Italians were eating with a knife and fork ...

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August 8th 2011
Published: June 13th 2017
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DAY SEVEN (8/8)—Orvieto, Umbria

"Italians were eating with a knife and fork when the French were still eating each other."

We departed Rome, flying by a few more of Rome's many, many sights. We headed north into Umbria, the heartland of Italy, famous for its wines, olives and produce.

First stop: Orvieto, a lovely hill town, famous for the fact that in 1536, a priest from Prague who didn't believe in the transformation (i.e., bread and wine becoming the body and blood of Christ), had a miracle occur. Depending on the version told to you, either the wine he was using for the service turned red and actually became blood or blood came out of the bread used for the hosts. The bishop was notified and eventually a Duomo (cathedral) was built to honor this feast which is still celebrated on the 8th Sunday after Easter.

The church is famous for its relics, its architecture, its “Last Judgment” frescoes by Frangelico and Signorelli. It's just beautiful.

Following the tour, we had an hour to shop. I landed on a beautiful cobalt blue serving platter, painted with lemons and featuring handles with sculpted lemons. I love it. The store, one of the highest end we
were to encounter on our trip, included “free” shipment to the U.S. The store, Giacomini – Ceramiche Artistiche -- was actually written up in Bon Appetite a few years back.

We had lunch at a quaint little place up one of the winding alleys called La Grotta Trattoria. Food was quite good.

We then walked down backstreets through Orvieto, taking in all this hillside town has to offer.

We boarded the bus and headed further into Umbria. On our way, Len shares San Sisto chocolates, a Perugia delicacy of chocolate, nougat and ground hazelnuts. Mmmmm good.

We went through Perugia (where Amanda Knox is on trial) to a northern “suburb” called Torgiano, in the Tiber Valley. The Hotel Le Tre Vaselle is a 17th-century country house with its own private vineyard - an opportunity to experience Italy's privileged country life. We checked into our rooms, then headed to a wine tasting. The family that owns the hotel has vineyards, olives and more. They are famous for the gourmet wines, balsamic vinegars and olive oils.

Dinner was in the Inn's dining room (Le Melograne) and was extremely gourmet. Very fancy and very tasty. We dined with Harold and Toni Refowich of Hazleton, PA; Bill
and Mary Jo Weinheimer of Pittsburgh and Bill and Nancy Meyer of Pierce, NE. Len recommended using the house-made balsamic condiment on vanilla ice cream for dessert. Tried it but I'm not buying it.

Luckily, we get to have dinner here tomorrow night, after our visit to Assisi.

Additional photos below
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8th August 2011

I love Orvieto... the town and the wine... loved the Duomo and I think we ate at that restaurant! Glad you are having such a good trip.
9th August 2011

9th August 2011

I am so enjoying all of your dialogue and pics. Some remind me of my own trip....I didn't write it all down. Love the serving piece that you bought ! Know you are loving every minute! Can't wait to read the next chapter!
9th August 2011

Sorry you missed my surprise birthday party tonight. I was truly shocked! That said, I'm loving your daily blogs and look forward to the next day of "our trip" as I kinda feel like I'm there with you if only in spirit! Enjoy every moment
!Love, Lo
9th August 2011

A beautiful day in St. Louis also....the views just don't equal yours!!! Love your new serving platter. You must share how you get all these purchases home. Do you take an extra suitcase?

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