Perfect Picnic Places: Fonte di Monte Lauro (Bettona)
Here’s whatcha wanna do, whatcha wanna do is this:
The last time I took a walk around Bettona, I noticed some antique photos hanging in the main piazza’s bar. Local citizens dressed in 1920s regalia were snapped posing around a little brook, and the picture was inscribed with the name Fonte di Monte Lauro. When I asked the proprietor of the bar if the spring was still around so I could go take a look, he shook his head and told me it wasn’t worth my time as the place had been abandoned for years. Then he proceeded to shaft me for a cappuccino. So I went looking for the spring anyway. And–lo and behold–I found an absolutely charming little picnic place. Moral of the story: any barista who will shaft you for a cappuccino is not to be trusted.
Whom you can trust, however, is Donatella from Bottega del Gusto on Via Vittorio Emanuele, 1 in Bettona, whose gourmet shop is stocked with all you’ll need to throw together an impromptu picnic. Have her slice up some top quality local cheeses, prosciutto, or salame for a tasty sandwich on fresh torta al testo (Umbrian flat bread), which she can warm up for you. She also has truffle paté, which can be spread on bread, a variety of the best Umbrian wines, biscotti, fresh jam crostate and artisan chocolate. You’ll be tempted to stop and lunch at one of the tiny bistrot tables in their charming shop, but press on!
Once you’ve chosen all your picnic makings, head to Bettona (about a 15 minute drive). You need to climb all the way up the hill to the ring road that encircles the historic center of town. Follow that ring road around the city walls until you see the yellow sign indicating a right turn downhill with Acqua Minerale Monte Lauro written on it.
Follow those signs for about a kilometer until the road ends in front of a utility shed.
Leave your car here and walk just a few meters down the path until you get to the brook with a footbridge which leads you to a stone pavilion and picnic table on the opposite side.
The cool woods and sound of the bubbling spring-fed brook are a wonderful backdrop for a relaxing picnic. There are a few paths that wind their way into the woods beyond the picnic area, which I didn’t have time to explore. Perhaps you will, once you’ve digested your Umbrian goodies!