The morning started slowly for all of us. We finished up Monday’s blog and then Jim prepared breakfast for us. He made eggs and mushrooms. Anne took care of toasting the newly baked bread. It was a fantastic meal.
After breakfast, Jim, Linda, and Dave took a walk on a trail below and around the town. We started near where we took sunset pictures the other night and then walked around the “middle” base of the butte to where the funicular station is located. It was about a 1.6 mile walk with elevation changes of about 400 feet that took us about an hour to complete. It wasn’t extremely strenuous, but the pace had more to do with stopping to take pictures in multiple places. It was a nice walk.
After the walk, we decided it was important to stop and have an adult beverage (a well-known Gateway tradition). We visited the Tennis Bar which is next to the funicular station. Linda and Jim each had a beer and Dave went with an Aperol Spritz. We got an aperitivo of potato chips and two kinds of cheese puffs.
We then walked home a spent a little time visiting.
Jim got a call from their friend and landlord, Pasquale, about getting together to discuss something he is helping them with and he wanted to meet us, as well. Linda and Dave went with them and spent about a half-hour talking with Pasquale. Pasquale invited us to see the cave under the home which they use as a wine cellar (they only use the first level of the caves). It was very cool (figuratively and literally). He then showed us the rest of the family space we were in. He was a gracious host and we were very happy we got to meet him.
After Jim and Anne finished their meeting with Pasquale, we left for an appointment Anne had and the rest of us went to the Blue Bar. Anne met us there and she, Linda, and Dave left to go back to a leather shop we saw yesterday. Linda and Anne each got a leather bracelet at the shop. We then headed back to the Blue Bar. After staying about one and one-half hours, it was easy to see why they find the bar enjoyable. It was less crowded than the other night and the people that were there were all very nice to be with. Anthony, the owner, treated us like family. We also got to see Phillip again. Jim told us that Phillip used to be a very highly sought-after fashioner designer. Well, before we left, we heard both Anthony and Phillip sing.
We then went back to Tavern Engel Keller where we had dinner the other night. This time we each had the pork shank (Dave and Linda shared one and Anne took half of hers home; Dave wishes he had his own, but half was probably better for him). We also had salad with the meal.
It was then time to head home and get ready for bed. Tomorrow’s departure for Siena was going to be an early one. The train leaves at 8:20, so we’ll need to be moving by 6:30 and out the door by 7:15.
First, we forgot to include in yesterday’s post a video that Dave took on one of his walks on Sunday. It is a group that is promoting a musical event that takes place next Sunday.
Monday morning started with confirming the proofing of the bread from the night before. Everything looked good, so we had to figure out how Linda was going to bake it. Well, we still needed parchment paper. Dave headed off to Pam, but that was to no avail. If they had it, Dave couldn’t find it (or foil or waxed paper). So, it was off to the kitchen store. Dave used Google Translate to determine what to buy, should he find the baking supplies. Lo, and behold, there it is, aluminum foil, waxed paper, cling wrap (not any of those names, of course) and, ta-da, corte forno (baking paper). The discussion to confirm what this was comical at best. Once he got home and opened the box, Linda agreed that it was the right stuff. As a follow-up, during our afternoon walk, we stopped at Pam and, this time, Dave quickly saw the corte forno. Oops.
After taking the bread dough out, re-forming it, and getting it set to proof, again, we decided this was the right time to visit Orvieto Underground.
There are about 1,200 cavernous areas under Orvieto. Most of them are under houses and are private property of the homeowner. In fact, Jim and Anne’s apartment house has a private cave. They have not been to it, but the property owners do use it.
The two caves we visited today with Orvieto Underground were quite impressive. The engineering that went into them by the Etruscans. These caves date back to hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. They were used by homeowners to make and store items such as olive oil and wine. Additionally, there were some caves that had small “boxes” cut into them that were to allow pigeons to roost. These pigeons were a source of food and commerce for the people of Orvieto. The mature pigeons would come and go from the caves. The immature pigeons were either sold or eaten. The plus of pigeon over chicken was that pigeons would leave the roost to search for food and then return. Chickens on the other hand would need to be cared for and fed. The visit to the caves was interesting and we’re glad we did it.
After the caves, Linda and I went out for a walk and some lunch. We attempted to go to a restaurant recommended by Jim, but we found it was closed. It seemed to us that a sizable number of places were closed. We returned to Antico Bodega al Duomo where we ate the other day when Linda had a salad and Dave had a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich. This time we had pappardelle with cinghiale (wild boar … a dish recommended to Linda as one of her “go wild” activities) and a pomodoro with mozzarella salad. Both were outstanding (the wild boar tasted like strong ground pork) and went well with the glasses of wine we had. We then took a little walk in the area where the market takes place (though not today) and then proceeded home.
When we arrived home, Linda started baking the bread she made. It rose nicely and it looked great. After some time resting at home, all four of us went for a walk and a little window shopping (though Linda and I did buy a couple of things). The town was fairly crowded now, especially with the large group of young girls from Austria. After a stop at a bottega to talk with the young lady preparing sandwiches (she makes the best sandwiches she told us), we headed home.
Anne prepared another wonderful meal that included a frisée salad with pancetta and a poached egg, fresh mushrooms in a lemon aioli sauce, and a pork roast stuffed with spinach, garlic, and shallots. It was all fantastic. For “dessert” we did some sampling of the flavored grappas we bought in Rome.
In an effort to offset the caloric intake, Linda and Dave went for a walk after dinner and then returned to the apartment. That’s right, no gelato today.
You can see more pictures (mostly the caves) and be able to get more details here: 2022-09-26 Orvieto
Well, it’s Sunday, so you know what that means … it’s time to go to the Duomo where the service is in Italian. Nothing like going to a church that isn’t your faith that you can’t understand. Actually, we were able to follow along with parts of the service and, while, maybe, we shouldn’t have, we went up and took communion. Linda says God will forgive us. In addition to the pictures below, here are some recordings for you to get a feel for the service and its music.
After church Linda and Dave went back to the apartment and Jim cooked fried eggs and potatoes for breakfast. They tasted so good. We hadn’t had an “American” breakfast since we left home over three weeks ago.
We decided to take advantage of the sunny skies, before they turned cloudy, and took a walk around town. Jim went with us to Pam, the grocery store, to get Manitoba flour to augment the flour we got yesterday at Coop for bread. Linda also found a chocolate-lemon bar that she had to have. It is so easy to find something you “just have to try” when you walk into one of the stores.
Jim took the groceries back to the apartment and we continued our walk. We saw a few new areas of Orvieto, just beyond where we had been. The town was crowded with the various tour groups that descended on it. We decided that having a coffee drink and small pastries at a table on one of the streets would be nice. It would be a nice break and we could take in both the local scene and the tourists (it is interesting how we have separated ourselves from groups of tourists).
When we returned to the apartment, we spent the afternoon in relaxation mode. We did very little, except sit at the kitchen table, look at computers, and talk. It was nice.
Anne prepared a delicious meal of bucatini in olive oil with zucchini, mushrooms, and zucchini flowers. Dave, who is not a huge zucchini fan, loved the meal and found himself back for seconds. The zucchini flowers were a real surprise for all of us. They were so good.
Linda and Dave left at about 20:45 to see if any gelato shops were open. We found two of them and decided they needed to support them on a Sunday night. So, we each had a piccolo cup. Linda had chocolate with hazelnut and hazelnut and chocolate (yes, they are different). Dave had chocolate with hazelnut and Stracciatella (vanilla chocolate chip).
We ate the gelato while we walked back to the apartment. We then did a couple of “maintenance” activities like keeping track of expenses and then went to bed.
Unfortunately, the weather has changed; it is much cooler (highs in the 60s) and rainy. But, since this is supposed to be a relaxing period for us, it seems like a good time for it. We will be here in Orvieto until Wednesday, so we spent the day like we lived here.
That meant we started the morning by going to the Saturday morning market. We bought a variety of produce, principally tomatoes, potatoes, and beans (both green and yellow). Everything looked great and we can’t wait to eat it.
After dropping off the produce at the apartment, we picked up the grocery carts for our trip to Orvieto Scalo (the city below the butte where Orvieto is located). We decided along the way that we needed nourishment, since none of us had eaten this morning and stopped at L’Oste del Re Cucina Tipica (that means Host of Kings Typical Cuisine). We each had a Porchetta sandwich which is roasted pork with fennel and other spices; Jim and Anne added Pecorino cheese and tomatoes to their sandwiches and Linda and Dave had just the pork. The sandwiches were amazing, moist and delicious. Linda and Dave decided that we should have shared one sandwich instead of each having one. Oh, well, we are on vacation.
Once done eating, we walked to the bus stop and headed to Coop, the grocery store, in Orvieto Scalo. The Coop is in a mall like building with an electronics store, a home goods store, and a couple of other stores. Dave took a quick walk through the electronics store and was surprised to find a large variety of the coffee pods we use at home and for about one-half the price. Unfortunately, it’s too early for us to start stockpiling larger items. Linda went to the home goods store. She was thrilled because she found some more cocktail napkins for which she had been searching. While Jim and Anne did their grocery shopping, Linda and Dave walked through the Coop. We found more coffee pods for both our machine and some for Nespresso (which Joseph and Matt each own). Again, too early to buy things. We did, however, buy supplies for baking bread this week, flour and yeast, and a couple of bottles of German beer. The flour alone took us 20 minutes – the numbers 2, 1, 0 or 00 refers to how finely ground it is then there are flours graded by composition (specialized for what you are baking). We finally chose the one that was ‘tipo 00 and W330’. Now, we are concerned that the tipo 00 is too fine for bread, so we will head to Pam tomorrow to get a “stronger” flour.
Once done at Coop, we stopped at a small bar in the mall, Piano B (I guess I forgot to mention that earlier). Linda had a Hugo Spritz, Dave a Negroni, Jim a beer, and Anne a prosecco. While sitting in the bar, we realized the weather was looking more ominous, so, we started walking to the bus stop, where we waited for about 30 minutes for the bus. Sadly, because of the rain, we were not able to get any of the nice views of Orvieto from down below.
The walk home from the bus stop was, definitely, not the highlight of the day. The rain was coming down harder (fortunately we left all our umbrellas at home, so we didn’t have to worry about them getting wet). Each of us was soaked when we got to the apartment.
After unpacking the groceries, there were a lot of baths and showers taken.
We stayed in for the evening and just sat around the kitchen table talking and eating the excellent antipasti and Caprese salad Jim and Anne made for us.
We woke this morning and realized we would be leaving Rome today and heading back to spend time with Jim and Anne in Orvieto. We were looking forward to a little relaxation with them.
We left the Airbnb at 10:00 (check-out time), but our host was nice enough to let us leave our bags at the apartment. We said we would come back at 14:00 to get the bags (she had new clients coming in at 15:00) and that would give us plenty of time to get to our 15:30 train to Orvieto.
We headed back out to the piazza and started wandering.
Dave suggested that instead of wandering aimlessly, we should go back to The Pantheon, which was pretty close, and see if the crowds had not yet formed. Well, that was a good suggestion because we were able to walk right into The Pantheon.
The Pantheon was constructed around 126 AD. It was originally a temple dedicated to all the Gods. Since 609 AD, it has been a Catholic Basilica. As you may remember, we chose to not stand in line to see The Pantheon the other day. Well, it was so beautiful inside that we are glad we returned today.
After the visit, we needed to stop at a gelato store to let Linda get her daily fix. Today’s flavor choices were Bocia (chocolate hazelnut) and Pistachio.
We then did a little wandering and came upon an area of ruins that were the result of clearing the area in the 1920s. In addition to the ruins, there is a cat sanctuary set up here, too. We saw a few cats, but not as many as we would have suspected.
After that we decided it was time for lunch. We thought pizza would be nice before we left Rome. Linda found a pizzeria with very good ratings, so we gave it a shot. We got bruschetta di pomodoro (tomato bruschetta) and a sausage and mushroom pizza. Both were excellent.
We headed back to Piazza Campo di Fiori. This time we were on a mission to see a vendor Linda met yesterday to buy some bottles of “cello”, not lemon, though. We ended up with four little bottles with one bottle each of chocolate, coffee, coconut, and peach. They tasted good in small quantities; we’ll see how they are to drink normally. It was now time to pickup our bags and head to the train station. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a taxi on the piazza, so we had to walk a ways to the taxi stand.
We arrived plenty early for the train and waited to find out from which track/platform we would be leaving. Once we saw that we headed to the track and got on the train. Jim and Anne were out running errands, so we said we would get a drink at the train station and wait for them. Dave got an Aperol Spritz and Linda got a beer.
After a ride up on the funicular and a bus ride, we dropped off our bags and headed to Engel Keller Tavern, a German beer hall. Beers were certainly in order, but Dave wanted a break from Italian food and opted for a burger. Linda stayed more traditional and went with a margherita pizza. Everything was good. Jim unintentionally got a piece of pork that was like a shank of the leg (thought it was going to be a pork burger). Turns out it was great and we will likely return before we leave so we can all get one.
It’s been a long day for everyone, so after dinner it was time to head home and go to bed.
Our day began with us finishing our packing for Rome and having a leisurely conversation with Jim and Anne. Our train was scheduled to depart at 11:20, so at 10:00 we headed out for the funicular (video able here) and then to the train station.
Well, that’s when the “fun” began. Our train was now delayed until about 12:20. We had already planned to have a caffe drink with Jim and Anne before we left, now it would just be a longer time to drink our cappuccinos. Oh, wait, now the train is delayed until 12:45 and the stops at the two Rome stations are cancelled. We will now have to get off the train in Orte and change to the next train to Rome. Let’s look at the schedules. Oh, okay, we get in 4 minutes before the delayed train to Rome leaves. And they are on the same platform. Good, that’s what we’ll do. Oh, hold on, now the train to Rome is on time and we’ll miss it. The next train to Rome through Orte is the train that comes through Orvieto at 13:27. Let’s just stay in Orvieto and talk with Jim and Anne and the couple we met at the station who are from Owatonna, Minnesota.
All right, the train arrived in Orvieto about seven minutes late, but that’s fine. We’re on the train and we arrived in Rome at about 15:00. A little later than we had hoped, but it works, just fine. We stood in line for, maybe, 15 minutes for a taxi, but once we were in the car, things went very well. We arrived at the apartment and were met by Alessandra, our host. In addition to being an Airbnb host, she has her PhD in anthropology and works at the National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography. She was a wealth of information, though, maybe, a bit verbose.
After having a bite of bread and a beer at the apartment, we went exploring in the Trastevere neighborhood, in which our apartment is located. This is an amazing area. The two things that we didn’t really care too much for were, lots of graffiti (not the cool stuff, mostly just tags) and it’s the weekend. Guess we weren’t thinking clearly when we booked here for a Saturday night. It is very crowded and surprisingly the Italians are very loud (where is that sarcasm when you need it). We did get to see a beautiful church, Santa Maria in Trastevere and another, St. Crisogono, but both had Saturday Mass being held, so pictures aren’t our usual look. In fact, the only pictures at St. Crisogono is of its intricate mosaic floor and belltower.
During our afternoon stroll, we stopped to have a drink at Freni e Frizioni (Brakes and Clutches). Linda had read that they served a great aperitivo. Well, she was right. There were multiple rice and pasta dishes, humus, cous cous, and other things. A very nice spread for “free”. The drinks were odd. Dave had a Puppet (Bulleit, Yellow Chartreuse, Lemon, Sugar, Mango & Pink Pepper Chutney) and Linda had a Wild Style (Pisco Porton Italia, Acid Green Apple, Matcha & Wasabi Syrup, Ancho Reyes Verde, Egg White). Both were very good. While we sat outside at the bar, the temperature dropped dramatically and the wind really picked up. We decided it was time to get out of our warm weather clothes.
Dave suggested we eat something (oddly, we saw a Mexican restaurant and that sounded appealing to him). Linda said she had enough aperitivo, so she wasn’t hungry. Dave suggested we go change and head back out. We started back to the apartment and came upon a restaurant with a takeaway door. Dave ordered a meatball sandwich and it was really good.
We changed into long pants and a sweater/jacket (depending on which of us you are) and went back out for another walk. The weather was much better. The wind had slowed and that made all the difference in the world. It was so much better, we had gelato (We know, who would have thought). Along the way, we encountered a jazz band playing on the street. If you’d like to hear a little bit of their music, you can click here: Trastevere Street Music.
We decided we had had enough fun for the day, so we went back to the apartment and started thinking about tomorrow.
Sleeping well in Orvieto with windows open for the nice cool breeze, despite outdoor noise which can go on till midnight (conversations and street noise) then starts again at 6am. Strangely enough, it’s not bothering us… we are sleeping through it.
We started a load of wash to start organizing for our departure tomorrow. Dave and Linda took a walk to a cafe at 09:30 to use their internet, get a caffe and a croissant. We sat at an outside table and smelled sauce and pasta cooking. We were there about an hour to get our internet stuff done and send the blog out.
Back at the house, we hung up all the laundry (like they do here in Italy – low humidity so dries fast even on racks in the house; hang it outside in the breeze and it could be dry in an hour!).
Then it was time to walk again so all four of us headed to the other side of Orvieto, about 45 minutes time, and over by the top of the funicular. We took some photos, stopped in a shop selling custom shoes only to find that the owner’s wife was from Columbus Ohio and went to school at Warren Wilson College near Black Mountain, NC!
We headed back after taking pictures at the top of the summit and stopped for lunch at The Palace where we had pizza and beer. The fun here was the discussion we all had about our Italian relatives – we laughed and learned and even disagreed some! We’re all thinking about our trip next week to a small town southeast of Rome where Dave’s and Jim’s great-grandmother is from. Stay tuned.
On our way back to the apartment, we stopped at the Church of St. Joseph.
Five thousand steps later we are back at the house for more laundry detail and our packing for several days in Rome.
Anne planned a friends get together for 18:00. We went to the bar where Jim and Anne met all these people when they arrived earlier this year. We enjoyed the conversation and understand even more why Jim and Anne enjoy it here. We took a short walk to the edge of the wall to capture some sunset pictures.
After a little more time at with friends we left to get some takeaway dinner at a restaurant run by a Ukrainian couple. We had sandwiches and pasta. It was a nice meal to end the day.