We did not need to hit the road at our usual time. We had a leisurely breakfast. I was able to complete the Day 7 blog without a rush.
We walked to the Buonconvento train station which was two blocks from our hotel. You have seen the train before from a distance in the Day 7 blog. Now, upfront and personal. I wonder how our legs would take sudden shock not walking 10 miles plus in a day.
Our train left at 11:02; we arrived in Siena at 11:32 —- thirty minutes to cover the same distance it took us about 13 hours to cover. We saw the fields that we passed; the industrial zone where we stopped for lunch. We did have the satisfaction that we had hiked up and down some significant hills that the train did not have to traverse. We felt pride that we had made the journey.
We transferred twice to reach the bottom of Orvieto’s plateau. We walked across the piazza from the train station to the funicular that took us up to Orvieto proper. A complimentary bus shuttle whisked us to the Piazza de Duomo — the magnificent basilica that dominates the Orvieto skyline. We secured another stamp for our passport even though Orvieto is not on the VF. The stamp will be a reminder that we were here.
We decided to go to our hotel which is located just off the Piazza Della Repubblica and visit the Duomo tomorrow. Rich was eager to have lunch. We set out on the hunt but we were beyond pranzo time. Heads shook right and left — ristorante and trattorias were closed. However, we did find a salumeria that was opened. Joy! We sat outside of the shop, two Romeos (retired old men eating out) with our paninis of local meat and cheese — one was enhanced with tartufo salsa and the other with pomadori. We have noticed that no shops to this point offered mustard or mayo. Perhaps our hoagie shops at home could expand their offerings.
After our break, we wandered up and down the streets window shopping, stopping in churches, and scoping our possible venues for dinner. Our panini maker suggested La Palomba which turned out to located within 200 meters of our hotel. It was full for the evening but we made a reservation for tomorrow night.
Down the block was the Bistro Miranda whose menu stated to expect the unexpected — it also offered soft jazz as background music. Why not. BTW — we have found that Italian eateries from pizzerias to the high end rarely play music during meal times, and if they do, the volume is low. I could hear Rich converse and with others when the occasion arose. Perhaps our restaurants could learn a lesson from the Italians.
So, Bistro Miranda at 1930 — the standard opening time for dinner. We were al fresco and right next to the street. Simona was our server. She directed us to the more unusual preparations on the menu. We also enjoyed an Orvieto Classico that combined various grapes such as our well known Chardonnay with Grechetto, Procanico, and Vermantino. I would like to see if a Master Somm could identify the DOCC and even more challenging the grape varietals.
I will tantalize you with two dishes. The first was Rich’s duck breast with orange and carmelized figs. The mashed potatoes were smashing and bursting with flavor. No need for added butter or sour cream.
My main was Simona’s favorite pasta – Tagliolini with smoked herring butter, crustacean bisque, and shaved black truffles. The aroma, the flavor, and the texture of the pasta was exquisite. The best pasta so far on this trip in my opinion. Try it, you’ll love it. The Orvieto Classico was a perfect complement.
We indulged in dessert — Rich said the ice cream one of the best that he has tasted. No wonder, the main flavoring was whisky. The real surprise was the ending — chambellina — a somewhat hard cookie that is dipped in a carbonated red wine. Not to insult Orvietans but this ending reminds me of the Tuscan cantucci.
We shared this experience with Peggy and Paul who were seated at the next table. Retired with interesting professional careers. Peggy was with Harvard’s School of Education and Paul was a blues guitarist in his youth and if I have it right over 30 years as music producer/promoter. His brother and his wife have lived in Vicenza during the fall for over 25 years. What a small world.
We ended our evening with a photo that Simona requested to be taken. Bistro Miranda is busy on the weekends until Sunday evening. We were fortunate to be there when it was quiet because we had time to learn about the food and wine from Simona. Bistro Miranda — as the menu states, “The restaurant you don’t expect.”
2 thoughts on “Day 8 (20 October) Transition”
I e been to Italy 4 times but never visited Orvieto although it has been on my wish list! Now I am, via your blog! Love the pictures. It’s amazing it took you 13 hours to walk from Sienna and 32 minutes via train!! I love your descriptions. Keep them coming!!
We arrived by train to Orvieto at sunset with our 9 year old son. It appeared be a city of gold, perched high on the plateau. We loved the ascent on the funicular. Our room had a balcony overlooking the cathedral, truly a magnificent church with thin translucent marble windows, instead of stained glass. The highlight of our son’s trip was to meet Geppetto, of Pinocchio fame, at his workshop. What a lovely elderly man who spent his days carving Pinocchios! Thank you for reigniting memories of Orvieto. Our food adventure there was eating pigeon with olive tapenade. Oh Italy! The food, the wine, the art, the way of life!