What a relief not to re-pack our bags for transport. I got up much later than usual but we had breakfast at our usual 8 AM time. We were out the hotel door by 9:20. We were some of the first to enter the Duomo.
I will repeat what many others have said — the Orvieto cathedral is one of the treasures of Italian art and architecture. The photos below give a small sampling of the beauty of the building, its contents and size.
We took advantage of ticket that included admission to the Emilio Greco Museum. EG designed the bronze doors that replaced the wooden ones of the Duomo. The collection includes a bronze door of Pope John XXIII, various sculptures and drawings. Don’t miss this museum as many seem to have. We saw very few in the museum versus those we saw in the Duomo.
Behind the Duomo is another museum containing monumental religious art from the 14-16th Centuries. Also, a reading room attached to the Duomo with frescoes of famous writers. We also toured the small area beneath the Duomo open to the public. We viewed tools used to construct and repair the Duomo as well as pieces that had been damaged and removed from the building. Reserve at least two hours to visit the entire Duomo complex.
An essential item on an Orvieto tour is to view its place within its surroundings. Orvieto is built on a high plateau that is its most prominent feature. From its ramparts, we viewed the valley below. One can see the mountains in the distance and the railways and highway that whisks people along the corridor between Rome and Florence. Orvieto is unique for its size and placement on this topographical feature.
It was time to search for lunch. During our quest, I spotted another Rhubie cousin. I am developing a collection of her look alikes. Now, an Italian relative.
Lunch was had at the Folk Osteria up the hill on the Via Cavour — simple but tasty. Rich chose one of the specials of the day — pasta with porcinis. I had the lamb’s liver stewed with artichokes. We were satisfied. While window shopping on our way back to our hotel, we walked in Federico Badia’s, a shoemaker’s shop. A pair of custom made shoes cost 3000 euros. He makes only 15 pairs a year. His wife creates belts and bags for sale. The leather was fine and smooth. The aroma was intoxicating. Check out his website. After putting our heads into a few more shops, we decided to relax for the afternoon after having our copettas of gelato.
Dinner at La Palombo met our high expectations. The two dining rooms were filled — locals and tourists alike — by 8 PM. The wait staff was buzzing around with purpose. We sat next to the bread bin. It seemed that a server was cutting bread on the minute. Even with this level of activity, we were never rushed when ordering, dining, or completing our meal. The staff was seamlessly doing their jobs like a chamber group without a conductor.
We ordered the mixed antipasti plate, and two types of pasta. Rich had the spaghetti carbonara with black truffles on top. He exclaimed — the best pasta on this trip. The key ingredient? Not the black truffles. The bacon. He vowed to replicate the dish; he said that we will bring out his pasta maker from retirement. I had the Umbrichelli pasta (similar but thinner than its Tuscan cousin, pici) topped with black truffles which was on almost every menu in Tuscany and in Orvieto. They were shaved onto the pasta at our table.
An Orvieto Classico Superior 2021 was our wine. The taste began like a smooth white Burgundy but ended with a dry flinty finish like a Sancerre. What a delight to taste a wine that subtly changed from the first to the last moment. Twenty Euros. The wine list included another fifteen Orvietos to choose from.
We went separate ways for our dessert. The photo of Rich’s chocolate topped ice cream says it all. I chose an Umbrian cow’s milk cheese. I am taken with how humans differ in making choices. Although so different, thumbs up for the dessert course.
The graciousness of the owners and staff enhanced our experienced. One of owners who took our reservation when we popped in the previous afternoon took time for a photo. Luckily, we made that reservation because several people were turned away at the door — “completo, full.” La Palombo is a must table for foodies visiting Orvieto. Make your reservation in advance so as not to be disappointed.