Rome (Day 1), Orvieto and Nocera Umbra

November 1st finally arrived and I was off from Atlanta to Rome!  Given the flying time, I arrived in Rome around 9:30 am local time and was greeted by one of my travel accomplices, Ambryn.  Her flight had arrived almost 2 hours before so she was waiting at the baggage check area for me with a smiling face.  While we had never met in person before, we hit it off instantly and headed off to collect our rental car and head into the city until our other wandering woman, Donna, was set to arrive later that evening.  Although we encountered a small snafu getting our GPS working, we made it to the city and found a parking spot just over the river in Trastevere.  We explored the Roman Forum and of course had to take in the wonder that is the Colosseum.  It was a warmer day than we expected but we spent hours just taking in all of the sights and trying to imagine how it must have looked all of those years ago.  Rome will always stand the test of time.  As the prophecy goes, “When the Colosseum falls, Rome shall fall; when Rome falls, the world shall fall”.

Donna arrived early evening and we made our way to our first accommodation in Orvieto.  The city of Orvieto is a city in southwestern Umbria, situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff.  Like much of Umbria, Orvieto was part of the Etruscan civilization.  Orvieto was annexed by Rome in the third century BC. Because of its site on a high, steep bluff of tufa, a volcanic rock, the city was virtually impregnable and was last conquered by Julius Caesar.  Since both Ambryn and Donna trace their lineage back to the area, we decided to pay homage to their roots and took a tour of underground Orvieto’s Pozzo della Cava.  This area is unique in that it contains a large number of Etruscan, Medieval and Renaissance archaeological finds, all lying together almost as though they had been packed away in the caves that make up the route for visiting the well.

Leaving Orvieto, we headed to our next destination in Nocera Umbra.  We stayed at the lovely Relais Monastero Di San Biagio, which is a former convent/monastery dating back to the 12th century.  The grounds at this location, much like the place the night before, were stunning and offered wonderful views of the picturesque Italian countryside.  After we got settled, a relative of Ambryn and Donna came to meet us and take us to meet with his family so they could talk about the family history and connection here in Italy.  Everyone we met with was a true delight!  They were all so warm and welcoming, even to me who shares no connection to the family.  They took us to a family owned restaurant and treated us to a four course feast!  And I mean a feast!  If only my stomach could have eaten everything presented to us!  It all tasted as wonderful as it looked!  How do Italians stay so skinny with so much delicious food available to them?!  And better yet, how do I get adopted into this family????

The next morning, Ambryn headed off with their cousin Lorenzo to do more family research while Donna and I decided to take a quick day trip to Spello.  What a quaint little hill town!  And we had more delicious food!  Good thing I’m getting a lot of walking in or I may not be able to fit in my clothes by the end of the trip.  🙂

Next, we were off to Perugia for our next adventure!  But this will have to wait for my next entry as I need to get some rest as we have another busy day ahead of us!