(April 18, 2014)
Another wonderful breakfast got us fueled for a day of wandering the streets of Orvieto. Our first stop was the gaudy confection of a duomo.
The building was constructed to commemorate and provide a suitable home for the Corporal of Bolsena, a blood-stained cloth that is said to have been created in 1263. It seems that a traveling priest who had doubts about the truth of transubstantiation found that the bread he was using to celebrate mass was bleeding so much that it stained the altar cloth. The cloth is now stored in the Chapel of the Corporal inside the cathedral. The building has a rose window, stained glass windows, golden mosaics, huge bronze doors, and an elaborately carved front depicting scenes from the bible. Inside there are two frescoed chapels gorgeously decorated with scenes from the Last Judgment. Oh, and the reliquary of the Cloth. It took nearly three centuries to construct.
Sadly, no pictures of the interior.
I personally was overwhelmed by the beauty. I long ago left the religion of my youth behind, but standing in this place I had a moment of wishing I were Catholic once again. There was such *love* in the creation of this cathedral, such care in its crafting, and I could feel that as clearly as if I were part of its creation. Wikipedia has a really good page on this place, and I highly recommend a visit.
In the square outside they were celebrating Easter with the most logical thing in the world: an artisanal chocolate festival.
Across the square is a lovely Etruscan Museum. This place is a treasure trove of artifacts collected by one man and then expanded by his son. organized beautifully, there were lots of explanations in English (which really hasn’t been the case so far). The fact that they are displayed in a former house with decorative frescoes on the walls and ceilings just made for a strange dichotomy.
By that point were a bit hungry, so we stopped into Clandestin0 for a couple of tasty pizzas. A little more wandering brought us back home for a nap, and then out again for dinner at Vinosus Wine Bar. The food was fine, but the service — for the first time in our entire trip — was rude. I get that we were the only non-Italians in the place, and that everyone else seemed to know one another. But were we pleasant, didn’t make a scene, asked for recommendations, and enjoyed our food. Yet the waiter clearly was upset we were there. Absolutely not recommended.
Despite that, we made a good time of it, and enjoyed our walk home. We’ll miss Orvieto, and will definitely be back at some point in the future.