After the success of last year’s trip to Cinque Terre (for hiking) and Sestriere (for skiing), it just made sense to return to Italy again in 2017. The skiing will take place in Madonna di Campiglio next week, but our travel adventures this year are beginning in the Umbrian hill town of Orvieto.
Like all of the hill towns in Umbria and Tuscany, Orvieto’s location was chosen because it was relatively easy to defend against invaders. The historic centre is situated about a thousand feet above the valley floor and, as we arrived by train, we had to take a funicular to get there.
Our first Umbrian meal was at the Trattoria Antico Bucchero. We were jetlagged and extremely hungry, so I do not have any pictures of the food. While we enjoyed our pastas, bruschetta and salad, dessert was probably the highlight. My wife had vin santo (a local fortified wine) and biscotti (to be dipped in the wine), while I had vin santo and pecorino e miele. It translates simply as “sheep’s cheese and honey” and it was just a few pieces of cheese, some hazelnuts and a small container of honey. However, the cheese was sharp and splendid…and it was even better with honey on top! The honey was clear and almost colourless, but it was the best I have ever tasted. It is no surprise that Italy is a stronghold of locally sourced food.
We’re going to be in Orvieto for three nights and there is an awful lot to see. We’ve bought Carta Unica combo-tickets that give us free admission to most of the top sights in town as well as transportation to and from the train station. With its narrow and winding ancient streets, it’s also fun just to wander here and completely forget that it is the 21st century.
Future posts will include details on some of these sights and our further culinary adventures. For now, I’ve included some introductory photos taken on the streets and from the top of the Torre del Moro, a medieval clock and bell tower rising 47 meters in the middle of the old town. We climbed all the way to the top and, as it is definitely not the high season for tourism here, were able to enjoy the view all by ourselves.