The moment I walked into my room at Quo Vadis and saw the view of the adorable medieval rooftops stacked together like ancient puzzle pieces framed by the green line of the distant Umbrian countryside, I was swept off my feet. I could hardly believe that this tastefully decorated room will be my cozy medieval home for the next 4 days.
When you are visiting a gorgeous medieval hilltop town like Assisi, you want to stay at a place imbued with medieval charm as well. And Quo Vadis is exactly this kind of place. It is one of the most charming Assisi B&Bs. And it won’t break your budget.
What’s in the name
Quo Vadis, as I later learned, is a Latin phrase meaning “Where are you going?” or, more poetically, “Whither goest thou?”, which is one of the most exciting questions you can ask any traveller.
It also refers to the book “Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero” published between 1895 and 96 and awarded the Noble Prize in 1905. And considering that Assisi stands on the foundation of the Roman city of Asisium, it makes for a perfect name and concept for an Assisi B&B.
Located in a historical palace, Quo Vadis is decorated with a mix of travel and writing themes. There is a vintage typewriter, cameras and antique books in the lobby.
The palace is quite large. The B&B portion takes over the ground floor. Although because the building stands on the side of the hill (like most buildings in Assisi), the view from the rooms facing the back of the building opens up to the rooftops of the street below. Upstairs, is Rachele and Giacomo’s home, and downstairs is the dining hall and the kitchen.
The room is anchored by a large bed, a long side table with a bar fridge below it and a tv screen above, and a corner table with a soft chair.
The bathroom is very modern in terms of appliances with a sleek shower and fabulous water pressure. Yet the view from the bathroom window always reminds you that you are in a medieval town.
It’s a charming combination of modern-day creature comforts and medieval ambience. And to top it all off, you’ll smell of cardamon, lemon, and bergamot after shampooing with the sumptuous aromatherapy shower products.
Combined with the most picturesque view, the room immediately makes you feel at home. In winter, the heating comes on automatically, so you are always toasty warm. And closing down the rustic window shutters on windy nights, when the air around you is filled with the smell of wood-burning fires, gives you a real sense of the medieval lifestyle.
Food & Drink
Breakfast is served in a delightfully medieval vaulted dining hall. Continental breakfast is included in the cost of the room and Rachele serves a spread of sweets, fruit, and juices.
However, I visited in winter and I wanted something a little bit more substantial. And for just a few extra euros I had fluffy scrambled eggs with bacon, toast, and a cappuccino. The food was superb.
For lunch, if you happen to be in the area, there is a popular pizza-by-the-slice shop – Pizzeria da Andrea virtually next door, on Piazza San Rufino. All of Andrea’s pizzas are superb, and anything with truffles will have you coming back for more. Truffles are an Umbrian specialty and you can’t leave Assisi without sampling some truffle dishes. Look for tartufo on the menu.
In terms of restaurants for dinner, some of the best choices nearby are Osteria Il Baccanale on Via del Comune Vecchio, Trattoria da Erminio on Via Montecavallo, Antica Trattoria Pallotta on Vicolo Della volta Pinta (Piazza del Comune), and Hostaria Terra Chiama on Via di San Rufino
And if you are looking for a cozy wine bar – Bibenda on Vicolo dei Nepisis just a short stroll away.
Quo Vadis is located on Via Santa Maria delle Rose, 50 or so meters from San Rufino square and cathedra – the perfect spot to start exploring Assisi. In fact, it is one of the best areas for discovering medieval (and Roman!) urban architecture in all of Assisi. Right at the start of the street, there is a section of a Roman road – the only such site in Assisi.
San Rufino Cathedral dominates the square in front of you. While Assisi is mainly known as the birthplace of Saint Francis, the town’s patron Saint is Rufino – an Anatolian preacher who brought Christianity to Roman Assisi and was martyred for it in the 3rd century AD.
The Cathedral hides a secret in its crypt – there is a church underneath the church and the remnants of a Roman forum and sanctuary. It’s called The Cathedral Underground Museum and only costs a couple of euros to visit.
In the opposite direction, just past Quo Vadis, there is a little lane – Vicolo della Forteza ducking downhill on your right. Follow this lane, then walk down vicolo S. Agata until you come to the meeting point of three different alleyways with a house standing at the convergence of these alleys, some of which run uphill and others downhill from this point. It’s the most charming and tangled-up arrangement of streets in town.
Next, walk through the arch onto vicolo del Cipresso. Here a very hardy cypress tree is growing among the walls and pavement of the street. It is amazing that the tree is able to survive and flourish, by the looks of it, in such a uniformly paved environment. Its roots must run very deep.
Going up the hill from via S.Maria delle Rose, you’ll find that Vicolo della Forteza re-emerges on your left heading uphill. There are more converging laneways uphill, and if you haven’t been to Rocca Maggiore yet, you can follow these laneways up the hill all the way to the fortress. It’s about a 10-15-minute waddle to the base of the fortress and you get lovely views of San Rufino and Santa Chiara basilica through the cypress trees that line the hill.
For all its charm and abundance of things to see and do, Assisi is quite a small town. San Francisco Basilica, Assisi’s most famous site is located at the opposite end of time, about 1km away. It’s a delightful stroll up and down medieval streets and laneways.
Getting to Quo Vadis
Whichever way you come to Assis, Quo Vadis is conveniently located. The main bus terminal at Piazza Matteotti is a short stroll away. One of the main car parks, signposted from the road is also at Piazza Matteotti.
And if you arrive by train, there is a shuttle that takes you from the train station to Piazza Matteotti. Or a taxi will bring you to Piazza San Rufino – a 2-minute walk to the Quo Vadis along a charming narrow street.
Quo Vadis feels and looks like a boutique hotel, yet it won’t break your budget. Rachele is a wonderful host who will make you a fabulous home-cooked breakfast in a vaulted medieval hall used as the dining room at Quo Vadis. And to top it all off, Quo Vadis is located right next to San Rufino Cathedral and behind the hotel, you’ll find some of the architecturally most interesting medieval alleyways in Assisi. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine staying anywhere else in Assisi.
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