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Orvieto 2018

Orvieto is the hill town we had visited for two weeks in 2013. This time we spent 10 days in this lovely spot. We chose not to have a car for this time, thinking we might rent one by the day, if desired. As it turned out, we stayed in town all but one day, and that day we took the bus to Civita di Bagnoreggio and back.

Orvieto is on the main rail line, so it is easy to get to it, and from it to Florence, Rome, and elsewhere. The train station is at the bottom of the hill, so we would walk to the funiculare (a sort of cable car) and take it down to the train station.

Looking up at Orvieto from the train platform. The Funicular is across the street, behind the train station from this view.
The first day in Orvieto we were treated to a magnificent rainbow, viewed from our balcony.
Our apartment was on the (American) third floor (European second floor), so two flights of stairs up. The ceilings are very high in this old building, so there are a lot of stairs - 56 in all - to climb! It was exhausting carrying luggage up them, but worst of all was that Deb had to do the stairs on crutches! She was a good sport and did amazingly well.
The staircase to our apartment

The first day, Ruth and I took a walk around town, revisiting familiar parts of town and seeing some we hadn't visited before.

Looking to the South along the western wall of Orvieto. The road at bottom right is about 1/3 of the way down the hill from the town. The church near the end of the wall is Chiesa di San Giovenale.
Chiesa di San Giovenale, built in 1004, on the ruins of an ancient Etruscan temple.
Ruth in front of one of our favorite restaurants.
Orvieto in Bloom

It was Ovieto in Fiore (Orvieto in Bloom) while we were there. There are usually flower boxes and such, but there were far more than usual, due to the festival. There were other activities, as well - see below.

Orvieto's Duomo (Cathedral). Built in the late 13th century to replace the existing duomo, because Pope Urban IV lived in Orvieto, due to a civil war in Rome. The metal-topped, pointed structure in front of the center doors is a "cart." It is used in the Festa della Palombella (see below).

While we were walking through town, we came to the Duomo Square (Piazza Duomo), which was, surprisingly, barricaded off, and there were police entering the square. Soon exotic cars began to enter the square, coming up the narrow cobblestone streets. The cars were numbered and decorated as race cars. We had stumbled upon the Mille Miglia (1000 Miglia, or 1000 Miles).

The Mille Miglia was a road race conducted in Italy until the late 1950's. This was a resurrection of it, of sorts, with cars in different classes, touring from town to town, with parades and occasional time trials. Below are a few of the photos of the cars. More (OK, a lot more) can be found in a separate Spark page. You can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

How could we come to Orvieto, and not visit our favorite gelateria, La Musa?
The Corso Cavour is Orvieto's main street, running the length of town. The shops have become more touristy than we remembered, but it is still a charming walk.
The bakery was a short distance from our apartment. Here it is decorated for Orvieto in Fiore.
BeeLocal Food and Drunk. These three-wheeled vehicles, called Apes (ah-pays), are everywhere. Kenny really wants one. The top of this Ape tilts up to convert it to a food truck.
Deb & Kenny at Caffe Montanucci, where we enjoyed an light bit of food.

There are four quarters of the city of Orvieto, and part of the festival is competing in various ways. Here, churches use flower petals, leaves, etc. to create floral designs.

At the recommendation of Deb & Kenny, we took an underground tour beneath Chiesa San'tAndrea (located in the Piazza della Repubblica). Beneath the church are remains of ancient Etruscan roads, wells, and ruins, and the ruins of a 6th Century Christian church.

The Festa della Palombella takes place on Pentecost. A dove, representing the Holy Spirit, flies in a special container along a wire to the "cart" at the front of the Duomo.

The Dove, on its way.
... and arriving at the cart.
The Dove is brought down from the cart.
And we are shown that it is unharmed.
The Cardinal gives the dove to the most recently married couple in Orvieto.

Later in the day, the teams representing the four quarters of Orvieto compete in a crossbow tournament in Piazza del Poppolo. There are also dancers and flag demonstrations.

Orvieto is built on a hill of volcanic tufa rock. It is soft, so there are Etruscan caves under nearly every building in Orvieto. A restaurant not far from our apartment discovered a cave underneath when their floor began to collapse. After digging it out, a portion is used as a wine cellar for the restaurant, and the rest is available to be explored. The caves are really cisterns and connecting pipes, and have been reinforced with brick.

Every Thursday and Saturday morning Orvieto's market is held, with dozens of stalls like this one selling fresh cheeses and meats, bread, vegetables, fruit, clothing, and more.

Sunset in Orvieto

Not far from Orvieto is Civita di Bagnoreggio. We took the bus, then walked through town. From this point, you go down a set of stairs, then down the road to the bridge which goes back up to Civita di Bagnoreggio.

Piazza Principale, Civita di Bagnoreggio
Created By
Scott Thomas
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All photos copyright © 2018 Scott L Thomas.

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