One of the things I love about traveling are those small, nearly tourist-free towns I stumble upon when hunting for a lunch stop. I have found some amazing places that have rivaled my favorite large cities simply because I was starving and had to stuff my face…
Situated about an hour and a half outside of Rome, Orvieto is definitely one of my favorite only-had-lunch-but-wish-I-had-more-time-in-it type of towns, and it has made itself a home on the top of my list of places I need to see more of.
To reach the town of Orvieto, you must take a short funicular ride up a volcanic plateau; tickets can be purchased from the base of the hill for just a few Euros. Within a few minutes you are surrounded by cobblestone streets, architecture reminiscent of the middle ages, shops and numerous restaurants.
Orvieto is Italy’s answer to France’s Saint-Émilion; with its underground tunnels and networks, the countryside views atop the plateau and the lack of cars and tourists, you will feel more like a local here than in Italy’s larger cities such as Rome or Florence.
Check out the “zebra” cathedral (Ok, it’s not zebra… but the stripes remind me of one) or the Duomo of Orvieto Cathedral. The architecture reminds me of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence), and this is where the Papal Palace, which previous Popes have set-up shop in before, is also located. Yes, Orvieto was once a mini-Vatican City in its day.
Unfortunately, I did not have much time to spend here and only really just had lunch, an amazing espresso over vanilla bean gelato and saw a few sights. It was simply a place I had an hour or so in; after seeing the quaint charm this little town exudes, I will be back for more!
The BEST espresso, EVER! Poured right over vanilla bean gelato…
Do YOU have any favorite little towns you wished you could have spent more time in??