Orvieto and Cortona and Countryside Hills, Oh my!

Cathedral Orvieto Inside the Orvieto Cathedral

The Caves of Orvieto: (in order) olive oil business, empty cave, one of the many narrow stairways, pigeon coops

Rise and Shine! It’s the first full day in Italia! We were all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7 am, with absolutely no exhaustion from the night before* (*note the complete sarcasm involved in this sentence!). After a quick breakfast of scones, bread, and cappuccinos, we embarked on an hour and half long drive from Rome to Orvieto. Well, as someone who has a habit of getting carsick, I expected to be nauseous at the most. Nope, me and the countryside hills, and winding roads don’t get along at all! Thank god for trash cans on the bus, lol. I’m pretty sure everyone will know me as the girl who got sick on the bus! Sooo, Dramamine will be my best friend for the duration of the trip. (Also I’m not in any pictures today, nor or any of my peers, as we have all gone about 72 hours without showing. Gross I know. Today in Cortona was the first *clean* shower we accessed!).

Once in Orvieto, we took a lift to the top of the town. In the center of town is the Piazza del Duomo, home of the Orvieto Cathedral. It is absolutely stunning on the outside with mosaics all along the walls, and carvings around the doorways. The inside was filled with painted ceilings and beautiful carvings; the result of 300 years of construction (from approx. 1200-1500AD).

After touring the cathedral, we broke into groups to adventure the town, and get a small lunch. We (Maddi, Ava and I), ended up in a little cafe. The food was soo good! Some others in our program ended up joining us for lunch too!

Once done with lunch, we toured the caves underneath Orvieto. Most caves today are privately owned, but some are owned by the public, which is what we walked around. Many caves held business many years ago. The first one we toured was used to make olive oil, while the dirt that was left over from carving the caves was sold as a cement mixture. Each cave is connected by tunnels and stairs. Some of which were really steep and narrow! The most popular cave business was to raise pigeons. It had no cost to do so because the pigeons would leave during the day to feed, and come back to the pigeon coops to nest and lay eggs.

Back to the dreaded bus! I slept the entire ride to Cortona, mainly because I was afraid to get sick again! Our bus driver dropped us outside the gates of Cortona, as the roads are too small to get through. A smaller van came down to meet the bus so we could load the luggage in it and not have the burden of carrying it to the hotel. BIGGEST HILL EVER! The entire town of Cortona is basically one big hill, and of course our hotel, Hotel Italia, was towards the top! The hill was probably a 50 degree slope! Once checked into the hotel we got ready for dinner. Dinner was held at a restaurant a few doors down consisting of amazing garlic bread, pasta, flavorful peas, pork chops with an orange sauce, and finished with an almond cake!

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