Orvieto was a quirky little town--a little more lively than Siena, or maybe it was just because it was such a nice day out, or because we had a better tour guide, or because I was simply in a better mood. I'm sorry I wasn't able to better appreciate Siena.
We spent the day following around our French tourguide, peeking into pottery stores and bakeries. Lesley and I had our eyes peeled all day for a maceria or an enoteca, so we could scrape together a good lunch. More on that later...
Our tour guide was too funny. She had trouble pronouncing some words (automaton, stairs) and when I told her that little kids ride scooters around in the United States, she doubled up laughing. I explained that scooters usually refer to unmechanized vehicles in the use, but in Europe they use it for mopeds or motorcycles.
Maurizio, the 700 year-old au-to-ma-ton.
The thing I loved most in Orvieto was the Duomo. So much detail, so much sculpture, and finally I was able to appreciate it!**
I loved most the facade of the building, which featured: a depiction of God's creation of Eve by plucking out one of Adam's ribs;
statues representing each of the gospels, Matthew - angel,
Mark - lion,
John - eagle,
and Luke - oxen (by the way, why is Luke an oxen? I feel like he got the short end of the stick; the others are much more bad ass);
and last but not least the incredible detail covering the church, colored stones, engravings, mosaics, architecture. There is something medieval, baroque, gothic, renaissance in the construction of the church. I could look at it forever.
Orvieto is also famous for the white wines grown in the region. Lesley, Bruno and I shared a bottle of Orvieto Classico, a bright white wine with a hint of a sparkle. An equally famous wine goes by the name, "Est! Est!! Est!!!" It refers to a legend surrounding a bishop's visit to the town. Supposedly, he sent his servant ahead to scope out the wine at the hotel where he was to stay that night. If the wine was good, the valet was to write, "EST" ("it is" in Latin) in chalk over the door. If the accommodations were unsuitable, he would find somewhere to stay.
To make a long story short, the words "Est! Est!! Est!!!" are inscribed on the bishop's grave, a testament to his having drunk himself to death off this now famous Umbrian wine.
Lesley, Bruno and I ended up sharing a bottle of Orvieto Classico, a white wine that was as charming as the town it comes from. All in all, it was a wonderful day.
Some boys playing a game of calcio or volleyball... It was a free-for-all, really, arms and legs flying everywhere. Lesley and I really, really enjoyed watching them during lunch, and then when we found out they were thirteen (not sixteen or even fifteen as we had guessed), well, let's just say we didn't feel good about our voyeurism.
**I just want to point out that this is the first time I have used "Art" as a tag on a post; that is what a huge impression the Duomo left on me!