From Orvieto to Florence – Dolly Travels

Author: , August 15th, 2018

Orvietto - Dolly Travels

Buona sera, tutti,

I realize that I haven’t told you about Orvieto yet. When we left Rome, we went to the hill town of Orvieto, in Umbria. This ancient town sits like a mushroom above the Umbrian valley. It is a lovely old city, with its stone walls and ancient building. The city itself dates back to 900 B.C. This turned out to be not the best trip I have ever made to Orvieto: no one reason, but several things happened that no one had control over. First, the funicular that is supposed to take passengers from the train station up to the old town, was broken. We had to go on a bus. Then the shuttle bus from the little station was not running (so we were told), so we walked about a mile, pulling our luggage behind us. By the time we got to our hotel, we were tired and starving.

However, pizza was not far away. After a good late lunch, I had to take a nap, while Danny and Heather went exploring. Dinner that night consisted of gelato.

The following day our activity was thwarted, also, for we had planned to take a bus to the city of Bagnoreggio and walk to another ancient city, Civita. This could not happen, for the rains and thunderstorms came. I did not want to walk across that footbridge from Bagnoreggio to Civita in a thunderstorm. The walk is scary enough to me in good weather. Heather had her heart set on doing a hike through and around the mountain that Orvieto sits upon. Off they went; several hours later, after walking 3 miles and climbing or descending 43 sets of stairs, they emerged back into town, soaking wet.

I stayed in town, walked up and down a few of the streets, found a place for cappuccino and spent the morning writing. After that, I visited this beautiful cathedral. The Gothic facade is spectacular.

We ended our evening with dinner at Trattoria da Carlo, with a typical regional menu. Carlo not only was our chef, but our waiter as well, along with his Mama and one other waiter. The pasta was homemade with choices of different sauces; simple meat dishes but very tasty. After dinner, we took another quiet stroll, then off to bed for us, to be ready for our train ride into Florence on Thursday morning.

Once again, all three of us were hungry when we arrived in Florence, so first item on our agenda was lunch. We went across the street to one of my favorite places, the L’OK Cucina e Ristorante…eight years ago, when I first started hanging out there, it was the OK Bar. Now Christina owns the place, has enlarged it and turned it into a first class dining establishment.

I was going through cooking withdrawal, so after lunch, we went to the Conad market and bought food to cook for dinner. I think we all enjoyed our simple home-cooked meal, then relaxed while watching the World Cup game on television in our own living room.

Later, we took an evening stroll. The weather was a bit breezy, but sweater weather.

Today, we started by visiting the Galleria Accademia, where the kids got a first look at David. He stands on a pedestal that is about 6 feet tall, and the man himself is 17 feet tall. Massive and impressive, of course.

I love it that so many of the merchants remember me. It makes me feel like a really am a Fiorentina.

After our lunch, at home, of fresh bread, salami, cheese and fruit, we are all ready for our siesta. We will venture out again this evening, for the “passiagetta”, or our version of that walk, while we find more good places in Florence. The kids are enjoying Florence so much that we may not take more than one side trip. There is just too much to see and savor in this Renaissance city, my true second home.

Until next time,
Arrivederci,

Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Orvieto Gay Travel Resources

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Orvieto – Dolly Travels

Author: , February 24th, 2018

View from Orvieto - Dolly Travels

Good morning, everyone,

You can tell that I am excited about returning to Italy. I thought I might go back and read some of my blog posts where I wrote about places that I will revisit this coming June.

Orvieto - Dolly TravelsI have had Orvieto on my mind for some time. I love that hill town that is situated in Umbria, somewhere between Florence and Rome. I first visited that town in 2010, by myself. I enjoyed traveling from the train station up the hill to the old town, which sits like a giant mushroom on cliffs that overlook the newer city of Orvieto (down at ground level) and the Umbrian countryside. Now there is a funicular, a small train, that takes visitors up to the old city more quickly.

Duomo Orvieto - Dolly TravelsThe cathedral in Orvieto is one of the most strikingly beautiful churches in Italy. While it is not as ancient as some of the others, the artistic design is gorgeous. It is a Roman Catholic cathedral and was built in the 14th century A.D., in the Italian Gothic design.

One chapel at the rear of the cathedral is called the Brizio Chapel. An artist by the name of Luca Signorelli decorated the walls and the ceilings with paintings that were probably inspired by Dante’s Inferno, for they are actually downright scary. Beautiful but scary.

On a gentler note, as I walked through the town, along the city walls, I found the peaceful scene at the top of this post. This is some of the countryside, looking south, with the newer city of Orvieto in the center.

Old Church in Orvieto - Dolly TravelsNow here is an older church. This is the Chiesa di San Francesco, which sits right at the edge of a cliff at the western end of the old town. This church was dedicated in 1266 A.D. Inside it still looks very old and stark. It is kept in good repair, but I did not find it as inviting as the Duomo, the grand Cathedral.

While I was staying in Orvieto, I took a bus to another hill town, Bagnoreggio. The bus driver knew the roads, thank goodness. I had been told that the trip from Orvieto to Bagnoreggio would take an hour. This bus driver made it in 40 minutes, stopping once for a stop sign when he got to the town of Bagnoreggio. I wrote on my blog post at that time that I felt like I was on Disney’s Mr.Toad’s Wild Ride. But I arrived safe and sound, and welcomed the half hour walk that I would have across town, for my goal was to cross over a bridge to the ancient town of Civita.

When I got to the eastern edge of Bagnoreggio, I found that bridge. I don’t know what I expected, but when I looked at it, I thought, “I can’t do this.” However, I had come that far to get to that little town, and I knew I had to cross the bridge over that canyon to get there.

Civita Gateway - Dolly TravelsYes, the foot bridge does go almost straight up. My concern was walking over that canyon on that bridge, for I am afraid of heights. I walked in the center of that bridge, not daring to get too close to the edges until I was safely at the top.

Civita House - Dolly TravelsThe gateway to the city, a rock archway, was built by the Etruscans over 2,500 years ago, but was renovated, for lack of a better word, in the 7th century by the Romans.

Inside the city were the ancient stone buildings. Population is minimal, as the young people are gone, and the older citizens have by necessity, moved to Bagnoreggio, or other towns nearby.

Orvieto View - Dolly Travels

After I had toured the town, I made my way back across the bridge to the town of Bagnoreggio, where I had some lunch. In Civita, or rather, underneath the town, are still ancient caves. I did not explore them on my first trip there, but took a peek at some of them on subsequent visits.

Back in Orvieto, I relaxed for a bit before I went out to explore more of that city. This is the view from my window in my room.

Orvieto View - Dolly TravelsAnother view of Orvieto. Maybe you can get an idea of how high in elevation this town is, from this picture.

There is still more of Orvieto to explore again, and places to sit and relax, good restaurants, some who specialize in serving the wild game of the area: wild boar (cinghiale), wild birds and other meats that I did not particularly want to try, but the cinghiale salami is delicious.

Now I will leave you with this memory of mine of one of my favorite hill towns. I am looking forward to visiting Orvieto again, as well as Bagnoreggio and Civita. The bus ride promises to be just as exciting this year as it was in 2010, I am sure.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

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Dolly Travels: Orvieto

Author: , June 8th, 2015

Orvieto - DollyHi, Everyone,

We arrived in Orvieto about lunch time yesterday. Once we got settled into our rooms at Villa Mercede, we set out to find some lunch. The weather is great, the city is just as beautiful as the last time I was here.

For those of you who have never been here, I will tell you that Orvieto is one of the first hill towns that you will see, going north from Rome towards Florence. This town sits 1,000 feet above the valley floor. The best way for me to describe it, is for you to imagine a giant flat-topped mushroom with a big, thick stem, sitting in the most lovely green valley. I hope that when I post some pictures, you will see the resemblance.

This town is centuries old. There are churches from the 13th and 14th Centuries A.D. With all the little rabbit-warren streets, winding around the city, one might be afraid of getting lost. You might get lost, but not for long. Similar to being on an island, you will be on this mushroom cap…eventually, you will see the Torre de Moro, with its clock face, or a spire from the Duomo, and find your way back to your hotel or to your friends.

There were many tourists in town yesterday, so it was not possible to get into the Duomo and see it like I wanted to see it. We did find some great ceramic shops, many gelato shops, and of course, a delightful restaurant tucked away in an alcove, where we had pizza for our lunch.

Later, after an appropriate after- lunch siesta, we all went for walks in the ancient city. When we did meet up again for dinner, everyone had experienced different sights in the city, and it was fun to share our adventures together.

We had a very good dinner at Da Carlo, a Trattoria tucked into a little side street. Carlo was out greeting the customers, and what a sense of humor. He is the chef, makes all his own pasta, and everything he serves is organic. Carlo looks to be around 30 years old…and his Mamma was right there, helping with the serving, and taking orders, but only in Italian. All the tables were outside, and we enjoyed a great meal. After our meal, we decided to try 2 different desserts, to share. I told Mamma what we wanted, and asked her to bring 6 spoons. We laughed when she brought out the tiramisu and the panna cotta, each with 6 coffee spoons stuck into the dishes.

We retired about 10:00 p.m., pleasantly tired. It was such a warm evening, I kept my window open for the fresh hill town air. This morning, about 4:45, just as the dawn was about to break, I was awakened by a bird singing right outside my window. I got up, looked out the window, and I could see it was going to be a beautiful morning. Totally against my usual habit of going back to bed, covering up my head and going back to sleep, I got up, got dressed and went out for a morning walk. Now, those of you who know me well, will find this unbelievable. And what is more unbelievable, I actually enjoyed being up and out. I was almost totally alone out there. Once in a while, an early morning runner, or the garbage truck would go by, but I was the only tourist out there. I was out for almost 2 hours before I made my way back to the Piazza Duomo and found a bar open and had my morning coffee. Now people were beginning to be out and about.

We each did different walks again, today. I loved looking over the Umbrian valley, and seeing the old stone buildings.

Now we must go find food again! I love this! It is dinner time, and so many good restaurants to choose from, most serving regional food, and all fresh and delicious.

Tomorrow we are going to Bagnoregio and the ancient city of Civita. More adventures, more fun.

And thank you, all who have responded so favorably to my blog posts. I enjoy sharing these times with you, and I am so happy that you are enjoying reading about them.

Until next time,

Ciao,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Umbria Gay Travel Resources

Orvieto, Bagnoregio and Civita

Author: , May 11th, 2013
Dolly

No, the church isn’t tilted, I must have been. One of the churches and a covered arcade near Piazza Reppublica, in Orvieto.

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on the go again, this time in Italy. She has graciously allowed us to republish her travel blogs. Enjoy!

Now we are staying in Orvieto. This is one of the loveliest of the Italian hill towns. The town is in Umbria, about half way between Rome and Florence.

image22

Looking at Civita and the footbridge from the Bagnoregio side. If you look closely, you can see a person on the bridge. That will give you some perspective of the size of the bridge and the city.

We left Sorrento yesterday morning, arriving here early afternoon. It seems like we have been going non-stop.

Yesterday was spent exploring the ancient city on our own, as everyone has their owns interests, then we shared our adventures with each other in the evening.

The gate to the city of Civita, which was cut by the Etruscans 2,500 years ago. (My thanks to Rick Steves for this bit of information).

The gate to the city of Civita, which was cut by the Etruscans 2,500 years ago.

Early this morning, we took a bus to the small town of Bagnoregio. From the bus stop, we walked across town (about a mile….a hilly mile), then walked across the footbridge to the ancient city of Civita. We were about the only tourists for the first hour or so, the more people showed up. We were happy to have the place to ourselves for that time.

I told Patrick if I had to cross that bridge in the rain, he might witness his Grandma having a real panic attack, so I think God smiled on us and kept us dry.

image24

One of the beautiful stone houses in Civita. Almost all the buildings are kept up well, and the city still has a few people living there.

We walked down cobblestone and dirt paths, finding some old caves, many of which were closed off to the public for safety reasons and we found an abandoned garden with artichokes still growing wild.

In the early afternoon we took the bus back to Orvieto, and again, we each did our own thing. I finally gave up about 4:30. And took a nap. The air up here is so clear, and it is peaceful in spite of the tourists, that I slept very well…both last night and today’s nap.

I think I have found a cure for my insomnia. But suppose I won’t be moving here anytime soon…drat!

Now we are getting ready to go out again, all 6 of us, and either get a snack for dinner or a gelato. We must keep up our strength.

The view through someone's fence to the valley and the hills across.

The view through someone’s fence to the valley and the hills across.

Tomorrow we will leave here and go to Florence. Everyone is excited about that, as the Giro d’Italia finished tomorrow’s ride at the Piazzale Michalangelo, so we are hoping to get up there to watch the finale. It has been an interesting race to watch on TV, so will be fun to see it in person. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

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Postcards From An Italian Adventure: Orvieto & Rome

Author: , October 20th, 2010

Postcards From An Italian Adventure: Orvieto & Rome

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Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is at the end of her extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs – this is the last one. Enjoy!

Rome, Italy

Monday, 11 October

Orvieto, ItalyWe got our train to Orvieto, and from the train station we took the funicular up to the ancient city of Orvieto. It was drizzling rain but by the time we got to our hotel and checked in, the rain had stopped. We hurriedly threw the bags into our room, then set out to explore the city. Of course, when we got to the cathedral, Frank was just as entranced with this beautiful structure as I had been, back in June, when I first saw it.

Orvieto, ItalyWe went inside, and spent some time looking at the Romanesque pillars, the frescoes, the statues, then into the Branzini chapel, which is covered with paintings by Luca Singnorelli, who completed the paintings that had been started by Fra Angelico in the 1400’s.

It is still difficult to imagine that what I am seeing is over 600 years old. This church is just an amazing piece of art.

Orvieto, ItalyWe the took a stroll down some of the little streets, finishing with a glass of wine at one of the many enotece in this city, which is famous for its white wine, as well as the wild boar salami and now, in October, porcini mushrooms and black truffles! Yum!

Tuesday, 12 October

On our second day in Orvieto, we went to another ancient church, took a walk along the ramparts, where we could look over the Umbrian valley. This is really a small city, but each nook and cranny holds another interesting surprise.

Wednesday, 13 October

Today, we took the train to Rome. From the chilly, rainy Orvieto, we arrived in a warm and humid Rome in just a bit over an hour train trip. When we checked into our hotel, we changed clothes, as we were dressed way too warm for Rome.

Rome, ItalyThe first thing we did is go to the top of the Vittorio Emmanuel monument, so that we could look over the entire city. The elevators to the very top of the monument were placed there in 2007, so Frank had never had the opportunity to see Rome from this vantage point. The view was fantastic! There are posters all around, telling what you are seeing, a 180 degree panorama.

From there we went down to the Piazza Venezia, sat at a sidewalk cafe, had a drink and watched the traffic/pedestrian dance, and wondered how long it would be before someone got nailed by a bus, a taxi or a scooter!

Rome, ItalyEventually we ended up going to our favorite Rome restaurant, Abruzzi, and had a wonderful meal. Frank told me that he had first come to this restaurant in 1962. The young manager is the son of the original owner. Pretty amazing. Just as we were leaving the restaurant, the sky opened up and poured rain down on us. We had to buy an umbrella from one of the street vendors, but we were still pretty wet when we got back to our hotel, and as I am writing this note, I can still see flashes of lightning and I can hear the thunder.,

Thursday, 14 October

We went on the Metro out to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Frank had been there before, but I had not. The church is huge, and beautiful, constructed in A.D. 380, it is the second largest church in Christendom, right after St. Peters. I was really glad we made the trip out to see it.

Rome, ItalyOn the way back into the main city, we stopped at Circus Maximus, and walked up to another church, where we were able to see la Bocca della Verita (the mouth of truth) and we were brave enough to put our hands into the mouth. The legend is that if you put your hand in the Bocca and you are not a truthful person, you will lose your hand. (You must see “Roman Holiday” with Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn and Eddie Albert.)

We walked some more, had a great lunch, then happened to be at Quirinale for the changing of the guard, complete with marching band, and soldiers marching. Impressive. I want to remember that this occurs every day at 3:15 p.m.

Trevi Fountain, Rome, ItalyWe were trying to do things today that were not on the usual tourist tour, and I think we succeeded. We came back to the hotel, rested awhile, then walked to Piazza Navona this evening. This piazza is one of my favorites, and we were rewarded with a gorgeous evening to enjoy it.

I even took a picture of the church, St. Agnese, for one of my “ducklings” who was not able to join the 2010 tour group, but had joined us last year. Hi, Agnes!! We did get our walking in today, that is certain.

Tomorrow, St. Peters, Vatican and Borghese Galleria..I may be a blithering idiot by this time tomorrow! But I have to get my Bernini fix.

Friday, 15 October

Well, we made it to St. Peter’s Basilica, which is such a marvelous church. After seeing all that we could take in, we walked around to the Vatican Museum, but the line was so long, we knew we would never get in and out again in time to make our appointment at the Borghese.

So we took the Metro to the Spanish Steps. I showed Frank the neighborhood where my “ducklings” and I had rented an apartment last year. We had lunch at our neighborhood restaurant, then we went to the Borghese Gardens, taking the longest possible route… not intentional, but nevertheless, by the time we got to the Borghese Galleria, we were happy to have a half hour to rest before touring my favorite art gallery.

After finishing our visit to the Borghese, we took a bus to Via Nazionale, the street our hotel is on, stopped at an Irish pub for a snack and a drink, then to the hotel for a nap! After a short rest, we then found a very good little trattoria in our neighborhood for dinner.

Now we have to leave Rome in the morning. We have had a great time, but we are looking forward to spending tomorrow with the Carli’s in Viareggio.

This will be my last post from Italy. We pack tomorrow, leave Tuesday. I hope everyone has enjoyed following my travels in Europe for the past almost-six months. What a wonderful adventure I have had. Stay tuned to the web site for further news, but Arrivederci now, to Italia.

Ciao for now…

Dolly

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Postcards From An Italian Adventure – Orvieto, Bagnoregio and Civita

Author: , July 21st, 2010

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Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Orvieto

Monday, June 28th

Orvieto, ItalyHi, everyone,

I just returned from a wonderful 2 days in Orvieto. Orvieto is a hill town, about half way between Florence and Rome. It has been on my “must see” list for some time, and I finally got to go there.

I arrived by train into the lower city, from there I took a bus to the upper, old city. This old city perches on a hill that is about one mile wide and maybe 1-1/2 miles long. I would call it a plateau, but it definitely is not flat. It is a lovely medieval city.

Orvieto, ItalyI emerged from the bus, right onto the Piazza Duomo, in front of one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. The style of construction is Romanesque, with alternating stripes of black and white stone.

The facade, though, is very ornate, lots of color and gold. The doors of the Duomo are huge, and fairly new, designed by an artist called Emelio Greco, and installed in the 1970′s, I believe.

Inside was so simple, huge, with very ornate side chapels. It reminded me of the Mezquita church in Cordoba, Spain (which is my favorite church of all time). Sometimes one piece of art, or one building, can make the entire trip worth while. This church not only touched my heart, it touched my soul.

There are several old churches in Orvieto, and all beautiful in their own way. I was intrigued with the stone houses, all the buildings, the tunneled passageways, and just how many times I could get lost I a city that is not all that big!!

There is a walkway, around the perimeter of the city, from where I could look over the Umbrian countryside, from any direction. There is also a walkway about half way down the cliff, that also is very scenic, but I knew if I walked down that circular staircase, sooner or later I would have to walk back up those stairs.

Yesterday, I took a bus from Orvieto, to a little town called Bagnoregio, further into the hilly countryside. The bus ride was supposed to take one hour; however, my driver made it in 40 minutes. I think he stopped at one stop sign, and that was in Bagnoregio.

The trip reminded me of going on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Disneyland! From the bus stop, I walked through the town, which took about a half hour, as my goal was to go to the isolated city of Civita.

CivitaThis city, definitely medieval, is connected to Bagnoregio by only a pedestrian bridge. There is no other way to get there. The cities used to be connected by a land bridge, but that has long ago eroded.

Then they had a trail, called the Donkey Path, replaced by a bridge that was destroyed in World War II. I saw pictures of the Donkey Bridge as well as the old bridge, and I would not have made the trip on either of those!

Civita, ItalyThis bridge spans a canyon, and only takes about 10 minutes to walk it. But about midway there, I nearly had a panic attack: I am afraid of heights, and here I was in the middle of a bridge over a canyon, trying to convince myself that it would be OK, and I would not fall off.

I finally got across, and thoroughly enjoyed the city. The experience was similar, in my mind, of walking across the Foresthill Bridge in Auburn (which, of course, I have not done!)

Civita, ItalyBy the way, I was one of 5 tourists in that entire town and the other 4 were an American family, so I had it all to myself.

Before going back over the bridge, I got a bottle of water, thought about having a glass of wine to calm my nerves but nixed that idea before it had time to germinate. Just as I was almost to the Bagnoregio side of the bridge, here came 2 tour groups. I was glad I did not have to move to the edge of the bridge mid-canyon, as I would not have done it..they would have had to go around me.

It was quite an adventure, and I am glad I did it, and have found another new adventure for my tour groups. It really was lovely.

After I got across, I did sit at a sidewalk cafe in Bagnoregio, to watch the traffic. Remember, this is a tiny little town, very few places to park, and as it was Saturday, there seemed to be a lot of traffic. But the residents take it in stride: one double parks, parks behind someone else, or if you see a spot that looks like your car will fit into, then just go for it. It was fun, and amazing.

I saw one guy, who saw that someone was backing out of a spot, put his car in reverse, started backing up, so everyone behind him had to do the same thing. And there was no swearing, no fights; just seem to be the way the people were used to doing things. I saw it as another reason I do not want to drive in Italy!

Back in Orvieto, after a little lunch and rest, I had the rest of the evening to explore some more, got lost a few more times, but just soaked up the medieval flavor of the town.

Orvieto, ItalyThis morning I went to Mass in the Duomo. I just had to see it one more time. Then, on the bus to the train station, and got the train back to Firenze. Back home.

Tonight, a young lady from La Paz, Mexico, is arriving by herself. Her name is Amanda. She just graduated from high school, and will be studying here in Florence. Her family is coming over in three weeks, so I told Magda that I would help Amanda get settled and watch over her, if she needs it. Amanda’s mother liked that idea. So now I have a duckling. I am happy. I hope Amanda will be happy, too. I will try not to smother her.

Thursday, June 24, was a holiday here, St. John’s Day, and I went with Massimo and Magda to watch the fireworks. We lined up along the walkway by the Arno River. The fireworks were set off from Piazzale Michelangelo, up on a hill overlooking Florence. The fireworks were beautiful, a very nice display.

ItalyAfterward, we went to a pizza ristorante and had a late night pizza. Very fun. On the way home, I almost got run over by a scooter. Magda saved me and proclaimed herself as the new “Mamma Duck”. We had a very good time together. They are fun to be with, and will keep me from being too lonesome.

They are finishing remodeling and furnishing a new apartment, near Santa Croce. I am anxious to see it, and have proposed that the apartment needs an appropriate christening. I will wait for them to tell me the date, then we will do it right! I love the fact that it is two doors down from a Wine Bar, called Intelligente. My kind of place!

Now I am back in Firenze, home. And just like when you come home, in the United States, from an excellent adventure, there are things that need to be done, like laundry, making a grocery list, mundane chores. So I will do those things now, then watch soccer matches until time for Amanda to arrive.

Ciao for now. Keep in touch, and new adventures will be posted soon.

Dolly

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