Friday, August 10, 2012

Orvieto, Arrivederci Italy

The day started with an alarm that went off way too early, and repacking our backpacks for our 8:25 train to Orvieto.

We walked to the station and grabbed a cheap breakfast before boarding.

The 1st class seats were definitely nicer than the 2nd class we had taken from Naples, but I'm glad we didn't spend more money on them. We booked early enough on the Trenitalia website that all seats, first and second class, were 9 Euro.

The train ride was uneventful (I spent part of it writing the above part of this post), and after an hour we got off the train at Orvieto.

Before taking the funicular to the top of the hill and the main part of town, we walked about 5 minutes to Hotel Picchio, which we had read would store our bags for the day.

The owner was a very friendly older woman, and she agreed to hold our bags for 4 Euro per bag. She took our passport info, gave us a claim ticket, and we walked back to the funicular, which is right across from the train station.

When we got to the top of the hill, we immediately hopped on the bus to the main square in front of the Duomo, which was included in the funicular ticket. The facade of the Cathedral is awe inspiring. I've never seen anything like it. It's amazing to think that the facade and cathedral date to 1364. We decided to tour the Duomo first.

The inside of the Duomo was almost as spectacular as the outside. It is very open in there, with beautiful striped columns and walls. The organ and alter are amazing, but pale in comparison to the two chapels on the sides of the church. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside.

We went over to the Chapel of the Corporal and looked inside. In there is housed a linen cloth that is believed to be stained with the blood of Christ after the host bled while the feast of Corpus Christi during the miracle of Bolsena in 1263.

Next, we walked across to the Chapel of San Brizio. This chapel was painted by Luca Signorelli in the 15th Century, and his work was studied by Michaelangelo before he painted the Sistine Chapel. It was amazing to see and learn about.

When we left the Duomo we went to park nearby with a nice lookout. Lori found a 4 leaf clover.

Before exploring the town, we stopped in the tourist information office and booked the 3PM Orvieto Underground Tour. We then set off in search of lunch through the beautiful, quaint, cobbled streets.

We walked across town to a place that we recommended by Frommers, but it looked a little fancier than we felt, so we found an Internet Cafe with a nice selection of salads, pastas, and other Italian goodies. We ordered a bunch of things to share and relaxed for an hour. Lori and I had glasses of Orvieto Classico Bianco, and we got an hour of internet access so that we could check e-mail and upload yesterday's post.

Feeling refreshed, we walked a few blocks to a park with another overlook. We passed the square in which the town market is held, but vendors were packing up by this time. The kids played for a while and Lori and I sat together on a bench in the shade appreciating the relaxed pace of the day after the torrid pace in Rome.

We strolled back toward the Duomo, stopping for our last Italian gelato along the way. We even found a hidden Mickey.

When we got back to the main square, it was time for our Underground Tour. All of us enjoyed it. Some of the caves dated back to Etruscan times, around 800 BC.

When the tour ended, we had a few hours to kill before our sleeper train to Munich. We sat at a cafe next to the Duomo. Lori and I tried the Orvieto Classico Rosso, while the kids had orange juice. We both agreed that, while both versions of the town's famous wine are excellent, we prefer the red to the white.

Before heading down to the train station, we stopped in a local supermarket for a few things, and bought a few panini for dinner. I have to admit, I'm sick of panini. But they are cheap, especially if you get them to go and find a bench to picnic.

We hopped on the bus back to the funicular. Before taking it back down we looked over another vista and let the kids play in a park.

We rode down, picked up our bags at Hotel Picchio, and had dinner on a bench outside the train station.

The kids wrote in their journals before the train arrived right on time at 8:09.

We were pleasantly surprised by the four person couchette we booked. It was small, but clean and more comfortable than we expected. The kids were super excited - especially Michael.

It was a shock to switch from the Italian to German language so abruptly. Since it's a German train, that's the language the cabin attendants on the train use. Even though I've got a much stronger background in German, I found myself answering questions in Italian, then correcting myself and answering in German. The guy seemed to understand both, and English, so it was no big deal.

We were all a bit sad to say Arrivederci to Italy, but all four of us agreed that Orvieto was one of the highlights of our time in Italy. It was a wonderful little town. We're excited to see what adventures await us in Germany in the morning!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Wow! What an awesome trip. Thank you for sharing.

  2. The kids seem to be holding up do the two of you. Can't wait to hear about Germany. Lucky your parents got to the soccer game...what a thrill. Be careful and have fun.

  3. Be sure to sing songs from the Sound of Music when you get to Saltzburg. Do a deer, a female deer...

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  5. Hi Mike and Lori,

    thank you for sharing your step-by-step report on your daytrip to Orvieto! My husband and I are currently planning a 9-days holiday with our 20-month-old daughter to Rome at the end of May, and we are considering a daytrip to Orvieto. It was great reading your experiences. Thank you and I wish you many more journeys.

    The Netherlands

    PS How can you get bored of paninis?! :P