This a couple of those days where you believe you have died and gone to ‘your’ heaven, that heaven for me is motorcycle heaven where every road has sweeping turns, lots of scenery, warm first thing in the morning so you can ride in only a T shirt, little traffic, smooth handling, and along the way amazing historical sites such as old necropolis’ castles and forts that towns have grown up around them, outright World Heritage sites, and other motorcyclists that are in tune with you and there is karma. We live for these days!
Well Sunday was one of those days. We headed back into the GRA (Ring Road) in Rome to connect with Highway SS2bis direction Viterbo. The road to Viterbo was 4 lane divided, but with nice sweeping turns and with little traffic on it early for a Sunday. The weather, easily 24-25C first thing, breakfast out on the veranda of our B&B, a quick rinse of the bike to get rid of some sand that had blown in during a light sand storm the day of our arrival in Rome.
About 15 kms before Viterbo the road reduces to a two lane snaky piece of tarmac in amongst the trees and following a stream for a ways. The next things along the stream to the left are some necropolis type excavations in the stone cliffs immediately off the road. Then another turn and we are in a small town with a Basilica and fortified wall structure along side out of the 14th century.
This repeats itself for the next several towns spaced about 6-8 kms apart, though traffic continues to move smoothly as we get to Viterbo. There we select the road to Siena since it takes us on SR2 until we turn off to Bagnoregio. Now the Civita was featured all the All-star edition of Amazing Race that aired this spring. We were stunned by its remoteness
both at the time of the show and when we arrived. It is also due to the roads in this area that it is a favorite moto route and again we had a lot of thumbs up from other riders who walked by the bike and saw the Canadian plate.
In Bagnoregio we head to the Civita which is separate from the town and only accessible by a small walkway across and valley. To say this place is magnificent is an understatement. It is a super well maintained village that has been kept up and while some of it has been turned over to tourism it still has all of its original charm. After an hour of wandering its small corridor streets we head to Orvieto just 13 kms away.
|Civita Walls and Buildings|
I turn on the Helmet cam as we near Orvieto and capture the Cliff hung hill town
|Orvieto -View from our restaurant|
We decide that we want to get settled first and eat, since we’ve been riding on pent-up energy and now are hungry, so we arrive at our Agritourismo Ciocollata, a little ways out of Orvieto with a full sweeping view of the town. Our bedroom window overlooks the town. The owners Angela and Alex are gracious and phone a local high quality restaurant to make sure they will still serve us. Most days including Sunday lunch is served till 2:30 pm and then everything closes until 7:30 or 8:00 pm. Fortunately we head to a place that overlooks the town on another hill and have a great meal. Life just doesn’t get better than a day like today.
After a great meal and a quiet evening and overnight at the agritourismo we are prepared for seeing Orvieto in detail.
|Room View - sorry screen adds some noise to picture|
|Tapestry depicting display of Miracle linen|
The Duomo built in 1364, the largest building and seen for miles was commissioned by Pope Paul V, as a direct result of what is called a Eucharistic miracle which occurred in 1263 in nearby Bolseno. The explanation can be read here. http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/bolsena.html . Apparently Pope Urban IV resided in Orvieto at the time, (1263) and that is why the Host, and linens that were spotted in blood now reside in the Duomo after it was investigated and determined to be a miracle. A number of tapestries are hung in the church which depicts certain events, one being the miracle. Each year, 60 days after Easter is a feast day here called Corpus Christi.
The church is one of the finest outside Rome and can be enjoyed much more easily than the Vatican can simply because there is not the crush of people there all the time. The most impressive areas are two side wings, one absolutely magnificent with ceiling mosaics that depict God’s final judgement day. A strict rule of no photos presides over both this and the Corporal chapel where the Host and linens are on display.
Look at the people off in the distance
to get a sense of size
We were allowed to take a photo of the main altar area which will give you a sense of the enormous dimensions of this Duomo and of the organ which is elevated above the Corporal Chapel.
Equally impressive is the façade of the church and the ornate detail work that has been done on it. Arcitecture is something both Sandra and I love and this is a place of beauty.The remainder of the old town is beautiful to look around as well, and the artistry in some of the ceramics is stunning. For several thousand dollars we could have a plate and large floor vase for our house. The side streets are nicely decorated and as you will see when our video is prepared we entered Orvieto on flag day, a tradition in the region of Umbria which we are now in.
|Pipe Organ Loft|
Orvieto is also famous for its white wine Orvieto Classico and Sandra had a glass at lunch today, and it is very nice indeed. The agritourismo we are at offered last night for us to sample their wine but we had already had a red wine as an apertivi, so tonight we try theirs and will likely purchase a bottle to take with us. This town, only 13 kms from Bagnoregio is affected by the volcanic soil and therefore the grapes/wines benefit from this soil.
|Flag Day in Umbria|