Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?
We’ve left the seaside behind, and after dropping off 2 of our guests at the Naples train station, we’re on our way to Tuscany, passing gently rolling fields on our way to the first stop, Orvieto.No, not quite in Tuscany, but in neighboring Umbria the “Green Heart of Italy”. A minimum of four hours driving, which is what it takes from Maiori to here, is enough for one day – we’ll complete the journey to Tuscany tomorrow. And of course we’re ALWAYS happy to include hilltop Orvieto in a tour itinerary! Dropping our bags and the car at the lovely Hotel Palazzo Piccolomini, we begin to show off this marvelous town. The glorious Duomo was uncovered when we were here for our New Years Jazz in Italy Tour (which we’re offering again this year – come along!) but once again part of the triptych facade is under restoration – often necessary! We watch workers coming up and down in the bright yellow elevator, then walk over to the nearby cliffside for a breezy view off the side of the pinnacle that is Orvieto. A few shops call our name as we walk back to the hotel…one, a high-end clothing boutique, is in a remarkable palazzo. The building’s more gorgeous than the clothes! Of course we have to stop at Bartolomei’s in-town shop – remember our trip to their farm in December? The link above tells about that day. A tasting, and a tin or two to take home…as usual, our souvenirs of this trip will be edible – we’re getting low on Bartolomei’s superb olive oil and it’s time to restock!
After a rest break in the hotel, it’s time for dinner, and a stroll through the quieting streets as the lowering sun tints the stones in Burnt Umber – so THAT”S where that crayola color came from! It’s been a few years since we’ve been in Orvieto in the summer, and we’re eager to enjoy our dinner in the garden – when we’re here for New Year’s Jazz in Italy, it’s WAY too cold to be outside!The multi-course feast at Sette Consoli is, as always, exceptional…especially when relished in such a lovely location. Good night, Orvieto, what a pleasure to see you again!
December 29, 2012
Florence & Orvieto, Italy
Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you! Next on the itinerary: Our spring tours in Barcelona, Venice or Prague
Leonardo’s Last Supper in Milan may be the most famous, but scattered around Florence are several stunning renditions of that final meal, and one of our favorites is this jewel by Ghirlandaio, in the refectory of Ognissanti church. The garden setting is so inviting, and the colors so beautiful.
Why are there so many depictions of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples? Because they were the traditional decoration for the refectory, where the monks ate, and there are dozens of ancient monasteries around the city.
As the monks quietly ate a simple meal, one of the brothers would read scripture from the pulpit built into the side wall.
And now we’re off to Orvieto, where the jazz begins! We arrive around two, drop off our luggage and look for a place for a quick lunch before our first concert.
How about some porchetta, stuffed and roasted pork that’s a traditional central Italian savory delight? Handwritten signs ” Oggi Porchetta” (porchetta today) are tacked onto the stone walls of several shops, but the advertisement here is more eye- catching, wouldn’t you say?
Inside, a butcher has set up a table and slices the moist meat – the pig has been deboned, arranged carefully with layers of garlic, herb (LOTS of rosemary) stuffing, meat, fat, and skin, then rolled, spitted, and roasted, traditionally over wood. Oh is it delicious layered in a crusty roll for lunch!
And now to begin the JAZZ – with grammy- nominated New Yorker Gregory Parker and his band in the ancient frescoed hall of Palazzo del Popolo. A great start to our jazzy New Year celebration.
The sky’s tinged with a rosy sunset as we exit,
and below, even the parking lot is decorated!
A special dinner awaits us at elegant Sette Consoli, beginning with a warming potato and cod first course, followed by tagliolini with trout, artichokes, and roasted tomatoes.
Then a flavorful bean soup, a main of roasted partridge and prunes, a cheese course of pecorino and honey, and a finale of trifle. All in tasting portions so we can enjoy each one – superb!
Are we happy? Oh yeah!
A stroll past Orvieto’s glorious mosaic fronted cathedral, shimmering in the moonlight, and we say goodnight.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
A few hours drive north, past Rome, and we scale the heights to arrive atop the cliff in the beautiful town of Orvieto.
After dropping our luggage at Hotel Palazzo Piccolomini, (our room is beside a lovely terrace this time – I think Jill had this room a few years ago!) we walk to Antico Bucchero for lunch.
It just LOOKS different here, no more bright colored façades, but somber stone.
And tastes different too – no more seafood, but farro (spelt) risotto with asparagus, drizzled with grassy and peppery olive oil from a nearby village. A world of difference from the Amalfi Coast.
Kirk orders a favorite Tuscan dessert to share: Biscotti Vin Santo, and we tell the story of requesting it for dessert far northwest of here, in San Remo just before the French border, and receiving a scoffing scold “This is not Tuscany!”
Dipping lessons follow
and we all taste the crisp biscotti
(these filled with toasted hazelnuts
rather than almonds – delicious!)
soaked in the sweet golden dessert wine.
As we tour the town, pointing out ancient palazzos, towers, and monuments, snatches of a Bach cello suite draw us around corner after corner
and we find Peter, a New York cellist who spends his summers in favorite spots in Europe, playing his way across the continent.
Orvieto’s stellar sight is the majestic Duomo
(cathedral), a triptych towering high in colorful mosaic, sparkling gold, and intricate carving.
We’re missing those ocean breezes – it’s hot up here on the tufa plateau!
A cafe across the piazza is the perfect spot to cool off with an Aperol Spritz and listen to tales of the Duomo.
Then Kirk takes Steve and Martha inside to see the wonderful carvings and mosaics, and Jacqueline takes me to a jewelry store where she had spied a beautiful ring as we walked by earlier. She had seen one years ago in Capri, the shimmering blue stone reminding her of the surrounding sea, and although it wasn’t available there this year, here is just the perfect ring, in her much-loved town of Orvieto!
It is just gorgeous, and will be such a wonderful reminder of beautiful Italy.
Dinner this evening is a
multi- course feast in
the garden of Sette Consoli.
One after the other, the dishes delight –
and dessert is absolutely plate- scrapingly delicious!