CIAO, ITALIA

TRAVEL MEMORIES LIVE IN MY HEART…

October 23rd is Michelle’s birthday so we decided to plant ourselves in her most favorite place for her special day…ORVIETO, ITALY! We arrived the day before her COMPLEANNO and stayed at the HOTEL PALAZZO PICCOLOMINI (that offered us the most wonderful views of Orvieto rooftops…sunset to sunrise)

Happily walking through the town we know so well, many friends, upon seeing her, wished her BUON COMPLEANNO. She was delighted. We celebrated that evening at her friend’s new restaurant, RISTORANTE IL GIARDINO da GIOVANNI, where we feasted like royalty! Grazie mille, Giovanni!

We spent several wonderful days reacquainting ourselves with the town and visiting with the people we’ve loved for so many years (after missing it and them for almost 2…due to Covid and closed borders.) Orvieto sits majestically high above the valley floor atop a huge chunk of tufo volcanic stone, overlooking cypress-dotted Umbrian plains…a true medieval hill town with a rich underground of Etruscan caves. Here are some highlights of our town at the top of the rock…one of the most outstanding hill towns in Umbria…

LA CORTE DEI MIRACOLI DI ALBERTO BELLINI…THAT’S ALBERTO CREATING HIS MAGIC
…AND CHEF LORENZO CREATING HIS!
MARKET DAY HAPPENS TWICE EACH WEEK
TRUFFLE HUNTING WITH DOGS WHO SPECIALIZE IN FINDING THESE GEMS
WE DO LOVE OUR ITALIAN GELATO
OUR MOST FAVORITE MEAL, NIDI…LARGE STRIPS OF PASTA WRAPPED AROUND PECORINO CHEESE AND HONEY…YUMMMMMMM
ANTHONY at THE BLUE BAR MAKES THE BEST DRINKS…AND SINGS, TOO…DEAR FRIEND
LONGTIME FRIEND, CHEF LORENZO
COOKING CLASS WITH CHEF LORENZO
THE BADIA FAMILY…FEDERICO and HANNAH CREATE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LEATHER GOODS, SPECIALIZING IN CUSTOM SHOES AND HANDBAGS AS WELL AS ACCESSORIES…SEBASTIAN IS THEIR APPRENTICE
ORVIETO ON TOP OF THE TUFO VOLCANIC ROCK
ORVIETO’S SPECTACULAR DUOMO
ACTOR, STANLEY TUCCI, IN ORVIETO FOR HIS CNN SERIES, “SEARCHING FOR ITALY”

Our next stop was Siena…We were driven there by our friend, Jude.

Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio… a horserace held twice a year (not when we were there, unfortunately.) Our hotel (HOTEL MINERVA) was located at the bottom of a big hill that we had to climb each day to be in the “happening” part of the city. That was okay though, as we had the most wonderful room with our own PATIO overlooking the city, when we wanted to rest.

Siena is larger than Orvieto and full of activity. It didn’t look as though there were too many shut-downs because of Covid. We were required to wear our masks in every shop (as we were in Orvieto,) and had to show our vaccination cards if we chose to eat inside a restaurant. We felt quite comfortable in Siena and marveled at the wonderful sites, narrow, cobbled streets, shrines throughout the city ensconced in its outside walls and were in awe of the city’s Duomo, its Crypt and its Baptistry…that strong church influence that we always find throughout Italy. Here are some of our outstanding memories in photos…

OUTSIDE AND INSIDE THE DUOMO

THE CRYPT AND THE BAPTISTRY (built in the 1300’s) are feasts for the eyes with ancient frescoed walls, figures, illuminated books…

If the Duomo complex is the soul of Siena, Il Campo is its heart. Piazza del Campo is the focal point of public life in the historic center of the city. Starting as a marketplace and meeting spot for area villages in the 1300’s, it’s considered one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. Surrounded by shops, restaurants, hotels and living spaces, the Torre del Mangia and the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall) stand at the head of the shell-shaped piazza. The Torre and the highest point of the Siena Cathedral are equally tall as a sign that the church and state had equal power.

The Fonte Gaia is a monumental fountain…a focal point…of the Piazza del Campo…believed to be dedicated to the bride of God and patron of Siena, the Virgin Mary. It has a central relief of the Madonna and Child and is framed by stories of Genesis.

We had such a good time in Siena…leisurely, relaxing and fascinating walking all those narrow, serpentine, cobbled streets with our eyes wide open to take in all the eye candy. Here are some glimpses of Siena…

SHRINES are common to see throughout Italy and Siena is no exception. There were some lovely shrines ensconced in outside walls throughout the city…like these

…and door knockers…

We took a day to spend with our friend, Lucianna, in Cortona…just a short car ride away.

CORTONA is an ancient hill town dating back to the time of the Etruscans. It’s a hilly, walled town and boasts age old masterpieces of art by beato Angelico, Lorenzetti, Bartolomeo della Gatta and Luca Signorelli. Unfortunately, the Diocesan Museum was closed so Michelle wasn’t able to see them. I have seen them before on previous visits. Here are some of the sights we did see…

We left Siena and Italy in general, with a heavy heart, not knowing when Covid restrictions would permit us to return. Lucianna’s friend, Lello, drove us from Siena to Fiumicino Aeroporto in Rome where we spent the night before our early morning flight home. We saw some lovely landscapes along the way…

After our Covid test at the airport, we returned to our hotel and happily, had dinner with longtime friend and Italian teacher, Bianca and her roommate, Giulia. It was wonderful hugging Bianca once again…and meeting Giulia. Bianca’s husband, Max (who’s an opera singer) was on his way to Switzerland to perform and couldn’t join us. We missed him!

Ciao, Italia… spero di tornare presto.

Published by videochick1

I'm a wife, a Mom and a Doodleloo (the name my grandchildren call me.) I'm retired, but have always been a communicator, art and music lover, an adventure traveler, reader and lately, a digital artist. I was a TV producer of documentaries and features for 25 years. Married to my best friend, we just celebrated our 55th wedding anniversary. I had a blog on another platform for 10 years...want to be more mobile so switched to WordPress. Hope you'll join me in my magazine formatted blog. See you soon...

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2 Comments

  1. Moltissimo!

    How I enjoyed living the trip through your lens. Your training as a photojournalist and writer is a gift that allows the reader to fully immerse in your experience. Thanks for sharing. You still got it, girl!

    On Fri, Jan 7, 2022 at 6:09 PM Life…vivere.com wrote:

    > videochick1 posted: ” TRAVEL MEMORIES LIVE IN MY HEART… October 23rd is > Michelle’s birthday so we decided to plant ourselves in her most favorite > place for her special day…ORVIETO, ITALY! We arrived the day before her > COMPLEANNO and stayed at the HOTEL PALAZZO PICCOLOMINI ” >

    Like

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