The Village at the Top of the World

On our last day of travel, as we journeyed back to Rome, we stopped at the village of Orvieto in the Umbria region of Italy. One of Orvieto’s distinctive qualities is that it is perched on a volcanic butte, high above the valley below. 

This ancient city was established by the Etruscans and then annexed by the Romans in the 3rd century BC! Because of its high elevation, it didn’t need a fortified wall. The ruins of a fortress are still evident near the sheer cliff face. A beautiful garden lies now within what remains of the fortress walls. 

The Village at the Top of the World
To reach Orvieto our excellent bus driver, Luciano, dropped us off at a lower level parking lot. We rode in a cable car to the fortress remains, and then traveled on up to the village by shuttle. 

Here are highlights from our explorations of Orvieto. 

The Village at the Top of the World This is what it looks like when 42 people crowd into a cable car. It is good we have become a family! 

The Village at the Top of the World Our amazing tour director Fabiola, Fabi for short, who took such good care of us all. 

The Village at the Top of the World The Cathedral of Orvieto. Construction began in the 13th century and was completed 300 years later. 

Following are interior pics of the cathedral. We have visited numerous cathedrals and basilicas…and every single one astounds me when I enter it. They are huge. And beautiful. And different from each other. The churches are so important because of the architecture, paintings and mosaics within. They are quite literally museums with irreplaceable works of art on the floors, ceilings and walls. I am always moved to tears as I wander around inside. 

The Village at the Top of the World

The Village at the Top of the World

The Village at the Top of the World

The Village at the Top of the World

A quaint cobblestone lane in Orvieto. Love all the jasmine growing up the walls. We discovered Dayan is allergic to the pollen though! 

The Village at the Top of the World

The Village at the Top of the World There are Pinocchio dolls everywhere, since the author of the story, Carlo Collodi, is Italian. And no, I am not bringing one home! 

The Village at the Top of the World

There is a festival in Orvieto tomorrow, welcoming the beginning of summer. Doves will be released at the cathedral. The town looked festive, with flags and flowers everywhere! 

The Village at the Top of the World

The Village at the Top of the World It became a daily tradition to have gelato. Elissa and I stayed with fruit sorbets but Dayan enjoyed his Italian ice creams. These were our last treats: Tiramisu for Dayan, banana for Elissa and coconut for me. 

The Village at the Top of the World

This is what it looks like, from the top of the world! We walked back down the road, from the village to the fortress ruins. The walk was so worth it. The views were spectacular! 

The Village at the Top of the World

Our last outing for the Italy trip was perfect. We wandered the streets and piazzas of an ancient town, toured a magnificent cathedral and visited Montanucci, a world famous pastry shop that is 100 years old. Our group was treated to coffees and an assortment of divine pastries. (I had water and a tomato and olive salad. Don’t feel sorry for me! It was delicious.) We savored our last gelatos. Although our large group was chatty, as usual, the day was tinged with small sorrows as we ticked off the “lasts”. 

What an adventure we have had! What memories we created. And how grateful I am to have experienced Italy with Elissa and Dayan and 43 other adventurous souls. Tomorrow we fly out of Rome. But we will carry Italy home with us, in our hearts. 

The Village at the Top of the World

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