Orvieto is one of many (too many!) medieval towns snuggled within the Chianti wine region between Florence and Rome.  It is not uncommon for visitors to hire a car for a day of wine tasting, but we skipped the wine and simply enjoyed the twisty drive through wine country instead.IMG_1671

Unlike other medieval towns I’ve seen such as Saint Emilion or Dinan (both in France), I found Orvieto to be quite livable.  By that, I mean I didn’t feel as if I was strolling through a fabricated village catered to tourists.  There were plenty of children in the streets, busy and active churches, parks, and locals grocery shopping and hanging up laundry.  Maybe it felt that way because it was a drizzly Sunday, but either way, our excursion to Orvieto was more pleasant than I expected.

For the few visitors who do make it to Orvieto, most arrive by train and take a cable car up into the hilltop town.  However, we favored the trail over the cable car because it didn’t look too long at all–it only took us about 10 minutes to walk up.  Once at the top, we were able to peer over the walls and gaze down into the lush Chianti valley below.IMG_1717

Meandering the streets and taking in the cuteness of the town:

I found my favorite gelato shop in all of Italy at La Muse.  I can’t recall the exact name of the flavor I liked most, but it was of custard and sweet wine.  Seriously. WOW.IMG_1681

Local festivities that weekend included floral mosaics on church floors.

But Orvieto’s pride is its marble-tiled, massive Gothic cathedral, almost as stunning at Florence’s duomo but belonging to a much more laid back town.  It cost €3 to enter.

I’ve read that visitors have spent an upward of 2 weeks in this tiny town, getting a feel for more laid back regions in Italy.  My big-city spirit definitely won’t allow me to spend any significant amount of time in villages, but I can see how one could be enticed by the comforts of Orvieto.  Combine a rainy Sunday with the tranquility of a small Chianti town and you’ve got yourself a pleasant day in Italy.

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