Guest trip 5: Monteleone D’Orvieto & Orvieto

Blog Guest trip 5

Monteleone D’Orvieto is such a pretty town and very like Citta della Pieve but much, much quieter.  It has no shops or bars, although like many small towns around, it still has a public library and its own small theatre.

After a brief meander through its narrow streets and the discovery of a perfect Fiat 500 nestling under an olive tree, we headed off to Orvieto. We found a place to park and assumed it would be quiet but the city was still full of tourists.  Many coaches park at the bottom of the hill and then tourists can get the cable car up into Orvieto.  We walked up the main street towards the cathedral, but sadly the theatre was closed and so was their little cafe.  They do guided tours of the theatre which is another little painted jewel, but this will have to wait till another visit.  But up a narrow side street we did spot another terracotta coloured Fiat 500 hiding in the shadows.

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Lunch beckoned and although last time we visited we ate at a lovely courtyard restaurant, we decided to try somewhere new, and wandering down through a narrow arcade, found ourselves in the lovely, tranquil setting of the Piazza del Popolo.  There we found the promisingly named Osteria da Mamma Angela.  They gave us a lovely table outside overlooking the Palazzo del Popolo.  This imposing building, completed in the 14th century to house the local governors, is now used as a conference centre and meeting halls.  It is interesting in style with its mullioned windows and rounded arches and in particular the lovely curly castellations on the top, which no doubt have a serious architectural name.

I had a starter of radicchio with walnuts and parmesan shavings and then as main courses between us we chose rabbit with pistachio, wild boar casserole and pasta with duck ragu.  Everything was delicious and whilst out guest had the obligatory tiramisu, we enjoyed our coffees and the afternoon sun.  On to the magnificent cathedral and no matter how many times I visit, it always takes my breath away when you suddenly come out into the cathedral square from the narrow shopping streets.  At around three the sun falls along the avenue in front of the cathedral and lights up the gold mosaics on the facade.  Wandering through the back streets we headed down the hill to the car park and the drive home.

This time instead of the motorway Jamie found us a scenic route through the mountains that line the other side of the valley.  We can see the mountains and the telephone masts from our garden and have wondered how far they might be.  From Orvieto it was a pleasant route through woodland and with stunning views toward the Apennines and Abruzzese hills.  At the top we stopped to admire the view and were surprised at how chilly it was.  The houses were more chalet or ‘Alpine’ looking too which suggests that they probably get snow during the winter, although the houses and villages are few and far between and are maybe only used in the summer.

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Back in Citta della Pieve we had a simple supper of courgette omelette with some fried potatoes and salad but decided to have coffee and desserts at Coppettas as I had told our guest about their lemon ice cream with a limoncello poured over the top.  A delicious way to end an exhausting day; the ‘step app’ reckons we climbed sixteen floors today and I believe it.

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