fun twist of fate our guide was actually one of the individuals who participated in the initial discovery and exploration of the complex. The chapel which is simple but beautifully preserved and eerily still contains human remains buried in its floor is part of a series of rooms, including a nearby area which was used as a foreboding dungeon.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

The entrance to the dungeon’s main cell is small. So small in fact that I found myself nearly bent in two to get through it. The room isn’t much larger with room for a bed, and a little space to stand and stretch. The walls are decorated with graffiti from at least one of the room’s unfortunate residents. It is an odd thing to experience as you stand there staring at carvings made by a desperate soul hundreds of years past.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

With the prison cell behind us and our visit winding to a close we wandered the streets and learned more about the city’s history. The location where the city currently stands is thought to have been settled in at least 600 BC as the city of Nequinum.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

By the 4th century BC the Romans had conquered and reinforced the city which sat upon the Via Flaminia, an essential artery between Rome and the Adriatic. Around 300 BC in a failed attempt to gain freedom from Rome the Romans fully incorporated the city and renamed it Narni. While having claim to a number of historical greats, the city was the birth place of Marcus Cocceius Nerva Caesar Augustus, or more simply put Emperor Nerva of Rome who assumed position as emperor in September of 96 AD.

The City of Narni, Umbria, Italy

After the morning and early afternoon events we had worked up a mighty hunger. Luckily, the city had decided that a traditional feast was an absolute must! So, off we went down winding cobblestone streets through a town that drips character like authentic spaghetti drips the rich colors and flavor of fresh tomato sauce.

Eating in Umbria

Now, this is normally where I’d post shot of the meal. Unfortunately, it looked REALLY good and we were starving. So with reckless abandon we set to are simple, but delicious meal of pork-chops, sausage, pasta, fresh beans, and salad. It was all served by local volunteers and in/on traditional earthen plates and cups. The local red wine was every bit as delightful as one might imagine and the venue (Terziere S. Maria) was a great little tavern-like space located down a side street. The room we were in consisted of crude wooden benches and in a sparsely, but historically themed room with vaulted brick ceiling and and rough brick walls. In short, it had a wonderful ambiance and fit the day’s theme perfectly.

I had a wonderful time getting lost in Narni and dreaming of the role it played in the mythical lands of Narnia. I’d like to extend a hearty thank you to the people of Narni who offered us such wonderful hospitality while wining and dining us. It’s a wonderful city, and one with a distinct personality of its own.

Have any of you been? I’d love to hear your stories in a comment below!