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Posts tagged ‘Orvieto’

Thursday Doors: May 19th, 2016

A Stroll Through Orvieto, Italy

A Stroll Through Orvieto, Italy

The Doors of Orvieto, Italy

The Doors of Orvieto, Italy

The Doors of Orvieto, Italy

The Doors of Orvieto, Italy

Orvieto, Italy is a dream come true.  From the train it is hardly noticed as one flies by from Rome to Florence. But getting off the train at Orvieto is well worth it. The location of the city rises above the almost-vertical faces of tuff cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built of the same stone called Tufa. Renting one of the nicest apartments we’ve ever had in Europe we arrived during their biggest festival of the year, Festa del Corpus Domini. Our hostess thought that was the reason we were there. We didn’t know anything about it, and thought how fortunate we were to be there for the festival. This Etruscan town is also noted for it’s woodworking and many doors feature their hand made pieces of art.  One thing you will never forget is the fragrance of jasmine from the vines that sweep across the door entrances or along many of the walls!  Enjoy!

The Swags of Jasmine Over the Doors in Orvieto, Italy

The Swags of Jasmine Over the Doors in Orvieto, Italy

The Main Shopping Area in Orvieto, Italy

The Main Shopping Area in Orvieto, Italy

The Main Shopping Area in Orvieto, Italy

The Main Shopping Area in Orvieto, Italy

Streets of Orvieto, Italy

Streets of Orvieto, Italy

I made a video presenting some of the doors of Orvieto and the spectacular surroundings

The Streets of Orvieto, Italy

There is also an underground city underneath Orvieto. Many of the homes of the noble families had a means of escape from the elevated city during times of siege, through secret escape tunnels carved in the soft rock. There was also an underground well dug to supply the town with water.

Underground Orvieto, Italy

Underground Orvieto, Italy

The Duomo or Cathedral of Orvieto, was built on the main square of the town starting in the 12th century for Pope Hadrian IV. It is huge! The side walls are made of horizontal stripes of dark green and white marble! How about that for a door? Look at the size of the people in comparison!

The Duomo in Orvieto, Italy

The Duomo in Orvieto, Italy

Here is the part of town where the people live!

Streets of Orvieto, italy

Streets of Orvieto, Italy

Streets of Orvieto, Italy

Streets of Orvieto, Italy

Visiting Orvieto is a good way to experience Italy without all the bustle. There are several museums tracing the history of the town, fine eating, shops with well made, hand-made goods, and lovely people! Orvieto is a great place to stop! To find out more about Orvieto check out my other blog posts and videos featuring the Festa del Corpus Domini and things to do in Orvieto!

I hope you enjoyed our walk through Orvieto! This is just one of many photos in the Thursday Door Collection featured by Norm2.0!   Won’t you join in or take a peak at all the doors? See you next week!

 

 

 

 

Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola; Canary

Corpus Domini Festival, Orvieto, Italy

Corpus Domini Festival, Orvieto, Italy

Here is a ceremonial guard from the Corpus Domini Festival in Orvieto, Italy. See more about the festival Here! The Canary colored balloons added to the festivities!

This post is just one of many in the Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola Challenge! Enjoy!

Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola; Bittersweet

Manarola, Cinque Terre, Ital

Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy

 

Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre, Italy

Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre, Italy

 

Corpus Domini Festival, Orvieto, Italy

Corpus Domini Festival, Orvieto, Italy

 

Bittersweet Vine

Bittersweet Vine

 

Bittersweet

Bittersweet

The Bittersweet color was added to the Crayola line-up in 1958. I was surprised to learn that the name was not used in the English language as a color until 1892.

We used to scour the hedgerows in the fall looking for bittersweet to make a lovely fall wreath. It brings back wonderful memories of Autumn in the Midwest! I love this color!

This post is just one of many in the Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola Challenge! Enjoy!

Photography 101: Day 20, Triumph

This is the last day of the Photography 101 Challenge. It has been fun and I have learned a lot! Today’s theme is Triumph, to create a dramatic effect of some sort by using contrast. Here is my last entry!  These are pictures I took in Orvieto, Italy, a city of contrasts, from the cobbled lanes, the abundance of beautiful woodcuttings, to the underground city!  Enjoy!

The Streets of Orvieto, Italy

The Streets of Orvieto, Italy

Underground Tuscan City, Orvieto, Italy

Underground Tuscan City, Orvieto, Italy

Woodcuttings on Walls, Orvieto, Italy

Woodcuttings on Walls, Orvieto, Italy

 

Orvieto; Overground and Underground

Cinghiale (Wild Boar)

Cinghiale (Wild Boar)

SB is shaving in the bathroom. He hears footsteps behind the door. Someone is calling. The door to the bathroom flies open and a young woman is standing there in her bathrobe speaking “mile a minute Italian” and calling for me.  SB calls me too. I quickly jump into some clothes and go up the back stairway of the apartment to see what the commotion is all about.  It is Francesca.  She wants to greet me to Italy and her home. She is an animated woman with laughing eyes.  Suddenly she realizes we speak English so she speaks in English, but when she does not know a word in English she switches mid sentence to Italian, or just mixes the two together.  It could be a new language. It is one I understand. She is instantly likable and not concerned at all that she is in her bathrobe, uncombed snatches of hair going every which way, and SB is in his underwear with shaving cream on his face. She is so sorry she could not meet us yesterday, but hoped we saw the festival.  She asks us about our dinner plans for the day and what we would like to see. She wants to know if the apartment “is good.” She wants to know if we have enough to eat for breakfast.  She wants to know if she can get us anything.  Then she is off as quickly as she came. She is like a tornado.  She quickly comes and quickly goes. I look up after her as she retreats up a steep stairway that bridges the buildings together.  Between her building and our building is the wood-working workshop below. I realize the stairway is the indoor shortcut.  As we leave for the day, a truck has pulled up to the front of our building and the men are unloading wood planks. We peek in the expanded open doorway hearing the buzzing of saws and smelling the fragrance of newly cut wood.  It is a large work area filled with tables, hutches and sawdust. We are off to explore the ramparts of Orvieto. We walk along the inner edges of the massive wall and the narrow streets of new neighborhoods we have not explored yet.

The Walls of Orvieto

The Walls of Orvieto

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The Ring Around Road

The Ring Around Road

SB loves going below ground or climbing a bazillion stairs to view something. Our next stop is the Well of the Cave, an underground network of Etruscan era caves, wells and tunnels that were discovered in 1984 when a family was renovating their trattoria. We walk into a modern room roped off as if we are entering a movie theater.  An elderly man takes the money and points for SB to follow the roped edge along the wall of pictures of excavation into another room leading to the underground level.DSCN0951

Underground

Underground

Deep Underground

Deep Underground

As SB explores the caves I check out a small church across the way.  Our next stop leads us to the other side of Orvieto, through a small park where the town cats lazily lie in the sun and down a rough gravel path to meet up with a guide and other tourists to delve deeper underground into the caves of Orvieto.  I go inside the first cave, but decide I will go no further.  The cave path is very narrow and very dark and very down hill.

A Hard Place to Get To

A Hard Place to Get To

Deep and Dark

Deep and Dark

DSCN1031An Australian woman and I decide we would rather sit outside at a picnic table overlooking the Umbrian countryside while the others go on.  SB later tells me I made the right choice since in some spots of the cave the narrow openings were barely slits in the rock to squeeeeeeze through and the ground steep and tough going with boulder steps.  I had an enlightening chat about Australia with my new friend.

The Museum Palace

The Museum Palace

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The Ceiling

The Ceiling

Our last stop of the day was the Etruscan Museum, a former palace across the street from the Cathedral. The hand painted scenes on the walls and ceiling are breathtaking.  Crystal chandeliers shimmer glitters of light over the pale blue-sky color that dominates the rooms.  The ground level of the museum boasts fragments of Roman and Etruscan sculpture while Etruscan jewelry and Roman coins are featured on the first floor.

Pinocchio Again!

Pinocchio Again!

Trattoria Palomba

Trattoria Palomba

We finished up the day with a fine meal at Trattoria Palomba, a stone building, alley way eatery with a waiting line to get in every evening.  A family member seated us at a square table along the wall, covered with a red checkered cloth, and pointed to the daily special menu on the blackboard. It was just like in the movies!

Festa del Corpus Domini, May 2013

The Festa del Corpus Domini

The Festa del Corpus Domini

Following the Sound of Drums

Following the Sound of Drums

We are walking quickly, in the direction of the drum beats, following everyone else. Families, children, the young and old all seem to be on a mission; follow the sound of the drums. The late afternoon breeze is filled with the scent of honeysuckle. Mass growth of the plant sweeps the doorways, covers the walls.  You can smell it before you see it.  When I come upon the blooms they are dripping with buzzing bees. There are large nosegays of flowers tied outside the shops and houses on walls and doors; their streamers gently swaying as if they too are in the procession.

The Flowers of Orvieto

The Flowers of Orvieto

DSCN0678Hanging from the rooftop windows are giant flags representing guilds or neighborhoods. Old women, arm in arm,  softly chatter as they slowly make their way up the hill. We feel the festive atmosphere as we make our way to a street corner where a police officer stops us.  We move to the front, in a narrow gap, as SB gets our camera ready.  Between the edges of the towering buildings the narrow street is completely filled with spectators.  The drums are coming!

We are witnessing the festival of the feast of Corpus Christi. It is by happenstance that we picked this week and month to be in Orvieto. I knew nothing of Festa del Corpus Domini before we arrived, but I am so glad we were able to be part of the celebration.

In 1263, a German priest, Peter of Prague, stopped in Bolsena while on a pilgrimage to Rome.  He was described as a pious priest, but one not quite believing that Christ was actually present in the consecrated host, as Catholics believe.  While celebrating Mass he had barely spoken the words of Consecration when blood started seeping from the host and trickled over his hands onto the altar and the corporal (the napkin looking thingy)  The priest was shocked and at first attempted to hide the blood, but when it did not stop, he interrupted the Mass and went to the neighboring town of Orvieto, where Pope Urban IV was.  The Pope immediately sent emissaries for an investigation.  Pope Urban ordered the Host and linen cloth be brought to Orvieto bearing the stains of blood. Among the archbishops, cardinals and other church dignitaries in attendance, the Pope met the procession and with great pomp, the relics were placed in the Cathedral of Orvieto. The linen corporal bearing the spots of blood is still reverently enshrined and exhibited in the church.  Once a year this scene is re-enacted when hundreds of people from Orvieto and neighboring towns gather in the streets of Orvieto. People are dressed as peasants, soldiers, crusaders, farmers and land owners. There is representation from the guilds, police, firehouses, nurses, missionaries, nuns, civic groups and women’s groups.  The dignitaries follow the priests and cardinals as the relics are carried through the streets to the beat of drums. After the last person of the parade passes, the crowds fill in behind and make the walk to the cathedral where there is more pomp and circumstance before the huge tapestries and relics are carried back into the cathedral for another year.  The parade goes on for over two hours with the celebrants walking over four miles through the narrow lanes of winding Orvieto. The drums echo through the streets and the music and singing from the Cathedral are played over loud speakers throughout the town. At the end of the parade the Mass is also heard over the loud speakers for those not able to get inside the huge cathedral.  This entire scene is repeated the next day as well.  It must take months of planning. I would love to know how many people work on all those costumes. They are so intricate, authentic looking and detailed. Where do you find that many cross-bows, jousting poles and swords? How many bouquets of flowers are made to decorate the streets? How many baskets of bread and grain are carried to the church? It is truly a festival for everyone and one I will remember forever. SB caught on video over four hours of the festivities.  That is a long time to hold a camera up and stay steady as well.  I want to thank him for that. I produced a clip of eight minutes highlighting the event.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

The Girls

The Girls

The Crowds at the Cathedral

The Crowds at the Cathedral

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The Cathedral in Quiet

The Cathedral in Quiet

As we followed the crowds to the cathedral we took a break and ducked into a smaller church along the route.  The entire center aisle of the church was covered in a beautiful design of flower petals. As the congregation of people walked over the petals to the black wrought-iron gate at the front of the church they picked up the petals to carry with them.  I followed suite and then sat in a pew to watch. Behind the black tall gate were rows of nuns.  As the guests recognized a nun there was hand reaching and hand holding through the gate and cries of joy to see each other.  I had the feeling these nuns belonged to a cloistered group and this was a special day to see their relatives. Very young nuns sat on the steps at the sides of the altar behind the gate and called out to young children to come see them.  It was a beautiful and happy scene.

Flower Petal Church

Flower Petal Church

After the Mass at the cathedral we decided to dine at a lovely restaurant complete with the wooden mosaic designs on the walls.  It was around seven in the evening, very early by European standards to dine, so we were one of the first to get a table at Ristorante Maurizio.  I am so glad we did because soon the entire restaurant was filled to capacity.  The lights were dimmed and the candles lit, throwing a soft light on the flax and white colored table cloths and beautiful meal. It was an end to a perfect day.

The Restaurant

The Ristorante Maurizo

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The Rooster Work

The Rooster Work

Ristorante Maurizio: Via Duomo 76, Orvieto, Italy

Way Up the Hill and to the Left

The Walls of Orvieto

The Walls of Orvieto

DSCN1004It is early morning; sunny, warm, windless with bright blue skies and today we are leaving Cinque Terre.  We snake single file down the hill, and flow through the tunnel hearing  only the sound of “clickety-clack” as  the suitcases bump  over the rough pavement to the train station.  We begin our four train adventure to La Spezia, Pisa, Florence, and then to Orvieto in Umbria. In Florence when we switch trains who do we meet? The Bag Handler approaches SB, takes one look at me and quickly turns away. (See blog “On to Florence”) At one of the many small town stops on our last leg to Orvieto an odd looking man boards.  Short haired, clean shaven wearing floor length grey robe tied with a rope belt, he is covered in pale grey.  Grey ash colored paste covers his hair, face and even his eyelashes, his hands. He walks slowly up and down the train aisle, as if wanting us all to recognize his presence. No one says a word, no words form on his lips. As he is ignored I am thinking, is this man a priest? Is he in some sort of penance? Can I take a picture of him, I think?  No, that would not be right.  What if he was a wayward priest? I want to ask someone who he is, but the travelers keep their noses in their papers or books or look away. At the next stop he departs the train. My eyes follow him into the crowd.

Arrival at Train Station in Orvieto

Arrival at Train Station in Orvieto

By late afternoon we step off the train and look up and up.  Orvieto’s old town walls loom above us, touching nothing but blue sky and fluffy sheep clouds. It is warm and balmy and I begin to peel off my layers of clothes.  I don my sunglasses as we hail a cab to take us to the height of the old village, to B&B Michelangeli, the apartment we have rented in Orvieto. Winding outside the steep fortified walls we climb higher and higher, it is rather like a top spinning and we are in the mist of it. Once inside the wall we criss-cross through small cobbled lanes and arrive at a dead end street.

The Lanes of Orvieto

The Lanes of Orvieto

Via Saracinelli, Michealangeli B&B, Orvieto

Via Saracinelli, Michelangeli B&B, Orvieto

The Door and Walls of Michealangeli B&B

The Door and Walls of Michelangeli B&B

This street is far from dead.  On the old building walls are intricate wooden wall covering designs.  They are beautiful.  Why are they here?  Who does all this woodworking?  Another Pinocchio and Geppetto?

Geppetto's At it Again!

Geppetto’s At it Again!

DSCN0665We ring the bell and a tall impeccably groomed Italian man greets us. He explains Francesca, his wife, is getting the children ready for the biggest festival of the year in Orvieto, and will greet us later. There is excitement in his voice as he tells us we do not want to miss the evening parade.  He leads us next door, opening an eight foot high double wooden door to our apartment, right next to his home. We are so pleasantly surprised when we are given the grand tour of the apartment we will be staying in for five days.  It is huge, but cozy.  It is like a country cottage, only in Italy! It is lovingly cared for.

Michealangeli B&B, Orvieto, italy

Michelangeli B&B, Orvieto, italy

The Dining Room at Michealangeli B&B

The Dining Room at Michelangeli B&B

The Kitchen at Michealangeli B&B

The Kitchen at Michelangeli B&B

The Spiral Stairway to Bedroom 1 at Michealangeli B&B

The Spiral Stairway to Bedroom 1 at Michelangeli B&B

The Main Bedroom of Michealangeli B&B

The Main Bedroom of Michelangeli B&B

Looking Down from the Bedroom Loft at Michealangeli B&B

Looking Down from the Bedroom Loft at Michelangeli B&B

We remark about the beautiful wooden furniture and he explains his family has been the furniture and cabinet makers in Orvieto for centuries and all the furniture in the apartment is hand made by them in a shop right down the street.  That explains the wood carvings outside the buildings, signs of the trade. We feel so fortunate to have picked this location and apartment, it is perfect. We hurriedly unload our belongings and following his instructions scurry out to the parade route.

The Streets of Orvieto

If you would like more information on Michelangeli B&B please contact:

Francesca at http://www.bbmichelangeli.com.

Via Saracinelli 20, Orvieto, Italy, Tel: 0763-393862

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