NYC in Italy: Day 3 Orvieto

Today I explored Orvieto, the Umbrian town I’m staying in with my friends Linda and Steve. And it gave me some idea of what it might be like to live here.

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)…

Inside the torre

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.

Top of the TorreView from the top of the Torre del Moro

top of the torre/Duomo

Every quarter-hour the tower’s bells chime, ringing out over the town.

For lunch, I met Toni at La Palomba Trattoria for a dish of homemade pasta: Umbrichelli al Tartufo, and the truffles, which are in season, were grated onto the pasta table-side. Yum!

Umbrichelli al Tartufo

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!

Toni DeBella

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.

Orvieto street

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 Duomo in Orvieto

The iron doors, with their carefully sculptured handles were also a sight to behold.

Doors of the Duomo

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!

Icons ready for transport

A domani, amici!


11 comments on “NYC in Italy: Day 3 Orvieto

  1. Lisa, Great job chronicling your day roaming the streets of Orvieto. Thanks too, for sharing your story with me! See you on the Corso! Toni

  2. Congrats! Great posts and pictures! If you are planning a trip to Todi, let me know! I’ll be very happy to show you my town! Ciao and have a great time in Umbria 😉

  3. bruceafretts says:

    You are a blogging machine! Nice work.

  4. Hi, Carol Van Epps in Annapolis shared your blog with me as I went to Italy in the mid 60s and never came back…that is until 3 years ago. I can only say that it is a good life in Italy. After a lifetime away I now feel like I don’t belong anywhere…one foot there, one foot here.

  5. Hi Lisa,
    I love hearing of your adventures!!!! Maybe not getting to ‘ anayze your former office’ was not to be …because your destiny is leading you to a much more rewarding life!!!
    The best of luck to you !
    I’ve joined a Son’s of Italy group here…both of my grandparents are from Italy so I’m loving it. Take care, Carol Van Epps

  6. Debra Kolkka says:

    Orvieto is one of my favourite towns in Italy. It was nice to revisit through your blog.

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