We survived! We are now in Orvieto, Italy and we have internet! Italian internet – it goes on strike every 10 minutes!
By now, you must realize that I have a height phobia. Well, guess what city Luigi chose to visit on our drive to Orvieto from Pitigliano? Civita di Bagnoreggio. You have to see our pics of this city to believe it. I thought Pitigliano was built “on the edge”…well, this city lost its edge(s). Really. It has literally been falling apart, shrinking as the tufa erodes over time. We had to see it…at least what is left of one of the most beautiful “hamlets” in Italy (believe it or not, there are still residents living there). To get there we had to cross a very long (HIGH) foot-bridge that connects the more stable ground to Civita di Bagnoreggio. I walked he distance WITHOUT looking down. I admit, the tense walk across the bridge was worth it. While there, we saw everything from an Etruscan underground home to an above ground internet cafe with wi-fi, all through beautifully kept streets and little alleys (vicoli). Who woulda thought that we only had to come here for internet!
On to Orvieto, and our home for eight nights, Casa Vera Bed and Breakfast in the historic downtown. Despite our directionally challenged GPS (and driver), with Sabrina’s help (the owner of the B&B), we managed to find our way here. I think the streets surrounding and within downtown were made for chariots, not 21st century cars. Obviously they are all ONE way! I am not sure if we were following all the rules in our search for the B&B, but, hey, this is Italy. I know we were able to avoid the dreaded ZTL (areas where only locals are allowed to drive and where cameras are ready to snare unsuspecting tourists).
I love Orvieto. It has all the requirements of my Italy – big enough to be very interesting and have some shopping plus some culture, but small enough that I can eventually find my way home. Guess what, after visiting many little fashion shops, I was able to find boots. Not the ones I dreamed about…all leather and stylish but not at all appropriate for Vancouver Island weather or even Canada. I wanted the boots that went up past my knees, but Luigi wondered where I would ever wear them! So, I settled for Italian-style rain boots. Only in Italy. The rain boots have shiny black rubber bottoms and leather, with fancy zippers from the foot up.
Last year we spent two nights here and were able to go to the 1800′s old Teatro Mancinelli to watch an Italian opera, Verdi’s Rigoletto. This year, thanks to Sabrina, we were lucky enough to be here for a (free) classical music concert held in the Orvieto Duomo (a majestic 1200 century Cathedral). The Moscow Symphonic Orchestra played Mozart’s “Piccola serenata notturna” and the famous “Requiem”. It was amazing and a once in a lifetime experience. I think Mr. Paparazzi captured the moment (discretely) with our little camera.
Last night was Halloween in North America, so we thought. Luigi insisted …. “There is no Halloween in Italy”. Well… it has crossed the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean sea, and it is here in Italy (though the Vatican power may not approve it). In the evening, we went for our nightly walk through the streets of historic Orvieto and guess what! The kids were dressed in costumes and obviously enjoying Halloween. At first Luigi thought that they were just North American kids holidaying in Italy. Well. Unless they learned the Italian language in seconds, they did not sound North American to me. We saw a group of 12-14 year old boys trick and treating for some free pizza at a small shop (and also asking for vino rosso! – only in Italy).
Tomorrow is a big day for me. I go to school. Italian language school. LinguaSi at 9:30 am. Luigi and I walked through the rain today to find my school. I felt like a kid going to kindergarten. Tomorrow, he will walk me to the door, tear me away from my clutch on his pant legs and send me to my class. Wish me luck.