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Saturday, February 4, 2012, continued
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

What a treat to see Orvieto in the snow! The buttressed cliffs and zig-zag ascent look distinctly different splashed in white. We wind up the hill, and are one of the very few vehicles allowed to enter the town – so glad we didn’t have to lug our suitcases up to the hotel! Link

Our favorite Orvieto hotel, gracious Palazzo Piccolomini, greets us with a smile and we quickly settle into our room – and take a peek at the rooftops as we’ve never seen them before.

Lucy, our guide, thinks fast on her feet, and has arranged a nice lunch for us and the Barberani winemakers (since we were unable to visit the winery due to the road conditions) at Caffé Montanucci, an always-popular spot in the center of town. Niccolo pours,

and Bernardo describes the wines as snow drifts down on the Michelangeli giraffes in the shaft between the café rooms.

In all of the years we’ve been coming to Orvieto, we’ve never seen beneath the city, Orvieto Underground, so we’re excited that this is part of the International Wine Tourism tour. We bundle up and enjoy the views of the city in the snow…
a snow-draped Vespa

the bell-ringers high on the clock tower,

the glorious cathedral

mosaics more vivid than ever against the gray skies.

Beyond the cathedral the sheer cliffs hide the secret passages of long ago…

where remnants of an ancient olive oil mill age in one cavern.

We climb up and down narrow steep steps carved deep into the rock, and come upon a vista we’ve often enjoyed from above – gorgeous in the drifting snow.

to be continued…