Blogging is truly a skill. Sorry I’ve been MIA for awhile. Having a second to breathe before my midterms next week and then spring break, I wanted to share with you all an amazing day trip I took. If there is such thing as a vacation in a vacation, this was it. Orvieto is a city in the region of Umbria. Only 2 hours by train to get there and it was such a cultural experience. I had actually taken this trip 3 weeks ago with my good friends Eric and Marisa. Eric is studying the area for one of his classes, so what a great excuse to go! I hadn’t realized how international Rome was until I left to go to Orvieto which is very culturally Italian. Now with all culture shock aside, I realized so much more that to really experience Italy, it wouldn’t be appropriate to describe it like Rome’s lifestyle. For instance, in Italy there are siestas which are 1-3 hour breaks in the day which stores and everything close (usually around 1-3 p.m.) and on Sundays nothing is open (European thing). In such a bumbling city like Rome, this isn’t as obvious, and also on Sunday stores are still open but close early. In Orvieto, we get there at 8 a.m. and not until 10 a.m. were there people on the streets. Kids doing homework on the steps of a store, some girls arm-in-arm shopping, the grandparents out shopping for groceries. Once 1:30 p.m. struck, everyone disappeared, it was like a ghost town. Between my friends and I, there were maybe 2 cars that we saw but no one walking around. Anyway, my point is, for a real Italian experience you should go to a little city like Orvieto to escape.
Orvieto is a very small city sitting atop a mountain formed from volcanic ashes ages ago. I think they get a lot from tourism because so many people spoke English when we were there. The one largest attraction is the Orvieto cathedral (Il Duomo) pictured above. This gothic church dates from 1290-1591. It is HUGE, and yes, because the dimensions are actually big, but they placed it in such a small piazza compared to it and there is nothing in the city nearly as tall. I hope you can tell from the photo above. It is magnificent.
The cathedral is literally gleaming from the gold gilding. There is so much detail in the facade that my pictures don’t actually capture. It is decorated with green and red marble (looks pink) similar to what I’ve seen on the Florence cathedral. I love gothic cathedrals for their amazing rose windows, and this one is my favorite.
I am pretty close to the wall of the building across from this church and I still could not fit the whole thing in a picture.
I noticed in Pisa, Florence, and Orvieto the use of ablaq decorations on their Gothic and Romanesque structures. Ablaq is the fluctuation of light and dark colored marble characteristic of Islamic architecture. I later learned that these areas were probably in conflict or interacted with Arabs in the past which would explain this architectural design.
This is the building across from the cathedral adorned with a family crest.
So Orvieto is famous for it’s truffles and olive oil. Yes, pictured above are all kinds of black truffle some whole, chopped, or mixed with other flavors.
One of the best parts of this trip was when we sat on the edge of the hill and looked upon this view. It was absolutely silent. The sun was beating on our skin. The cold hiding in the shadows. My eyes just closed and I found myself asleep against my friend lol. The view was so empty of noise and rich with feelings, I wish I could contain that moment in a jar and hold it forever. If I could make silence into a song and play it any time from my iPod that would be great lol. Mind you, Rome is veryyyyy loud because of our paper thin walls, cobblestone streets, and thousands of tiny rickety cars.
A pano of the view. Truly priceless.
A castle in the distance, nbd. These were taken after our tour of the underground city dated to Etruscan times. Fun fact, there are over 1,400 caves underneath this little city.
My roommate, Marisa :)
We found a famous olive oil company, Bartolomei, and they offered free tastings (free wine too)! They had a lighter and heavier olive oil, olive paste, and olive/truffle paste.
Water. Probably more photogenic than animals and less suspicious when I point my camera at it :)
It was growing before my eyes.
Imagine, we are walking down the street. We see this chocolate store. We walk in and BAM! This wave of chocolate aroma suddenly washes over you and you find yourself in a complete daze. I had the glorious hot chocolate, and their hot chocolate here in Italy is actually melted chocolate not that powdered crap in the US.
Pictured above: Cioccolato con panna e tartufi. Hot chocolate with cream and truffles.
Now what better way to end the day than a three course Italian dinner (usually its four courses but we had limited time to catch our train). We went to a highly recommended Trattoria called Da Carlo. Carlo is the owner, head chef, manager, waiter, entertainer, and best friend lol. He was the nicest and walked us through our whole experience.
We started off with eggplant, tomato, mozzarella with parmigiana, drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Ravioli potatoes and “Pecorino di Fossa” cheese served with mashed broccoli and olive oil.
This was my dish, I call it Michelangelo’s lost palette of paint… freaking gorgeous! But it was just the Chef’s special. Crepe stuffed with marscarpone and ricotta tossed in a tomato cheese sauce. This was THE best primi dish I’ve had since here in Italy. It had spices, it was rich, yet light. The blend of tomato and cream was delightful. The crepe added an eggy flavor that tied it all together.
Wait, wait, the pasta wasn’t the best part… this PANNA COTTA was! I couldn’t tell you the feelings I got from this. It was similar to the one I’ve had with my boyfriend on our first date in Miami, but I couldn’t find the same thing here in Italy for awhile. We came here and I HAD to order it to see if it was the same and omg it was…. Literally a drop from heaven.
Thank you for reading, and yes I know I always make ya’ll hungry haha. You’re welcome!!