Tuesday, October 05, 2010

An Italian Journey - Part 1 : Discover Orvieto

First and foremost...I must thank with all my heart,
my dear friends, Bill and Kristin Steiner, better known
as Adventures In Italy, for sharing so fully their love
and passion for this country, for their kind and deeply
caring demeanor, gentle guidance, wisdom, patience,
and travel expertise! Without you this beautiful dream
would never have been such an INCREDIBLE reality!

And, I am SO SO EXCITED to share that Marylin
and I have been invited back to teach during the
Fall 2012!!!

We can HARDLY WAIT to return to our beloved Orvieto
and hope you will consider joining us on our next journey.
Please feel free to contact myself or Bill and Kristin Steiner
for details of our upcoming trip.

Travel changes a person. You need only step
outside your community to be transformed.
Sometimes the changes are small and subtle,
perhaps only noticed after you return from the
journey. Other times the impact is so profound
that you are deeply effected, and life is forever

Whenever I have traveled outside the country,
I have tried, desperately, to savor each and every
moment of such opportunities, no matter what
those moments were.... during my Italy travels,
most often I felt the wondrous joy and excitement
in experiencing the beauty of my surroundings.

There were definitely feelings of great anticipation
in the adventure, accompanied with aches of both
body and mind, as I dealt with the transitions of jet
lag and culture shock, as well as feelings of compassion
and having a better understanding of another people.
And finally, a real, true sadness that I had to leave,
coupled with a sincere longing to return as soon as

Each emotion, every sensory perception was heightened
by the voyage and accepted as part of the overall
happenings that were meant to be.

Orvieto sits high upon a plateau, with 360 degree
views of surrounding valleys, distant hills, even
mountains. By rail, this small city is a relatively
short distance from Rome, just a little over an
hour. I felt like I was ascending into the heavens
as the bus from the train station began winding
the main road towards the top.

Our lodging, San Lodovico convent, was
the most peaceful and serene place I have
ever visited in my life. It is almost completely
indescribable to fully explain the tranquility
that dwells there.

The main function for the convent is
service as a daycare center which is
quite delightful to hear the sounds
of little children wafting through the
large marble halls of the building.

The rooms had simple furnishings and
were very clean. The nuns or sisters that
are in charge were just lovely and honestly
seemed to almost magically appear out of
thin air, anytime we had a question.
I will also never forget having tears roll
down my cheeks as I hugged the head
nun, Sister Giovanna, goodbye on my last

On the grounds of the convent was
a enormous terrace garden filled with
flowers and fruit trees. Large blooms
from roses of every color lined either
side of the multiple stone paths. It was
definitely a nature lover's dream.

Each day, we wandered the streets of our beloved
Orvieto, with Bill and Kristin leading the way,
pointing out the highlights of the town and
hearing the history of this place. The streets
were extremely narrow, paved with cobblestones.
Many times, it was necessary to walk single file
as to not block traffic.

The buildings washed in golden hues, with worn
facades and roman architecture were such
a magnificent display of Italy's ancient flavor
and attention to historical preservation. The
steps back into the past seemed to blend
seamlessly with the abundant modern shops
and boutiques.

All of these elements became the inspiration
for our painted journal artworks.

There is really only one way to describe
the food in Italy... FANASTIC!!!!!!!
I did not have one bad meal during my entire
visit and have truly missed tasting the fresh
produce, meats, cheeses, eating the savory
dishes, gelato, pastries, and visiting the
large weekly food market.

Wild Boar is a regional favorite. Although
I was not sure if I wanted to partake in the
delicacy, I did try it and was surprised that
it tasted just like pork.

Visiting meat and cheese shops, buying
fresh from the farmer's market gave us the
opportunity to enjoy picnicking together
more than once in the courtyard of the
convent. These were some of my favorite
meal times.

We were so lucky to be able to
participate in the most interesting
excursions. Bill and Kristin had
a different experience for us each
and every day. My favorite was the
cooking class at Zeppelins. Chef
Lorenzo was a RIOT! He had us all
laughing so hard and having a
great time. I was so sad that I
forgot to snap pictures, of course
it would have been hard since I
was in charge of making dough
for the Focaccia Bread, Calzone,
and Pizza we were having for dinner.
I was COVERED in flour and olive
oil. But I invite you to visit this
Adventure's In Italy post to see
some of the pictures Bill took during
our evening in the kitchen.

Another favorite was the trip to the
Palazzone vineyard, such an impressive
facility and of course, a nature
lover's paradise!

For our final excursion, we visited the
magnificent ornate cathedral of Orvieto,
the Duomo. Unfortunately, we were not
allowed to take photographs of the
the frescos inside. However, I captured
the most break-taking images of
angel sculptures decorating the outside
that I can't wait to show you in my next


Barbara L. said...

These are wonderful pics and bring back memories of my trip five years ago. What a wonderful place. I look forward to seeing your Part 2.
(I enjoyed meeting your tired person in the airport in Charlotte on your way home!)

Lisa said...

Oh boy-this makes me so excited to return! I'm so so glad your trip was wonderful!-we'll have to try to coordinate our trips so we can go together-wouldnt that be FUN!?

Peggy said...

I was in Orvieto last summer so I am happy to see all these photos. Brings back lots of good memories.

Anonymous said...

I just loved seeing all this, having heard so much about it from Bill & Kristi, and communicating with them whilst you were there. Do please post some of the artworks from your class. Everything looks such fun - what a marvellous adventure.

Pat said...

I think I'm the only one who has never been to Italy! Your photos are exquisite and give me a feeling of actually being there! What a beautiful place!

Jane LaFazio said...

oh yea!!!

Nina and/or Ruthie66 said...

Wow! I wanna go too! What a wonderful account of your magnificent trip. ~Nina in San Diego~

Anonymous said...

Well, firstly, congrats on the new teaching gig, not too shabby. It was nice to get a feel for Italy, someday I hope to take a donkey venture there, going to Francis of Assisi forests. Your room at the convent was pure and lovely.

Katherine/Apifera Farm

peggy aplSEEDS said...

how wonderful! thanks for sharing these lovely pictures. how amazing and wonderful for you to teach there! so inspiring for art to be in such a lovely place.