Life of Karen

Day 6: Orvieto


outside Casa Petra in the morning

I awoke this morning at 8am, ready to start my day. Of course, the first place that I headed was to the back porch to visit the morning. The sun was rising behind the house and was lighting up the valley below me. The clouds had settled in-between the hills. The towns seem to be mostly built on the tops of the hills – probably defensive strategy in medieval times – but it makes for beautiful photography today! In many ways, the views remind me of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – somehow mystical. All I can do is sit and marvel at God’s wonders – how He makes everything around us so different in each area. After everyone got us and we each had a light breakfast, we decided to head out to Orvieto for some sight-seeing. The GPS seemed to think that we needed to take a country tour, but as the roads seemed to get smaller and less maintained, we back-tracked to the highway and “recalculated” the route. Before long, we had made it to the Orvieto train station. All the guide books and web sites that I had seen about Orvieto stated that tourist traffic was not allowed into the city. However, once we got into the city, we found alot of parking and plenty of cars driving around. But, following the guidebooks, John dropped us off at the train station to catch the funicular (cable rail cars us the cliff side) and he went to find some parking. Randy, Sondra, and I took the funicular to the top, found a bench and waited for John. When John caught up with us, we went left out of the station, up a small ramp and into the community garden. The views were spectacular!

View from the Roman Catwalks

I walked along the Roman catwalks to take lots of pictures and to enjoy the view. The gardens were beautiful and shady. From there, we began walking up the Corsa – the Main Street of Orvieto. Narrow cobbled streets, outdoor cafes, and balconies covered with flowering plants made for a quaint, rustic feel. We stopped at one of the trattorias for lunch. After lunch, John had to run down the hill again to move the car – he had only found 2 hour parking. However, by coming up the hill, he was able to spot some longer term parking on the other side of the train station. Randy, Sondra and I continued climbing the Corsa heading to the Duomo. Believe me, it was a climb! The Duomo is at the highest point of the town. To make the journey a little bit shorter, we followed some alleyways, climbed some steps and entered the Piazza Duomo from the back side. As we walked, we could catch glimpses of the very tops of the cathedral. When we rounded a corner and saw the Duomo in all it glory, it was quite impressive! In the Piazza, we poked our heads into several of the little shops and Sondra found the ceramics that she was looking for. We found a little cafe in the Piazza Duomo where we could sit and enjoy drinks and an ice cream while marveling at the church. John caught up to us here. I decided to take the underground tour of the city. Below the buildings are about a thousand “caves” that have been built below the city. Here was were the olive oil was pressed and stored, dove cotes were built and maintained, and there have even been found a few caves that are believed to be shelters that were built during WWII. Many of the stairs and passageways in the underground were very small and tight. The Etruscan men who built many of these tunnels and caves were only about 1.5 meters tall (5 ft). It made it seem very tiny to me (5’6″ well built american). After the tour, I caught up with the family outside the funicular and we were on our way back to Casa Petra. On our drive back, we stopped at one the many Autostops to pick up sandwiches for dinner. We arrived back just before dark, ate our dinner and by that time (probably 8pm) I was ready to head to bed. I guess I am not as you as I used to be!

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