Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Our Trip to Italy Part 3: Goodbye Florence, Hello Orvieto

Catching up?
- Part 1: Arriving in Florence
- Part 2: A Full Day of Florence Adventures

Our final day in Florence was sort of somber.  It was a Monday and you could tell.  The streets were lacking the crowds of pedestrians we had gotten used to.  There was more vehicle traffic, with lots of large utility vans going to work.  It was chilly and the sun was not shining.  Dave and I agreed that we were so glad we had the weekend vibe going while we were in Florence.  If we had arrive into town on that Monday, it would felt totally different.

Our original itinerary had us scheduled to check out Santa Maria Novella (aka another church), but since we didn't get to go inside the Duomo the day before, we decided to change our plans.  After breakfast, we arrived at the entrance minutes before it opened.  We made some friends in line and soon we were all on our a journey up the 463 stairs to the top of the dome!

The climb was pretty intense. The hallways were small and closed in and the spiral staircases definitely made me a little dizzy.  We took a few breaks on the way.  When we were about half way, we got to check out the inside of the church.  It was hard to take pictures because of the lighting and the plexiglass.  The mural above us was so vivid and kind of crazy, I'm pretty sure we spotted someone getting the devils pitchfork where the sun don't shine!

And the climb continued!  As we got closer to the top, people started to come back down the same way we were heading up, which was crazy because the passageway seemed to get smaller as we reached the top.  Finally, we had made it!

The views of the city were absolutely breathtaking.  The climb was definitely worth it and I'm so glad we decided to come back and do this.

When we were finally satisfied, we headed back down the same stairway which was full of all the folks trying to go up.  We definitely got up close and personal with some people on the way down, but everyone was very nice and accommodating trying to let us go through.

When we got to the bottom, we headed out.  But then we saw a few people head back into the church.  I wanted to walk around a little, so we sort of snuck in.  I don't think the church was officially open to the public yet and soon we found ourselves getting kicked out!

We sat down outside of the church to try and figure out our game plan when we started getting harassed by some beggars, so we got out of there shortly after.  Since we were right there, we decided we might as well check out the baptistery.  The outside was under construction so it didn't look like much, but the inside was beautiful.

Afterwards we didn't really have a plan, we just knew we had some time to kill, so we wandered some streets that we didn't manage to hit, picked up a few souvenirs, and ate some gelato.

And then it was time to go!  We grabbed our bags from the hotel and trekked across the city on foot to the train station.  We were way too early when we arrived, but we found a spot to hang out and did some people watching.

Next stop Orvieto!

After we got off the train, we called Daniele, the host of our B&B Villa degli Ulivi, and he said he would be there in 10 or 15 minutes to pick us up.  After failing to find the rest room in the small train station, we walked across the street where he told us to meet him (so he wouldn't get yelled at by the taxis waiting at the train station).  After 30 minutes of doing the pee dance, I started to get seriously anxious that he wasn't coming for us (and I was going to pee myself).  I was so relieved when he finally pulled up a few minutes later.  I forgot how much I had to go while he sped through the windy streets of town and soon enough we had arrived!  Before we even checked in, he offered us cappuccinos to enjoy in his garden with wonderful sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.

When he showed us our room, we were smitten.  It was so charming and beautiful.  The views were incredible.  The bathroom was very modern.

We took a few moments to get settled in and then Daniele drove us into town, since our B&B was just outside of the city center.  Orvieto was definitely the smallest city we visited in Italy.  When we were planning our trip we knew we wanted to stay somewhere small in the rolling hills of Tuscany.  We looked at a few different places that would've all been amazing, but Orvieto was so convenient since we could reach it directly by train and had no desire to rent a car in Italy (which was a great choice, since all the driving in Italy was absolutely crazy).

Orvieto was just lovely.  We spent that first afternoon just wandering around, checking everything out.

We popped into a cafe to get some wine and a sandwich.  It was slightly cooler here than Florence in general, but not cold enough to stop us from enjoying our snack on their small patio.

We continued to roam around the small city and soon found the Duomo, which is quite overwhelming for such a small "city."  It was a little bit of a bummer that it was under construction, but we know how important preservation is.

More roaming.

After a little while, we walked down the hill to our B&B and enjoyed a bottle of wine out on the terrace.

Daniele tried to make us a reservation at a highly recommended restaurant, but they were not answering so we thought we'd try our luck later.  After we relaxed a little, we freshened up and got ready for dinner.  Daniele dropped us off at the elevator into town and we headed to Trattoria del moro Aronne.

When we walked into the restaurant, they seemed annoyed that we did not have a reservation and told us to come back in an hour.  That was fine with us and we decided to check out a bar down the street to pass the time.

Soon enough, it was time for dinner and we were seated immediately upon our arrival.

The waitress spoke only a little English, but was very nice.  We started our meal off with an appetizer of mozzarella mousse.  We followed up with the truffle lasagna and wild boar.  We couldn't resist ordering the boar since we spotted a big boar head in more than one shop window while walking around earlier.  The entire meal was amazing, every dish was so rich.  Everything seriously melted in your mouth.  I'm still dreaming of this meal!

We finished dinner off with some tiramisu and limoncello and then walked back to the B&B to crash for the night.

To be continued... Part 4

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