Posts Tagged With: Orvieto

The Umbria Region of Italy

Umbria is a great region of Italy next to the more famous and crowded Tuscany. It is home to many great small cities worth a visit. Some of the cities we love are:

  1. Perugia
  2. Assisi
  3. Orvieto

Perugia is home to Italy’s famous Chocolate, Perugina. You can tour the factory outside of Perugia. Perugia itself has a wonderful historic center with some great hotels and restaurants.   If you are driving, the roads are very narrow and tight. Don’t try to bring a larger car into this area. There is great parking at the foot of the hill leading to the historical center. Escalators take you up the hill.

Assisi is home to Saint Francis. It is a wonderful hill town. The Saint Francis church there is a huge double church (one one top of the other) and the crypt houses his body. His original small church is inside a large church outside Assisi. Both are worth a visit.

Orvieto is a wonderful hill town with great views of the surrounding area. You can take good train service from Rome to Orvieto. Across the street from the train station is the Funicular that takes you up the hill to Orvieto. The cathedral here is massive and has frescos that tell bible stories. The food and wine here is wonderful.

Now walk these three cities with us in our YouTube video below:

– George

Categories: Assisi, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Funicular, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Orvieto, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Towns, Trains, Tuscany, Umbria, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Orvieto, Italy

Orvieto is a small city in Umbria Italy on top of a butte of volcanic tuff. It is a wonderful city to walk around. If you drive or take the train, you arrive below at ground level and must take a funicular up to the city. Once in the city you at an old fort that is worth investigating. There are small streets, wonderful restaurants and a marvelous Duomo (Cathedral).

We spent a day here. We arrived by train from Rome in the morning. We walked around the entire city. The shops were wonderful and had unique items to buy. Jo bought a purse from a woman who actually made it. We then had lunch and relaxed. We love taking in the Italian life all around us and talking with locals. After lunch we visited the huge Duomo. There are bible stories painted on the outside and throughout the inside if this unbelievable church.

After Duomo we walked more and saw the back edge of the city (opposite the funicular). From this edge, we could see down over the vast countryside below. This is a city to be enjoyed slowly.

Come walk with us around Orvieto in our YouTube video below.

Ciao,

– George

Categories: Church, Driving in Italy, Duomo, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Funicular, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Orvieto, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Shopping, Small Towns, Umbria, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Assisi, Italy

Assisi was the home town of Saint Francis of Assisi. He started his religious sect in a very small church outside of the city. Today that church still exists inside a Cathedral called Papal Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels.

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If you go to Assisi, a stop here is a must. Inside the town, at one end, is the Papal Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. This is two churches on top of each other and a crypt below them. In the crypt is the body of Saint Francis.

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As you walk the streets of Assisi, you see many touristy shops selling memorabilia of Saint Francis. It is a big business here. Assisi is also a typical Italian small city. It has lots of small narrow streets and stairs. Parking is in lots on the outside of the city. The lots are numbered so remember where you park.

Assisi is in Umbria near the Tuscan border. The popular cities of Orvieto, Perugia and Cortona (Under the Tuscan Sun) are not far away. A visit to this area of Tuscany or Umbria should include a stop at Assisi. You can walk the town and visit both Basilicas in several hours.

Watch the YouTube Video Above

– George

Categories: Assisi, Church, Cortona, Driving in Italy, Duomo, Europe, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Mountain Towns, Orvieto, Parking Garage, Perugia, Saint Francis, Small Towns, Tuscany, Umbria, Under the Tuscan Sun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Magnificent Views of Italy

It doesn’t matter where you are in Italy. There are views and eye-catching sights everywhere. You can be in a big city looking at a famous monument, on a small street, looking at a small city high up on a mountain, at the beach, climbing stairs or sitting at a small trattoria. Italy is all about its architecture. It has a personality all to itself. Here you stand on ancient roads, some dating pre-Roman. You feel and see its history. At the same time there is a modern culture all around you. iPhones, iPad and computers are everywhere. Most bars have free wi-fi service.

We come to Italy for the food, the people and these views. I love the feeling of being in an ancient place. Thinking about those ancient people and what they did, what they felt. Was their life that different from ours? These views can talk to you! Just listen and hear what they are saying. This is not a country to be rushed. Stop, relax and take in these views. Listen to them. Imaging yourself back in those times. Soon your modern problems give way to an appreciation of this great history.

My wish to all my readers is to be able to travel. experience another culture. Enjoy life more. There is so much to experience and learn. Pick a place you are passionate about and visit it. Put it on your bucket list. life is short but memories are forever.

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My passion is Italy, what is yours?

George

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Ascea, Beaches, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino Marina, Coliseum, Driving in Italy, Duomo, Europe, Florence, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italy, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Perugia, Planning a vacation, Ravello, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Siena, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Spanish Steps, Stairs, Traveling without a tour, Tulli, Tuscany, Umbria, Velina, Venice, Villa Brunella, WiFi | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Italy Loves Wine

One of my favorite things about Italy is their love of wine. Everyone drinks it. Even the children have a little. The entire country has an appreciation for good wine but you seldom see drunks. If you do see them, they are usually tourists. Red wine is their preferred drink but good whites show up as well. Places like Orvieto produce great white wines.

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Orvieto, Italy

Most countries serve wine by the bottle in restaurants. In Italy and Spain you can also get it by the liter or half liter in a glass or ceramic pitcher. These restaurants by local wine in bulk and can sell it to you cheaply because there is no bottle, cork, label or cap. The wine is excellent and can be dry, sweet, red or white.

We found a place in our town that sells wine in bulk. There are several huge wooden casks full of various kinds of wine. You can taste them and then choose. They will fill your vessel of choice such as an empty water bottle, a pitcher, a jar, etc. They charge by the liter and wine is about 2 euros per liter or about $2.20 for a bottle and a third of good wine.

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Wine Served in a Picture at a Local Restaurant

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We serve it at our home in Italy in a pitcher

The other way to taste different wines in Italy is to visit a local Enoteca. These are stores that sell wine and allow you to taste them as well. They exist all over Italy. Some serve small plates of food as well. Italians don’t like to drink without having water and food available. An Enoteca is a great way to taste the local wines around you. You can then decide what you like and buy some. The wines here are usually sold in bottles.

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Enoteca

However you drink wine in Italy, enjoy it! Sit outside at a bar or a trattoria and sip it slowly, Taste the complex flavors of Italy. Observe the people around you and enjoy it. This is experiencing Italy. You do not do it fast, you do not eat fast food, you do not rush from city to city or museum to museum, and you do not have an unchangeable schedule. In Italy you make time to slow down and enjoy your life. Dolce Far Niente! (The sweetness of do nothing). When you finally understand this simple phrase, you understand Italy and can enjoy it. Buon Viaggio.

George

 

Categories: Bars, Ceramics, Dolce far niente, Eating Italian, Europe, Fast Food, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Museums, Orvieto, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Should you spend 4 days or less in Rome?

Castel Sant' Angelo, Roma.

Castel Sant’ Angelo, Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In our humble opinion … NO! Rome is more than a city, more than a tourist destination, more than the sum of its parts. Rome is about the sights, the buildings, the ruins, the architecture, the people, the food and the wine. It is life. Italian life at its fullest. When you visit Rome take time to know it. Forget visiting 10 Italian cities in two weeks. Visit Rome for a week. You can take two side trips:

  1. Orvieto and

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  1. Pompeii.

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Walk the city, watch the people, eat the food (not at tourist places) and drink the wine. Watch as families break for a long lunch and walk together afterwards. Savor the smells of the food, the tastes. This is Rome. The Rome We love.

The monuments are important but they are not what makes Rome a wonderful city. It’s the people, the architecture, the small streets and the hustle bustle of a big city. Try not to go in July or August. It is too hot and crowded. August is European vacation time and everything is expensive and crowded. May or September are better summer months to enjoy Rome. We also went Christmas week and saw a new side of Rome. The lights, the festivities and the decorations. News Years Eve in Rome is spectacular. Millions of people in the streets with champagne.

Travel light, Don’t take tours and enjoy yourself. Become a Roman even if it’s for only a week. Walk to everything. In that way you will see more small streets and shops. If you get tired, stop for a drink and watch Rome go by you.

For lunch have a panini (sandwich) at a bar. For dinner have pasta (the best in the world) or pizza. You can also find wonderful meats and fish in Rome. Stopping for a gelato is one of our favorite treats. Rome is romantic, historic, full of life and unique. Enjoy it!

Yes you can see the main sights in 3 or 4 days but you will be rushed and tired. You also will miss Rome and the Romans. You have to have enough time to be relaxed and take your time. This is an Italian City. It is not to be rushed but enjoyed. Savor it!

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George & Jo Ann

Categories: Bars, Europe, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Orvieto, Pompeii, Romance, Rome, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Orvieto, A perfect city

English: Facade of Orvieto Cathedral.

English: Facade of Orvieto Cathedral. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of our favorite side trips from Rome is Orvieto. It is an easy train ride out of Rome.

Italy is famous for its hill-top towns. They were built high up to protect from invaders and pirates. Some cities have two parts, one at the sea as a port and the other high up on a hill-top. As invaders were coming, the town people went to the hill-top part to protect themselves. Orvieto is a hill-top town between Florence and Rome in the province of Umbria. It is easy to get to by car or train. The train and car parking is at the base of the mountain. There is a funicular that travels up the hill to the town above.

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The views are spectacular from any wall around the town. The town is made of small cobblestone streets with great shopping and dinning. If you can only do a day travel to Orvieto, take an early train and stay until after dinner. The Duomo (Cathedral) is amazing and incredibly large. It sits on a small piazza against one of the town walls. There is a small hotel and restaurant on the piazza as well. One has to marvel at how they built such a structure high up on a hill.

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The town only allows local residents cars to drive up the windy road to the top. You can see residence walking up and down this road during the day. We took the train from Rome to Orvieto and returned to Rome in same day. The trip through the mountains was enjoyable. This is a city worth seeing and exploring. You do NOT need a guide! Just enjoy the city. Look at the wonderful leather goods and ceramics. Eat lunch and dinner at a restaurant, Trattoria or cafe. In the morning stop at a bar for coffee and a pastry. Don’t forget the wonderful local white wine from Orvieto.

Orvieto has a main road that leads from the fort and funicular to the wall at the back of town. In the middle at the clocktower, turn left on a street that leads to the Duomo piazza. All along the main road are restaurants, bars and shopping. On the side road to Duomo is additional shops and restaurants. Off these main roads are smaller roads with even more shops and restaurants. Orvieto has great ceramics for sale.

Enjoy your trip!

Categories: Duomo, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italy, Mountain Towns, Orvieto, Rome, Small Towns, Traveling without a tour, Umbria | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What to see in Italy?

Italy has unending beauty and places to visit. Do your homework and pick places that have an interest to you. Rail Europe lists the top ten cities to visit in Italy in reverse order:

10. Ventimiglia

Many people hop between the neighboring border towns of Nice and Ventimiglia with a train ticket. A trip so close, and made even easier with a France-Italy Rail Pass. You’ll find both French and Italian regional lines service Ventimiglia. More than a train hub, Ventimiglia has a stunning, quintessentially Italian medieval city center. As it always has, its classic architecture stands guard on a hilltop over the Gulf of Genoa, but now with the new city between them. Make sure you visit Ventimiglia’s famous Friday Outdoor Market!

9. Bologna

Why not visit the oldest university in the world, the University of Bologna, founded in 1088? Naturally, there’s plenty to study: from medieval, renaissance and baroque monuments to modern-day industrial marvels like Ducati, headquartered there. More high-speed thrills? Travel by train from Bologna to Verona in just under an hour.

8. Verona

What do you call a city dramatic enough to be the setting of three Shakespearean plays, and interesting enough to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site? This is Verona. Along the Adige River, this picture-perfect city of cobblestone streets lined with medieval buildings, Roman sites and churches is second to none for inspiration. Known for its pink buildings and Juliet balcony (yes, one of those plays was Romeo and Juliet), a visit to this city will immerse you in the classic Italian experience. Want more inspiration? Venice is one of the perfect destinations for it. Verona to Venice is about an hour by train.

7. La Spezia

Located on the Gulf of La Spezia, this port city is a bustling mix of old and new. This scenic waterfront is perfect for arrival by train from Verona (via Milan) with a Eurail Italy Pass. Today, this modern-day port stands in stunning contrast to the spectacle of its antiquity and charm. So much charm that many poets have found inspiration here, from Byron to Shelley to DH Lawrence. It is, in fact, referred to as “the Gulf of Poets.” What will it inspire in you?

6. Turin

Baroque architecture with the Alps as the ultimate photo backdrop. Site of the 2006 winter games. And, of course, the Shroud of Turin. The amazing city of Turin is one of contrasts that include a café society of truffles, wine and other extravagances, and Turin Cathedral, home to the Shroud of Turin. (Please note that while The Museum of the Holy Shroud is open daily, the shroud is only displayed once every ten years.) Next stop? Milan. Aboard Frecciarossa trains, Turin to Milan is just about an hour’s journey.

5. Milan

High style all around. The Italian center of finance, industry and commerce, as well as a global capital of fashion, industrial design and architecture. Milan is also the home of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Don’t miss the spectacular Duomo, which took over 6 centuries to complete. (And don’t forget to get your Milano Card for easy transportation and discounts all over town.) Also, remember it’s just as easy to arrive from Paris to Milan by the high-speed TGV trains.

4. Naples

The birthplace of pizza has drawn many hungry visitors, including those hungry for culture: its historic center is the largest in Europe, covering over 4,000 acres and 27 centuries. It’s almost unreal how much this port city has to offer — including hydrofoils to the Isle of Capri and the Blue Grotto. Naples is a must-see for every history/arts/culinary/naval/political/cinema-buff. And so is Venice. Naples to Venice is about a 4 hours and 45 minutes journey by train.

3. Venice

Venice, the land of gondola-filled canals, ancient trades and water taxis. Enjoy a Grand Canal boat tour and views that have remained basically unchanged for centuries. See how Venetian glass and Venetian paper is made. Shop on the Rialto and along the waterways to roving (and rowing) tenors, as well as the occasional accordion. There is only one Venice, so how could it be #3?

2. Florence

Florence is Italian perfection: the Duomo, the Uffizi Museum Tour, crossing the Arno River on the Ponte Vecchio, the Pitti Palace… everything that makes Italy, Italy, is here in the appropriately titled “cradle of the Renaissance”– except you! You’re not here yet, and nothing makes it easier to get here than the train. On Italo trains, Venice to Florence is about a 2 hours trip, while Florence to Rome is an about 1 hour and 30 minutes of relaxing, stress-free enjoyment. Which is perfect since…

1. Rome

Well, the saying is “all roads lead to Rome”. Fortunately, so do the trains! Travel from Vienna, Innsbruck or Munich to Rome via direct overnight trains. All those “Roman ruins” around Europe, why not visit their birthplace? And where else can you see the Colosseum? Classical architecture buffs will enjoy researching the arch, the dome, and the vault—all developed here. Of course, a Vatican Sistine Chapel Tour is guaranteed to provide a most divine experience. This is it people. This is where the world changed. And when you visit, well, it can change your world too.

We also add:

  1. Capri
  2. Positano
  3. Paestum
  4. Cinque Terre (5 cities)
  5. Siena
  6. Assisi
  7. Perugia
  8. San Gimignano
  9. Matera
  10. Bari
  11. Agropoli (old city)
  12. Castellabate
  13. Amalfi
  14. Sorrento
  15. Orvieto
  16. Pompeii

There are so many interesting places in Italy to enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bari, Campania, Capri, Castellabate, Europe, Italy, Milan, Mountain Towns, Naples, Orvieto, Paestum, Perugia, Pompeii, Positano, Regions of Italy, Rome, San Gimignano, Siena, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Venice, Verona | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orvieto, Italy

Orvieto is a small mountain top town in Umbria. It is north of Rome and can be easily gotten to by car or train. The train station and free parking lot are at the base of the butte. The butte is of limestone and volcanic ash. It goes straight up on all sides and town sits on the top. It is flat and easy to walk. From the train station or parking lot take the funicular up the butte to the town. There is a bus that will shuttle you to the piazza with the duomo (cathedral). You can easily walk around this town.

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Funicular

There is a large fort at the top of the funicular. Inside you have great views down to the train station and countryside. Walking straight out of the funicular is Corso Cavour, follow this to the bell tower in the center of the city and make a left at Via del Duomo. The duomo is in a Piazza at the end of this road.

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                                          Bell tower                                      Duomo

The duomo is so large it is hard to believe it is in this small city. On Via del Duomo there are ceramic and leather shops with fantastic local products. Restaurants abound in this area. In Piazza Duomo there is a small trattoria. You can eat outside with great views of the duomo.

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Trattoria

Walk the narrow streets and enjoy this great city. If you go back to Corso Cavour and go left to the end, you are at the back side of the city with views of the countryside.

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Countryside Views

 This is a city worth a stop. If you have time spend a night here and get to know the local people. As you ride the funicular down you are a little sad that you are leaving Orvieto. There is a fantastic local white wine here called Orvieto and Orvieto Classico. What a romantic place!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Duomo, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Orvieto, Romance, Rome, Small Towns, Umbria | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Now What in Italy

OK we are well fed and have been exercising by walking, what do we do now? Your first visits to Italy should be to the big cities:

  1. Rome
  2. Venice
  3. Florence
  4. Naples

We also like Milan because it is such a fashion capital. If you have extra time on one of these trips head to nearby smaller towns. If you have already seen these major attractions, plan a trip to seaport and mountain town.

We visited Rome and had two extra days so we planned two trips outside of Rome. One to the north and one to the south:

  • Orvieto – A town atop of bluff. It is magnificent and can easily be walked from one end to the other. As you approach the duomo, you are shocked! Here a magnificent huge cathedral exists in a piazza. Your first view is from the small streets leading to the piazza. From Rome you take a train north to Orvieto. As you exit the train you cross the street and take a funicular up the bluff to the city. The streets and people here are wonderful. The restaurants are magnificent. If you are driving, you must park at the bottom and walk up or take the funicular. Only some resident cars are permitted up into the city.

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  • Pompeii – Take a train or drive south just past Naples to Pompeii. It lies in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii is an ancient Etruscan (then Roman) city destroyed when Vesuvius erupted violently. The city is amazing. Only the wooden roofs are gone. The stone buildings still stand. Huge wealthy homes with courtyards and inside baths. You wouldn’t mind living in these today. They had running water and sewers. The knowledge they had is mind-boggling.

We always look at where we plan to go and find small interesting towns nearby. Then we plan how far a drive it will be or if there is a good train service. Enjoy and explore Italy, it’s romantic!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Europe, General Travel, Italy, Orvieto, Pompeii, Rome, Trains | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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