Sunday, July 17, 2016

Our Trip to Italy Part 4: Etruscan Tunnels, a Winery Tour, & More

Catching up?

Our morning started with a lovely breakfast at our B&B, Villa delgi Ulivi.  The spread was incredible, satisfying me with a selection of meats and cheeses and Dave with a variety of homemade pastries.

After breakfast, Daniele dropped us off at the elevator into town.

I had stocked our itinerary for the day full of sightseeing all that Orvieto had to offer.  We started with a trip into the gorgeous Duomo.


We had a little time before our next tour, so we grabbed a cappuccino at a cafe in the square with a cute little patio.  This cafe was also my first experience with a European toilet with no seat haha.

Our next tour was with Orvieto Underground where we went under the city to sneak a peek at the labyrinth of tunnels built by the Etruscans, 600 years before Christ!  The tunnels were used for many things, storage of goods since it is cooler underground, there were large spaces where olive oil was made, as well as entire rooms dedicated to housing pigeons.  They told us that when the city was under siege and they couldn't access any crops or animals below, the people would utilize pigeons as a food source.  They also said the tunnels were used as bomb shelters during World War II.  It was pretty neat.  They have only excavated a very small percentage of them so far.

The view from the entrance of the tunnels wasn't so bad either.

After we wrapped up our tour, my legs were feeling pretty exhausted, but we forged ahead.  Our next stop was the clock tower.  We took the elevator up a floor or two (as far as it would go, not far enough lol) and then had to climb the rest of the way.  The stairs were wide and even so it was a much easier climb than the Duomo in Florence the day before, but it was still challenging!  When we got to the top, we were rewarded with awesome views.  There wasn't a soul at this attraction, so we had the top of the tower all to ourselves.  We hung out and took some pictures and I tripped on a step I didn't see and got a nice bruise on my arm.

We had one more stop on our itinerary, St. Patrick's Well, but we decided it was going to be more climbing, look at the thing, climb again and we were over it.  It was time for pizza!  We walked across the town to check out a pizza place Daniele had recommended, but unfortunately it was closed.  We looped back to a place we had spotted earlier, getting a little lost in random alleys on the way.  My legs were aching and I was pretty hungry, so I was beyond thrilled to sit down for some pizza and wine!

The menu was full of funny pictures and a million choices.  We settled on two pizza choices and of course the house wine.  The pizza was extremely thin and crispy.

After lunch we headed back to our B&B to get ready for our winery tour!

When we arrived at Madonna del Latte, we expected to find a group of people meeting for a tour.  However, we only found the owner Leon waiting for the two of us.  The property was breathtaking, with a beautiful refinished farmhouse surrounded by fields of grapes.  Our tour began with a walk through the vineyard, where we stopped and sampled grapes off the vine and Leon explained that the only fertilizer he can use is crushed up grape skins as to not ruin the natural water source below the winery.  He also taught us that the harsh soil is actually key for growing good grapes, that the more the plant struggles, the better the offspring will be.

Next we headed into the distilling area.

Then he showed us the wine cellar, a tunnel that was full of the town's junk when Leon and his family purchased the property.  It had been abandoned for a while, so apparently the neighbors though this would be a good place to get rid of old washing machines and other trash.  When they finally cleared everything out, they realized they had a perfect place to age the wine.  He also mentioned that the tunnel may or may not have had some ancient religious history, but he had no desire to confirm that since he didn't want to possibly condemn his winery to archaeologists and historical preservation.

Afterwards we headed into his beautiful house and tasted all the different wines at his kitchen table.  Conversation came easy and it was like hanging out with an old friend.  I was totally disappointed that we had scheduled our ride back already with our driver, because apparently he would've driven us back and I have a feeling we probably would've hung around for a little while longer.

It was an amazing experience and we're still enjoying the case of wine we had shipped back to the states!  I took these photos of the city on our way back.

When we got back, we headed to our favorite spot to sit and enjoy some more wine.

Until it got too chilly and we moved inside.

And then it was time for dinner, in another Etruscan tunnel!

The restaurant was cool, but there was a large family letting their children run around screaming which was ruining the experience.  We really only enjoyed our dinner after they left and we could relax.  The food was decent, but after our life changing meal the night before we were a little disappointed.  We were stuffed full by the time we finished the platter of grilled meats and ended up skipping dessert.  We headed back and went straight to bed knowing we had a big day arriving in Rome ahead of us.

To be continued... Part 5

1 comment:

  1. The photos are great! Love the one of the street scene with the clock tower framed in the background!


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