August 18 - Orvieto

After breakfast this morning the sounds of a choir drifted up from the streets below. We heard them last night and wandered down the cobblestone lanes until we found the choir. It is a group from England practicing for a concert at the Basilica.

The train ride here to Orvieto was a quick two hours. We spent some of the time talking to an American who is in Italy selling her car after a four year position teaching English to Italian students.

Arriving in Orvieto, we rode the funnicular to the top of the town where a cool air conditioned bus dropped us off at the Duomo. Our hotel, the Hotel Duomo, is modern and spacious. Our room may lack views, but we are right in the heart of the old town. Feeling hungry, we discovered a cafe serving hearty salads. One of them insalata di riso, was made with rice and fresh vegetables.

Our main tourist attraction was Pozzo Della Cava. In the 1980s while renovating a trattoria, the owners discovered the remains of an Etruscan kiln and well. The museum did a great job of explaining on sign boards each section as you toured like an explorer down below.

Some say Orvieto is well known for three things: Classico white wine, the cathedral, and ceramic shops. The shops tastefully display their wares decorated with colorful vines, farm animals, and sunflowers.

By early evening, many of of the daytrippers have left and it is easier to get around. We discovered a wonderful store on an alley with craft workshops that was dedicated to tin wind up toys from yesteryear and replicas of amusement park rides such as the parachute ride at Coney Island. Every nook and cranny of the store was covered with antique toys.

Dinner tonight was at Re Artu, an enjoyable and very reasonably priced restaurant that specializes in pizza. We dined in the outside garden and enjoyed a nice family atmosphere. Tonight we are headed towards the Duomo where there will be a live folk singer in front of the Duomo.


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