I Spy Trasimeno

I SPY TRASIMENO is a booklet I’ve compiled for families with small children visiting the area around Lake Trasimeno. It includes, Castiglione del Lago, Corciano, Passignano, SAN Feliciano, Isola Maggiore, Isola Polvese, Monte del Lago and SAN Savino.

It contains photographs of places and objects for children to find when visiting these different places and features my ‘Jumbles’ toys. The booklets are available from Tourist Information Offices and from Jumble House.

I Spy

I’m tired! I’m hot! I’m bored! I want an ice cream!

Sightseeing for children especially on hot summer days can be hard. If it’s hard on the kids then it’s also hard on the parents and it’s tempting just to spend the time on the beach or pleasure park.

But what if you want to sightsee? We tried lots of ways to keep our girls motivated even hiding coins in trees to encourage them to take a few more steps! But the most successful and the easiest solution was the old favourite ‘I Spy’ game.

Like most people we researched places before visiting so had a pretty good idea of what to see. Then a few pics from tourist magazines and we had a pocket of photos to use for ‘I Spy’.

Then, add a bit of competition, ‘I wonder who will spot this first,’ and suddenly a couple of tired, hot kids spring into action!

I put together objects and places around Lake Trasimeno that have interested our own children and made them into this little book which is available around Trasimeno and from Jumble House in Castel Rigone.

If you can’t find one then email me at: judibrereton@gmail.com

Its also available on my channel together with travel videos of the area for adults and children to watch.


The booklet takes children on a Treasure Trail around San Feliciano,Castel Rigone, Castiglione, Passignano, Isola Maggiore and Isola Polvese.

It contains photographs of places and objects for them to ‘spot’ and focuses on improving their observational skills and making  visits really fun.

I’ve used my toys, the ‘JUMBLES’  in the various locations and it is quite possible you will spot some of them on your way round!

Perugia and the Mini Metro with Georgie and Alfie. 

Perugia is famous for its amazing panoramic views, colourful history, its international universities, the many beautiful buildings and monuments and, of course, chocolate!  

But for visiting children the initial big attraction will probably be the mini metro! 

A ride on this mono rail is an experience not to be missed by anyone but especially if you are traveling with kids. 

The mini metro runs between the parking areas and the Fontivegge train station to the Centro Storico or the centre of the old town. Tickets are just a couple of euros. Keep your entrance ticket as you need it to exit at the other end on the station. The trams run every few minutes. The most popular and largest parking spot is at the stadium and the mini metro is well sign posted. But you can choose to take an ordinary train from your nearest station and then hop onto the mini metro at Fontivegge. 

I never take the car into Perugia. I can’t see the point. Parking is difficult and the streets are congested and you really do need to know exactly where you are going! Why get stressed out when it’s so easy to hop on to a train. 

In under thirty minutes from the stations around the lake (Passignano, Castiglione, Magione ) you arrive at the outskirts of the city from where you can take a thrilling short journey on the mini metro followed by a series of escalators through the foundations of the old  medieval fortress (La Rocca Paolis) up into the centre.  

My advice would also be to take the kids down the escalators as well as up,because it is something that they will probably not experience anywhere else and great fun! 

“La Rocca Paolis is the underground remains of an old fortress built by papal decree in the mid 1500s.

It offers an alternative route into Perugia is via escalators that takes you from parking at the city’s base, up through the foundations of this medieval fortress. During the Christmas season, this underground area is transformed into an arts-and-crafts market with music and entertainers. The kids will love it! 

Click on this link to watch the video: 

      An afternoon with Georgie and Alfie in Perugia

The video below gives a snapshot of the journey and a quick look at Perugia through the eyes of a child. It is only a snapshot! There is so much to see and do in Perugia! The museums, the art galleries, the shops, the Saturday market and last but certainly not least the amazing walk around the city walls. The views will astound you! 

If you happen to be here now then you should also visit the Chocolate Festival! 

Eurochocolate Festival 2016, at its 23rd edition, is from 14 until 23 October 2016.

Eurochocolate is the International Chocolate Exhibition. The largest of all the chocolate festivals in Europe. The event allows individuals to discover the different flavors of chocolate from cultures around the world.

For ten days every October about one million visitors will visit this event. The festival offers experimental tasting, cooking classes, performances, sculpting and art displays. 

The main attractions are: the Chocolate Show, Eurochocolate World and the incredible life size Chocolate Sculptures. 
A Chococard can be bought at the festival offering guests discounts, contests, prizes and free tastings. 

Apologies. ..if there are any mistakes on this post!  For some reason the WordPress app went crazy and it’s taken me absolutely ages to write and rewrite. Too exhausted to check any more ! Just want to publish before I lose the whole lot again! 

Assisi for kids 

Let’s face it, Assisi attracts so many tourists because it IS so magnificent and there are so many incredible monuments, works of art, views and attractions that you would be plain stupid not to experience them!
Even though I long ago ceased being a ‘tourist’ here and Assisi has become just another place to meet friends or shop or go out for a meal, I nearly always walk to the Basilica della San Francesco because it continues to fill me with awe and wonder and I still marvel at the amazing architecture and murals.
Assisi is the most magical of towns and one which needs to be lingered over. To be explored. To be experienced in the cool of the morning before the crowds and in the evening when a magnificent sunset bathes the basilica in a golden light. To wander through its mellow streets late on a summer evening with soft music and delicious aromas permeating from hidden trattorias. I would even suggest that one simply wanders on a first visit to capture the atmosphere before engaging in any serious sight-seeing.

But what about the kids???

I first visited the city as an eighteen year old so not exactly a kid! Although, since it was my first trip outside the UK I certainly felt like one! 

In stark contrast our eldest daughter was just five!  Although she has now lived and worked in four countries and visited so many others that I’ve lost count, Assisi is the first  place she insists on visiting everytime she sets foot in Italy!  

So, yes!  Assisi can be a magical place for children too but I think it does depend on how one approaches the visit.  

If you arrive around lunch on a stinking hot day and trail the kids around crowded streets and through every church then definitely NO !  They will not think that Assisi is magical. Just the opposite! 

Assisi is the hottest place on earth in the summer with sunlight reflecting off every facet of its pinky white buildings. It is also blessed with lots of steps and hills!  I have to admit that our daughter number two did once (aged 4) sit down  at the bottom of some steps and refuse to go up!  We learnt our lesson! 
So. What do you do if you can really only spare one day and it’s during the summer school holidays and HOT? 

First prepare the kids. Read them stories about St Francis and Santa Chiara and make them aware of the earthquake. People who say they don’t want their kids to learn anything about religion, are, in my opinion extremely shortsighted!  Let’s  face it without religion  there wouldn’t be any culture and very little art or beautiful buildings! Take away religion and places like Assisi wouldn’t exist! Granted religious battles wouldn’t have happened but  wars and terrorism would still have occurred because unfortunately that is human nature not faith!  St.Francis is everywhere in Umbria and you will miss so much if you don’t know a little of the background. 

Get up early. Pack a picnic. Get out early. Arrive in Assisi by ten. Stop on the way to marvel as the breathtaking apparition as this city appears on the horizon.  Park on the outskirts of the town and wander around the magnificent church of Saint Maria and the Angels. It has a tiny church inside the larger church which looks no bigger than a dolls house and is sure to captivate the  hearts of children.  They will also enjoy deciding if the doves on the huge statue of Saint Francis in the Rise Garden are real. You may have to wait a while to catch one of them blinking! 

Enjoy a coffee in one of the local bars and then drive right up to the Rocca Maggiore and enjoy your picnic before exploring the ruins.  The walk up to the Rocca is beautiful in the spring and autumn. In the summer it will finish you off! 

The afternoon can be spent quietly reading and taking photographs or playing games. The Rocca is a great place for hide and seek with its stone towers and ramparts and a spooky dark tunnel!  There’s also a lovely grassy courtyard which is great for letting off steam.

When it approaches 4 O’clock drive down and park. Then you can wander up into the main town and have a quick wander around the church of  Santa Chiara. There is a Carousel outside the church which the children can enjoy after the visit. On the way to the Basilica della San Francesco you will pass an enchanting toy shop with lots of wooden toys, Pinocchio being the main attraction.  A good break between churches and the toys are very unusual and very beautiful.  

Franchi. The address is Via Portica 15/A

Another ship they will enjoy is the Laboratorio Artistico Alice. This shop is full of hand painted items. Gifts and T shirts and all sorts. An Aladdin’  Cave! 

Address: Piazza Chiesa Nuova 
The next stop is the Basilica della San Francesco which is out of this world. It is also wonderfully cool. The crypt is a ‘must’. Even the youngest will be totally in awe of the glittering decorations and atmosphere. 

The evenings in Assisi are beautiful so enjoy an early meal. We like the little ristorante near the fountain. After dining you  can  wander around the  backstreets  basking in the golden light that bathes the town after dark. 

Some tips.

Ice cream. Children love ice cream. There are a couple of very elaborate and beautiful ice cream parlours but  my advice is to go to one of the small bars where you will pay less and be served with a smile! 

The same goes for drinks and snacks. 

Cakes!  Giant meringues and brightly coloured and nutted slabs of cakes tempt you from many windows!  Just be aware that you pay by weight and that can be staggering! 

Local produce. There are many shops selling local foods. It’s always a good idea to pay a visit to a supermarket before buying from this type of shop. Then you can distinguish between the real local produce and the overpriced items you can pick up at half the price in an alimentare.  Packets of Torta al Testo being a common one! 

The Largest Pan in the World! 

Yes!  It is a real frying pan and it is used just once every year for the FESTA DELLA PADELLA in Passignano sul Trasimeno. 

Festa della Padella. (The feast of the Pan) this year is from the 24th to the 28th of August. 

This, the largest frying pan in the world can fry 2 tons of fish an hour! 

Eighteen burners powered by 6 gas cylinders heat 5.8 tons of oil.  

At this festa you can enjoy a great menu of fish from Lake Trasimeno plus music and a lively street market. There are also concerts on both nights from 22.00.

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This is the scene during the day with hundreds of tables set out along the the perimeter of the lake. 

The feasting however only starts as dusk approaches and continues in candlelight when the scene becomes magical. 

On the menu is a wide variety of fish some of which is cooked in the pan. 

Georgie visits Passignano.

Passignano with Georgie Jumble
Yesterday  Georgie spent the morning in Passignano, a town on the shores of Lake Trasimeno.

A couple of years ago it was voted ‘The best place to live in Italy’ because it has everything you need for a convenient easy life in a beautiful location. Great transport links, supermarkets, bars, restaurants, a beach, wonderful walks, ferries to Isola Maggiore, etc etc. Yet it is a quiet, ‘real living’ town. Uncommercialised and unspoilt by tourism.

It is the nearest town to Castel Rigone. A short (ten minutes),  but breathtakingly beautiful drive down the hillside.

Yesterday Georgie spent the morning there and then returned to watch the sunset.

Take a look at the video above to see what she did.


Georgie visits Assisi


Georgie really wanted to visit Assisi.

It's very near to Castel Rigone and her cousins were always visiting and sending her lots of photos. They said it was one of the most beautiful and magical places in Umbria.

Georgie enjoyed the drive to Assisi very much. The roads were very quiet and weaved in and out between fields and olive groves. At first the town was just a speck of white on the hillside and then, as they drew nearer Georgie couid see the pale pinky white stone houses and the magnificent Basilica of St. Francis.

It was beautiful! Magical!

They stopped first at the base of the hill to visit he magnificent church of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

Georgie had never seen such a huge church!

She had to walk right to the back of the car park to take a photograph and nearly fell over looking up. It was so high !

The church was beautiful. Georgie really liked the rose garden and the tiny church inside the main church which looked like a dolls house but her favourite was the statue of Saint Francis holding a dove. She got quite a fright when the dove blinked at her. It was real!

On leaving Santa Maria degli Angeli they drove up the hill to the main town of Assisi and walked past the Church of Santa Chiara.

'I'm sure I've seen this somewhere before, ' said Georgie.

'Yes, you have,' said her cousins. 'It's painted on one of the walls of our house!

….. and so it was!


It's not very often you meet an angel but Georgie met one in Assisi! .


Next they visited the Basilica of Saint Francis which is actually two churches one on top of the other. Both are magnificent but the huge vaulted ceilings of the lower church left Georgie speechless. Every centimetre was covered with paintings.

Their day in Assisi concluded with a walk to the largest of the towns two fortresses, the Rocca Maggiore.

The views from the top were amazing and Georgie had a great time in the gardens.

It was getting too late to go into the museum and walk along the walls of the Rocca but Georgie really hoped they could return and do this on another day. It looked like fun.


The day had been wonderful but one day in Assisi is just not enough! There are so many more things to. So many more places to visit.

For more information visit: http://www.loveumbria.co.uk