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Music and Midnight in Orvieto – New Year's Eve

Music and Midnight in Orvieto – New Year's Eve

Tuesday, 31 December 2014
Orvieto, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to Spring – Aix en Provence for the Easter Festival.

Some of the most beautiful ceramics in Italy are made in Deruta, northeast of Orvieto, and although the artisans are on holiday until January 7, some of the showrooms are open. Silvia, third generation of the artisan Pimpinelli family, welcomed us warmly to the family’s workshop, filled with outstanding examples of Deruta craftsmanship. 12311401 deruta visitGP Ceramiche Artistiche is one of the most respected workshops in Italy, and features magnificent traditional pieces, as well as newer designs of their own.
Silvia’s tour left us marveling at the hours of delicate and inspired work involved in each piece. 12311401 fascinating interesting thoroughFrom the clay, arriving from Tuscany since Deruta has long since run out,12311401 tuscan clayto the shaping,12311401 wheelto the design and transfer and painting, we learn what is involved in a piece,  shivering with Silvia in the cold workrooms, fascinated even in the chill. 12311401 w paintingAfter firing, the colors become so much more deep and intense – that rich Deruta red!12311402 after bakingSilvia’s father has hunted for ancient pottery and fragments since he was a child, and a small collection of his finds share the history of Deruta ceramics, renowned since the early 15th century. This ancient plate features a scene from Signorelli’s frescoes in the chapel we viewed yesterday in Orvieto’s duomo. 12311402 historic pieces father foundWe’ve been glancing out the window as we shopped in the front boutique…an unexpected snowstorm has blown in! So our drive home, as we snake along the two lane road beside Lake Corbara, is quite an adventure as the snow thickens.12311402 surprise snow But by the time we get to Orvieto there’s not a flake!
We grab a delicious lunch at Montanucci, where as usual it’s a challenge to find a table – this place is ALWAYS packed,12311403 back to othen return to Palazzo Piccolomini to change for an early evening concert, and Lorri grabs a photo with Cecil McBee, that legendary acoustic bass player. 12311403 cecil and lorriTeatro Mancinelli is our destination once again, always a delight.12311403 mancinelliRuss and Lorri, savvy jazz afficionados, had let us know the artists that were familiar to them who would be performing at this year’s festival, and we were able to include all of them in our concert lineup. 12311403 concertAnat Cohen, a jazz clarinetist, was on their list. She has brought a combo of young artists with whom she plays Chorro, a Brazilian jazzy folk predecessor of the better known samba and bossanova. 12311403 quartet anat lorri heard

A terrific concert, and we’re all invited for a glass of Orvieto Classico with the artists afterwards. 12311404 apero with artistsA Capodanno (New Years Eve) feast awaits us at Zeppelin tonight – and our palates are delighted with one course after another…crispy polenta topped with salmon draped with a creamy goat cheese sauce, a truffled cauliflower soup sprinkled with a crunch of hazlenuts and a crisp of Cinta Sinese (a prized belted pig of Siena) bacon, 12311404 toast a great yearthen this tender manicotti in white ragu of duck, roofed with a saffron parmiggiano crisp.12311404 cappodano describe coursesI manage a few bites of the main course, a delicious stuffed lamb, and even though I don’t usually like chestnut, I can’t stop eating this fabulous Mont Blanc of cream, chestnut purée and grappa until my plate is clean! 12311404 chestnut usually not faveZeppelin has moved from it’s previous location to RIGHT next to Palazzo Piccolomini – making it all too easy to hang around til way past midnight, chatting with Chef Lorenzo and his crew, 12311404 zep chef lorenzowho have provided a fabulous end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 for all of us – grazie!

Vistas, Jazz and Feasting on New Year’s Eve

Vistas, Jazz and Feasting on New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2012
Civita di Bagnoregio and 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

Today we head south to the lost-in-time hamlet of Civita di Bagnoregio, cameras at the ready. The view back to Orvieto stops us within minutes of spiraling down from the top.

It sprawls across the horizon as we look back.



Civita is known as “the village that’s dying” because only a handful of people continued to live in the few houses, accessible only by a long raised trail. In recent years it’s become popular as a second home haven for Romans, and looks even better cared for than it did the last time we were here, about three years ago.

The trail gets steeper as we approach the stone portal

the ascending walls splashed with winter color.

Even though a couple of tour buses filled with Italians arrived around the same time we did, the tiny town doesn’t feel crowded. A couple of trattorias are preparing for lunch guests, flowers brighten up a stone stairway,

and a spacious main piazza fronts a surprisingly large church.

We walk a few blocks to the end, where a steep path leads down into the valley, carved into fantastical, almost lunar scapes.

Taking another route back to Orvieto, we pull off the road once again to capture the impressive cliffs, topped with the peaks of the cathedral façade.

Not far from the Palazzo Piccolomini is a newer wine bar that Kirk noticed yesterday, Vincaffé, where we enjoy a tasty lunch. Where else but Italy would I order bruschetta with lard?? Lardo is a Tuscan/Umbrian specialty, the creamy pork fat layered with herbs to cure in a marble loaf-size pan.

A cello samba trio is our jazz for the day, in the gorgeous Belle Epoch Teatro Mancinelli,

where we feel like princesses in our gilded box.

The Morelenbaum trio accompanies Paula, who sways to the tunes as she sings,  her husband Jacques playing the rich tones of an electric cello. They happen to be staying next door to us at the Piccolomini, and at breakfast the next day we ask him about the instrument.

Apparently a seat was not provided for his cello on the flight, so he had to bring this one instead of his usual acoustic.
A special treat, for them as well as the audience, is the addition of their daughter Dora to the performance. She and her mother harmonize beautifully together  – what a privilege to enjoy such wonderful music as a family!

A table awaits us for the Cenone (BIG dinner) with which we’ll close out 2012 and welcome 2013.

Lorenzo, whose new book, The Etruscan Chef, was recently released, delights us once again with a fabulous seven course meal.
Auguri! Happy New Year!