First, I met a new friend, Toni DeBella, at the I Heart IT School in the Piazza della Republica, where she introduced me to her Italiano teacher, Eva. Eva and her three partners, all women, started the school about a year ago and teach all levels of Italian, along with some fun-sounding extras to help students learn Italian in ways that interest them: through cooking, film, art, opera or fashion.
While Toni went back to her lesson, I wandered down the Corso Cavour, Orvieto’s main drag, to the Torre del Moro, a 13th-century clock tower in the center of town. Standing 47 meters high (that’s 237 steps up if you’re climbing, which I did)…
On the way up you pass the actual clock face, and the mechanical workings, which were installed in 1875.
The top of the tower offers a 360-degree view of Orvieto and the surrounding countryside.
Every quarter-hour the tower’s bells chime, ringing out over the town.
OK, it kinda looks like worms but it tasted great! I’m not sure I’d ever had fresh truffles like that before.
Toni DeBella is a writer and blogger who recently moved to Orvieto from San Francisco—you can check out her story on her blog, Orvieto or Bust. Lucky for her, her family is Italian so she has citizenship and can work in the country (if she can find a job). She’s having mixed feelings about finally making the move to Italy after years of spending time here off-and-on. She sold all her stuff back home, packed her things in two suitcases and made the leap. Now she’s grappling with finding her new life in Orvieto. So we had lots to talk about since that’s exactly what I’m debating doing. Era un pranzo divertente!
Following lunch, I decided to check out the Duomo and the Museo dell Opera del Duomo. And as I wandered the cobblestone streets, the gray day began to clear.
I’m not very religious, but even I could appreciate that as soon as I walked into the Piazza del Duomo, the sun burst through, glinting off the gold mosaics on the façade. It was beautiful.
The iron doors, with their carefully sculptured handles were also a sight to behold.
The Duomo itself is vast inside but no photos are allowed, and it’s empty and open—Linda tells me they do events and concerts inside, in addition to Sunday mass. I also passed through the museo attached to the church where there were some amazing frescoes and religious paintings by renaissance artists from Orvieto that had been restored to their full, colorful glory.
The most beautiful one, and the image the museo uses on its promo material, is a painting of Magdalene by Luca Signorelli, originally painted for the altar dedicated to the saint in the chapel of San Brizio. Again, photos were vietate, so you can see a lesser version of the image, here.
The museo is dedicated to restoring the valuable paintings and sculptures by Italian artists. Inside, I saw a woman working in one of the galleries, dabbing gold leaf carefully on a triptych she was working on. And outside, workers were moving some of the sculptures from inside the Duomo—perhaps for more restoration. It certainly isn’t a sight you see every day in New York!
A domani, amici!