Spoleto, Italy: A Relaxed Life Amid Ancient Splendor

My husband, Enzo, and I are living in Spoleto, Italy, in the center of Umbria—pretty much in the center of Italy. Each day, we awaken to bright sunshine and enjoy a relaxed breakfast in our garden of roses and herbs, overlooking the hills and terracotta rooftops. Then, as we go out for errands or a leisurely walk, we pinch each other at the ancient, cobbled streets we are walking on. In the evenings, we typically take a stroll around the La Rocca, a fortress that is now a museum. Then off to the piazza for people-watching and maybe a gelato.

Spoleto is a beautiful city of about 40,000 people. We live in the historic center, where the narrow cobblestone streets are lined with medieval walls over 800 years old. There is history at every turn and some of the most impressive and grand architecture. Exactly as you would picture an ancient city from the Etruscan era. It gives me chills to think about who has stepped on these very cobblestones, and lived in these ancient dwellings.

While Spoleto is not a large city, it has numerous stores, boutiques, supermarkets, and amenities. You may need to walk up and down quite a few hilly streets to shop, however. We are vegetarians and so don’t buy meat, but it seems quite affordable, and if you enjoy pork, this is your spiritual home! There is prosciutto available on every corner, in every ristorante, trattoria, and bar. The vegetables and produce are extremely affordable. Our weekly grocery bill is typically under $50, and we buy a lot of organic and unusual food items. A bottle of wine can be had from $2 and up, with a great bottle costing as much as $7.

Overall, I highly recommend Spoleto as a place to retire—it is a wonderful existence. Our apartment costs $480 per month, but you can purchase a beautiful home with some land for well under $200,000.

The weather is warm, sunny, and breezy almost every day. There were some hot days during the summer, in the lower 90s F, but mostly it stays in the mid to high 80s F with relatively low humidity. The evenings are cool and if you’re in the hilly area of the historic center, there is never any need for air conditioning. And as we are in Umbria, the green capital of Italy, it has gorgeous green hills in every direction with a variety of trees, flowers, and fragrant plants.

There is great hiking in all directions and we are a day-trip away from other quaint towns, such as Assisi or Todi. We are also only about 40 miles from the town of Perugia, which is famous for its chocolate.

Besides excellent weather, people, and geography, there is a certain relaxed atmosphere that we just could not find in the States. Lunch takes place between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., because everything is closed. Italians have to rest up after their three-hour morning of work at their slow and relaxed pace. If you are considering a move to Italy, come with patience.

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