Welcome to Umbria: Where Adventure awaits! – Paradiso Ceramics Australia | Handmade in Italy


Welcome to Umbria: Where Adventure awaits!

It was another beautiful day in Paradiso and we thought a drive in the country would be nice. After a pleasant breakfast, the six of us piled into the 7-seater Renault hire car and headed off to one of our favourite Umbrian towns, Orvieto.  

Orvieto from above

We offered to let friend John drive the one hour trip which he did very well.

We enjoyed a day of eating and discovery and started our return journey around 5pm. John again drove while the rest of us relaxed in the back.

All was fine until we reached the track to our house (best described as a dry creek bed).

Dirt track leading to Eremo Paradiso, our home in Umbria

John had not had the experience of driving up the steep dirt track to the house and we failed to advise him to keep his foot on the accelerator. About two thirds of the way up, he stalled. Our hire car had a strange manual handbrake so a handbrake start was not easy. The car insisted on slipping back down the track, closer to the edge and a steep drop.

When we scrambled out of the car, we were alarmed to see one rear tyre was in space.

We tried pushing the car away from the edge but the tyres had no traction on the dusty track. By now it was just on dusk. Now what? 

Marg and other friend John headed up the steep track on foot to see if they could get some neighbourly assistance. No one was home.

Marg trudges up the steep track beside Eremo Paradiso in Umbria

Marg then did a marathon run down the track to the main road. No one answered her knock on the first house or the second or the third. Success at the next house! The residents couldn’t speak English but somehow she made them understand that her auto had a molto problemo and she needed assistance. Father, son, daughter and Marg squeezed into their small car and headed back to the rescue.

It took some time to find the metal rod which had to be screwed into the bumper so we could attach a rope to the little car.  No good. His Punto couldn’t get traction either. The father made a hurried call on his mobile and a friend in a 4-wheel drive soon appeared. After failing to pull the car, he decided to turn his car around and try pulling in reverse. It worked!

After many grazie’s, hugs and back slapping, we gave them a bottle of wine each (conveniently bought on our way home from Orvieto). It was now about 8pm and dark.

That would have been enough excitement for one day but there was more.

We were surprised to find the front door of the house was open, a light was on in one bedroom and clothes strewn over the bed in another. Yes, we had been burgled. On further investigation we discovered an iPad had been stolen along with some jewellery, perfume, and a pyjama top. (We later noticed chicken had also been taken from the fridge!)  

What should we do? We called our new friends Birgitta and Piero. Birgitta kindly rang the Carabinieri (local police) in Assisi and they suggested we pay them a visit next morning. 

Piero and Birgitta were life savers when we were burgled

That night we eased the trauma by polishing off a couple of bottles of wine and feasting on cheese, bread and marinated white anchovies.

Our trepidation about the Carabinieri visit was unfounded as the chap had excellent English and was very helpful.  He also had the loudest voice I think I’ve ever heard! We duly filed a report. He said he thought the culprits may have been some gypsies seen roaming the area in a black Polo. Jan remembered a small dark car drove past the house the day before, then drive back again. 

Now we had to find someone to repair the door and improve security. Piero rang a guy who lived nearby, and he installed new bolts on the front door that afternoon. He returned the next week to add another lock.  

Front door of the Paradiso house

Despite the loss of property, we sensed God’s protection. There was no major damage to the house, no vandalism, all things taken were replaceable and we were all safe. Birgitta and Piero were so helpful, the policeman spoke English, and the door was repaired promptly by a lovely local chap.

We called the Australian owner of our house Marg Pont to let her know what had transpired and reassured her that we even enjoyed some aspects of the experience! 

1 comment

  • Read about your misadventure. Very scary about the car almost off the road! As if that was not enerving enough, to get a home intrusion and robbed is beyond one’s comfort zone! There is always a silver lining! You made new friends through this unfortunate saga! Thank God no one was physically hurt and you got home safe & sound! Start every day with a prayer! Blessings!

    Liew Cheng Chan

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