Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Two of Italy's Hill Cities

On Monday, Paul and I finally started using trains to get around, and it was awesome!  Trains are clearly the best way to travel in Europe.  We arrived in Orvieto, checked in to our hotel, and then took a funicular up to the old town.  The major attraction in Orvieto is the Duomo:
Like so many churches, as we are discovering, you are not allowed to take photos of the inside.  Rest assured that it is incredibly impressive.  Like the Temple of Olympian Zeus, this church took a long time to build - construction began in 1290, and it wasn't finished until the early 1600s.  Paul and I found the organ, dating from the 16th century, very neat.  The choir stalls were composed entirely of wood, much of which was inlaid with beautiful and intricate designs.   Paul also liked the wood ceiling and wondered if it was actually original.  Overall, this cathedral is massive, which you can hopefully tell from this side view:
After exploring the Duomo, we wandered around for a while until we located a lovely walkway along the edge of town with a great view:
We found a bench in a sunny spot and read for a few hours.

On Tuesday, we took a day trip to Civita di Bagnoregio (that's Civita in the background):
We crossed a crazy steep bridge to get there (testing my fear of heights again - another successful adventure!):
We explored every nook and cranny of the town in under an hour (and I do mean every nook and cranny - we went down every side street we could).  There were great views and cute streets around every corner:
We were also amused by some high school-aged kids on a scavenger hunt.  We wondered if some innovative gym teacher dropped them off at the bottom of the hill and said "you have 50 minutes to complete this scavenger hunt, GO!"  They had clearly run up the walkway to Civita, and we watched them run all over to find the flags.  

It was chilly, overcast, and occasionally rainy so we enjoyed a delicious and relaxing meal along with two cups of hot tea.  The artichoke lasagna was amazing, and we are determined to figure out how to make it ourselves when we get back.  I have an ongoing list of all the foods I want to add to our repertoire that is growing quite quickly. 

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