Friday, March 11, 2016

Orvieto, Italy and a Wine Resort

After a wonderful weekend in outside of Rome, Mike and I said 'Caio!" to our friends and set off for a small town nearby called Orvieto in the Umbria area of Italy. We picked up our rental car from the airport and arrived in Orvieto for a late lunch.  I wish I had been able to take a few pictures of the drive to the town because the Italian countryside is as beautiful as everyone says it is. 

We arrived in Orvieto around one, just in time for a late lunch.  Orvieto is located on a hill overlooking the valley and, in order to get to the main city, it's easiest to park at the bottom and take the stairs/escalator up.  In doing so, you get great views like these.





By the time we found a restaurant, we were both starving.  We both had pasta and decided to split some wild boar.


The food was delicious and we were ready to hit the town after filling up on authentic Italian food. Over the next few days, we would visit a few small Italian towns, but I still think Orvieto is my favorite.  I loved the colors of the buildings and the small town feel it had. 






The main attraction in Orvieto is the cathedral and it's rightfully so.  We walked down one of the small streets to the end, only to find this beauty waiting for us.


 Once inside, the decor (mainly the stripes) was different from some of the other churches we'd seen, but still gorgeous.














 After spending a little while in the church, we walked around the town a little bit longer before hitting the road.


In order to get back to our car, we had to climb back down the stairs, which meant a few more glimpses at this....





We wanted to try a wine tasting at a winery nearby,Tenuta Levelette.  I'm not sure what we did wrong, but we did not end up in the wine tasting room.  Instead, we were in their storage room with a guy who spoke no English.  He did give us a tasting, which was nice, but the language barrier was definitely present.   Despite that hurdle, the wine was great and we bought a bottle.




As the sun began to set, we hopped back in the car and headed to our hotel for the night.  We found Altarocca Wine Resort on Booking.com and were excited to find out what a wine resort really was.  It sounded right up our alley.  

We usually try to minimize the cost we spend on housing just because we really don't spend that much time in our hotel room. One of the great things about traveling in the off-season is the ability to stay at nicer locations for a lower price.  This was definitely one of those locations.  Our room was larger than we're used to, we had a little balcony, and the bathroom had a shower with lots and lots of water pressure.  Oh and did I mention the wifi was fast.  All sacrifices we usually make, but when we don't have to, we're happy Hogans!

The view from our balcony.  Rough life we live.

We were happy to have a nicer hotel for the night and spent more time than usual enjoying our room.  We have learned that it's definitely worth splurging a little on a nicer room towards the end of a big trip.  Your body (especially your back and feet) and your sanity will appreciate it. 

After using the fast wifi to upload some pictures and browse Facebook, we decided to go see if we could do a wine tasting.  It was a wine resort after all!  When we got to the bar, we were kind of surprised to find that we needed a reservation for the wine tasting, despite the fact that no one was at the bar.  We were especially disappointed to find out that the next reservation that could be made was for the next day in the afternoon.  We had places to be and people to see, so that was a no go. We roamed the property for a little while before deciding to return to the bar for a drink before our dinner reservation at eight (luckily we had made one of those when we checked in!).

We ordered a drink and chatted it up with the bar tender.  She was from Orvieto and was anxious to hear what was on our itinerary.  While we were getting recommendations for her about Italian travel, she ended up letting us taste a few of the wines.  We essentially did a wine tasting, so I'm confused why we needed a reservation, but c'est la vie. 

We had dinner reservations at eight, so we made our way to the restaurant.  When we checked in, the lady was insistent that we make dinner reservations if we wanted to eat on the property that evening.  When we walked into the restaurant, this is what we were greeted with.



You can see why we needed a reservation.  Not. Another family did join us later on, but the vast majority of the restaurant was empty.  The food was delicious, though, and definitely worth staying on the property for.  Overall, though, the wine resort kind of rubbed us the wrong way.  Our room was really nice and comfy, which was nice after a few weeks of travel, but we felt like the hotel itself kind of nickel and dimed us on the other stuff. 

Anyways, it was a great night at the wine resort with delicious food and comfortable bed, which was very nice after a  wonderful day of sightseeing.  I loved the small town feel of Orvieto and the charm of the Italian countryside.  I'll go back any day!

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