TOSCANA-Italy II (2003)


4. Day

Civita di Bagnoregio and ORVIETO

We feel the grief of autumn this morning. The appearance of the clouds of fog falling down from the plain and the fact that today is the last day of our vacation increase our grief.


As we are on a high section of the plain, we are closer to the sun. The pool is smooth and reflects the sky like a mirror. The breakfast table is set in the poolroom; the beautiful coffee smell coming through the open sliding doors warms the weather and bird sounds whisper that it will be a beautiful day today.

Our first stop is Civita de Bagnoregio, also called nowadays as King’s Bath or the Sliding City... They built this historical city on a very high hill in the middle of the plain during 6th Century. The city, which was once surrounded by walls, slides due to erosion now and people are asked to evacuate it.  Nevertheless, it is under solid protection too. Our guide continuously gives us detailed information. After the last point that we could go by car, we will reach Bagnoregio walking and passing a 300 meters suspension bridge. The weather gets worse and it starts to rain heavily.

The view is wonderful. The wind blows terribly. The suspension bridge under the heavy rain tells us “not to come”… Anyhow, we try to wrap ourselves in the best possible way and start off. We run and pass the bridge trying to protect ourselves from the rain under umbrellas turned upside down.

This is like a ghost village. Residents have evacuated most of the houses. Some Americans liked this place very much and bought property. They bought the rather undamaged houses and restored them. Although local people have been granted property in the village, only four or five old families still live there. Half of the houses on the sides have been lost to erosion. In the town center, the church, post office and the souvenir shop are open. The rain lessens and the sun starts to shine among the clouds. We visit the church; its stained glass is very impressive. We walk through the narrow roads. The weed sprang from the stones washed by the rain and the small flowers flare under dewdrops.

A few tourists take a sip from their wines at this antique looking restaurant, which has a fireplace, wooden desks and tables. It is situated below an old house made of a wine cellar. They dry their cloths that got wet under the rain. It is as if we travel in time tunnel. I consider myself merged with history. I look at the pictures that the painter made in his atelier. He had some of his work fenced and sells them. I buy one that I can carry easily. We walk back from the bridge and the way back is easier.

A road in the slipping town... Life goes on no matter what   happens..  We set off for Orvieto.


There are high selvi trees on the sides of the road. On the surroundings, all tones of green have met the brown of the newly plowed fields. Cotton clouds cover the sky, which has become bright blue after the rain. What I have enjoyed most since my childhood is to resemble the cluster of moving clouds to objects. I see two horse heads. It is as if someone has taken strong control of the horses’ bridle and tightened their mouths and the horses have reared. The edge of the plump cloud with the little holes opened by the wind resembles a baby’s head. My eyes get heavy, my head falls down on the window and I doze off.


We park our bus on the area covered by the lower rampart of the Orvieto Town.

We slowly walk on the stone pavement roads towards the main square, where there is a big church. The Church is one of the most important examples of the Italian Gothic Art. It has been built during 1290-1330.

There is quite a crowd inside and outside the church. Like us, other tourists also observe the atmosphere with interest. It is as if the whole town is there. We inquire and learn that the old priest will be transferring his duties to his successor. There will be a well-prepared, magnificent religious ceremony soon. We wonder around visiting shops. Handcrafts, ceramic, woodcrafts are highly developed here. There are also small cafes and bars with their chairs outside and the town is full of local people living the joy of Sunday.

We take our lunch at the restaurant called La Badia, located inside a castle from VIII. Century, and famous with its Umbriankitchen. The family offers us wines from Fiumi vineyard during the meal. The place is outstanding with its thick walls and antique decoration. Inside the castle, there is a classical and chic section and in its garden, there is a small church. While we look around, we understand better why so many Italian families preferred to make their wedding ceremonies here. The garden is very beautiful with its century old trees, pebble-stone roads, wooden benches and flowered beds. Due to the high hill it has been located on, it has a wonderful view. The very old and thin, almost transparent priest with his beard extending nearly to his knee meets everybody with a smiling face in the church. He chats with people and tells about those places.


The Restaurant and the exterior view of the Castle Hotel.


We carry on for Torgiano. Here we visit “Ostario of the Wine Museum” to taste wine. Orvieto is famed with its white wine. The famous olive oil of the region is on display in the boutique shops for tasting dipped with cottage bread.

We spread ourselves on the table set on the pavement in front of the shop. We make some shopping. Our minibus comes and fetches us to go back to our farmhouse. Some of us prepare our suitcases; some sit on the sofa opposite the misty valley view and enjoy the pleasure of the autumn evening in extensive shadows through the final lights of the day.

As it is our last day, we decide to have our dinner somewhere nearby. With the suggestion of our hosts, we go to a family-run restaurant with the look of an inn. A delightful atmosphere, where they cook many kinds of meat on an open oven, with assorted Toscana specialties...

We toast our glasses to our friend who has put effort to organize this beautiful holiday. When we get back, we have a pleasant surprise. Our hosts invite us to a champagne party in their house to say goodbye. They have prepared a plain but elegant party for us. We toast for friendship. We take many photos. We drop a few lines on the notebook opened for the guests. We go on chatting until late and feel sad because we leave this beautiful place next day and it is the end of our holidays.

And finally, a deep sleep and return to our beloved İstanbul.

 An interesting info  

Orvieto  Popular proverbs  
In the common dialect of Umbria there is a jargon linked to the food tradition, showing the strong link between food and culture:
"Epa, poglie, cece, fonno più 'ton anno che 'ton diece"
(Bees, chickens and chickpeas produce more in a year that in ten)
this proverb means that production is never the same, year after year 

Tülin Erkaya




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