Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Photos from 14...

Today we find ourselves reminiscing with photos from Orvieto in Umbria...a rainy day near the end of our trip to Italy. Stay from Rome are coming up soon. Promise. :)

Awoke to the sound of birds...happy birds. Birds feeding or nesting or courting or whatever birds do as the sun rises. Certainly our most peaceful wake up call. The scents of honeysuckle, lavendar, and roses mingled in the air.

A light, fruity breakfast in the hotel Enotecca--their event wine bar. Local preserves. Fresh strawberries and cherries. Three flakey fruit tarts. Yogurt. And cappuccini...oh yes!

Swung into Orvieto to buy tomorrow's train tickets to Rome and to locate the Avis drop-off. Success.

A short but scenic drive to postcard perfect Civita di Bagnoregio...but first a stop in sleepy Lubriano who's claim to fame seems to be the perfect overlook of Civita. It began to rain steadily. Drove to the larger town of Bagnoregio with its own to-see's, but for us just the entry point to Civita. Unfortunately, the rain picked up, and we were without rain gear. So, another picturesque vista of Civita...perched high atop its mound of tufa...the town's single connection to the world a narrow foot bridge.

Returned to the Locanda for rain garb for the afternoon.

Into central Orvieto for a couple of underground sights. First stop, a recently re-discovered network of Etruscan wells, tunnels, garbage pits carved into the tufa dating 25 centuries ago. These ancient sites were intermixed with more recent modifications by the Romans and again in the Middle Ages.

Grabbed lunch at a creative (looking) place we had passed yesterday. Unfortunately, only the decor made us chuckle...the food was mediocre and the service was horriffic. Maybe the pan-flute CD playing covers of Guns and Roses and Celine Dion should have warned us. Rain blew through and left behind high humidity...ugh.

Walked across Orvieto for our next stop...the engineering marvel that is Pozzo di San Patrizio...aka, St. Patrick's Well. Built at the orders of a Pope to ensure a sustainable water source in case of the town being beseiged, this 16th-century well is notable for its double-helix stairwells, decending 496 steps to the bottom with a half-turn separated route back up. Nice and cool below. Shopped for some of Orvieto's famous ceramics. A breeze picked up and lowered the humidity.

With the rain gone, decided to take the short drive back to tempting Civita. Much better vistas :) This time, we were able to walk the long foot bridge into Civita, up the steep approach, and through the old Etruscan tufa gate. The town is tiny and desolate...but the Medieval buildings are worth the trip.

It was getting late as we left Civita so we rushed back to Orvieto to try and grab dinner. Long story short...we left thwarted...Italy does not make eating lite and quickly simple. So we returned to the hotel to sample a local wine in our room minibar...only to find that there was no cork screw. Want a beer or Coke? No bottle opener. And no way to contact the innkeeper, because we are the only two people in the hotel. It wasn't meant to be.

We can see lightening on the horizon from our bed. There is a cool breeze and the humidity is low.


JamesF said...

Love the well pictures. And Civita looks really cool. Do people live in the city itself?

BullBunky said...

Thanks James. Yes. There are a tiny number of remaing residents--I read 14 (!!). The rest of the town has been bought up by rich Italians for vacation homes or for tourists.