Our last day in Orvieto and after stressing about money all afternoon because we couldn’t withdraw cash from either of our accounts, we discovered that there was an actual limit of 250 euros on the bancomat machines in Orvieto. Problem solved, we’ll pay our accommodation with Visa and withdraw more money when we get to our next destination. The fees St George Bank charge us are killers – about $75 AUD in conversion and foreign withdrawal fees to withdraw about $2000 over the past 5 weeks. It is the little things that often drive us nuts, however it isn’t enough to spoil our stay in this wonderful hill town north of Rome.
Anyway, we walked into Orvieto at about 7pm this evening, our B&B accommodation isn’t far but it is all uphill, we walked to the nearest carpark and then made use of the escalators to take us to Piazza Republica. It is Saturday night and the town is packed with locals and tourists, the bars and streets are full, Italians think nothing of standing in the middle of the road while carrying out a conversation. We walk towards the Duomo and along Corso Cavour checking out the menus of several restaurants and trattorias, it is the Zeppelin Restaurant menu that gets our attention, variety of choice at a good price and not far from the escalators that brought us into the old town. Lunch had been an excellent selection of goodies ranging from peanuts and olives to panini, all free with the wine that we drank, it was cheap, tasty and we met a couple of wonderful ladies from Brazil and an English author currently living in Orvieto. Although good and filling, lunch had left us seeking a good solid meal of typical Umbrian fare and we found it at the Zeppelin on Via Garibaldi, not far from Piazza della Republica. The girls that served us at Zeppelin were from the US, friendly and helpful they sent us special help when we asked about wine. Our meal was superb, our waiter (Vito?) recommended several dishes, Marty ordered the wild boar with spaghetti and I the Ravioli stuffed with Asparagus and cheese and covered with a black truffle sauce and almonds, the wine recommended complimented our meals beautifully and it was probably the best service we had experienced since arriving in Europe. Our secondi (mains) were pork stuffed with prunes and rosemary and wild boar with olives, tomatoes and red wine sauce, another excellent choice guided by Vito (please forgive me if I’ve gotten the name wrong) and topped off by Grappa and Limoncello. Not once were we made to feel like tourists, it was a fabulous evening and I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who appreciates good food and service. If you think it sounds expensive, think again, for a good bottle of red wine, a bottle of water, 2 first courses of pasta and 2 mains it was only 56 euros, the liqueurs at the end of the meal were ‘on the house’.
Orvieto has been an extremely wonderful and positive place for us to visit, our accomodation is among the best we’ve had in Europe, the rooms and breakfast are very good and the owners are delightful, very friendly and helpful. I booked online through expedia.com.au and the wonderful Bed & Breakfast Villa degli Ulivi is highly recommended through TripAdvisor as well. If you don’t want to walk up the hill (about 10 mins) you can drive and park near the escalators, it is a great location and the rooms are very comfortable – we wish we had booked for longer. Breakfast is an assortment of cakes plus toast, pastries, cereal, ham, cheese and boiled eggs, their coffee is so much better than the majority of places we’ve stayed that we usually have two or three cups.
In addition to the good food and service, Orvieto is a pretty and easy town to navigate, the facade of the Cathedral is one I could sit and stare at for ages, it is truly magnificent and it is a magical sight when the sun is setting and the light changes from bright to warm and golden. Underneath Orvieto is over one thousand caves and/or tunnels that have been used for keeping pigeons, as WWII bomb shelters and many moons ago, for the production or milling of olive oil. The short tour we did was worth the 6 euros they charged, the tour guide had a great sense of humour and was extremely knowledgeable, plus the caves provide a cool escape from the heat of the day. I didn’t make it into the Cathedral or any of the museums open to the public however, the town itself is worth spending time in without having to visit such attractions, we enjoyed people watching over a glass of Orvieto Classico and plate of nibbles/tapas/bruschetta and met the loveliest people while doing so.
If I sound as though I’m rambling I apologise, this is written on a belly full of wild boar, truffles, red wine, limoncello and a tiny sip of grappa so my senses are pretty much overloaded.
Ciao and good night!