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Orvieto

In my search for Bernini (see About), I’ve begun in Orvieto, where I’m staying with friends. Orvieto is a beautiful Umbrian city on a hill. Actually, on a “tuff”—a name for the volcanic cliffs out of which the town rises above the countryside. It’s got a rich history, having been around since Etruscan times. The city flourished in the middle ages and is where Thomas Aquinas taught before moving to Rome to serve Pope Clement IV.

What it’s best recognized for today is the magnificent Duomo.

Orvieto Duomo

Orvieto Duomo

I’ll write more about the cathedral in a later post.

In my first week here, I strolled the streets of the town just to get a feel of Orvieto in Spring. The gente (people) walk out in the mornings and evenings, running errands or taking a passeggiata (walk about). What did I discover on my first “searching” outing? A lovely town, beginning to stir to life after a cold, dark winter. The tourists are arriving in greater and greater numbers, but there’s still a sleepy sense of quiet that this New Yorker is struggling embrace. I’m searching for Bernini, my passion, but what I’m finding in Orvieto is a sense of calm. Which, after my frenetic life in Manhattan, is probably a good thing. It’s a way to cleanse my creative palate as I begin my search….

A passeggiata:

Bienvenuti ad Orvieto!

Bienvenuti ad Orvieto!

The Corso Cavour is Orvieto’s main street, running East/West through the town. It’s where the cittadini (citizens) go to see and be seen.

Corso Cavour

Corso Cavour

It’s lined with shops and cafés, especially Umbrian specialties.

Orvieto salami and cheese shop

Orvieto salami and cheese shop

Biscuits and other goodies

Biscuits and other goodies

You might occasionally get the feeling you’re being watched…

Cinghiale: wild boar that is a Tuscan staple.

Cinghiale: wild boar that is a Tuscan staple.

Il gato del'Orvieto

Il  gatto del’Orvieto

But you can always duck into one of the many quiet alleyways.

Orvieto alley

Orvieto alley

Orvieto street

Orvieto street

Wandering to the west end of town, there’s a beautiful view over the tiled rooftops:

Orvieto rooftops

Orvieto rooftops

And the occasional hidden garden…

Garden at Palazzo Filippeschi built by the Simoncelli family

Garden at Palazzo Filippeschi built by the Simoncelli family

Returning toward my friends’ house (I’m staying with Linda Martinez and Steve Brenner, owners of the delightful Rome budget hotel, The Beehive), you pass through the Piazza della Reppublica and catch a glimpse of the 13th-century Torre del Moro, rising high above the town, and the bells of which peal out across the countryside each hour.

Torre del Moro

Torre del Moro

The Torre can be climbed for a magnificent view of the Umbrian countryside. And after scaling the 300 steps, a delicious reward awaits at the Trattoria del Moro-Aronne. I recommend the Umbricelli al Tartufo!

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