Enchanting side streets and courtyards
As usual, I loved exploring Orvieto’s backstreets. But somehow I haven’t been in the city’s eastern part (east of the duomo), only in the western one. And again it proved that once I was off the main axis which is west of Piazza della Repubblica in Orvieto’s case, I was almost the only foreigner. It was so quiet, so serene and I found many surprising sights. When I walked through Via Malabranca, which runs parallel albeit at higher elevation of Via della Cava, I saw an open door (no 22) to a yard and peeked inside. Wow, what a sight! A beautiful courtyard with arcades and a fountain in the middle and flowers all over. This is Palazzo Filippeschi Petrangeli (or Simoncelli, according to the plaque) of 15th century.
Visit the Chapel of the Blessed Corporal
The Duomo has two spectacular chapels, each of which requires a separate admission unless you've bought the Orvieto master pass. The Chapel of the Blessed Corporal commemorates the Miracle of Bolsena. Joan Carroll Cruz, in her book, "Eucharistic Miracles", tells the tale thus: In 1263 a German priest, Peter of Prague, stopped at Bolsena while on a pilgrimage to Rome. He is described as being a pious priest, but one who found it difficult to believe that Christ was actually present in the consecrated Host. While celebrating Holy Mass, he had barely spoken the words of Consecration when blood started to seep from the consecrated Host and trickle over his hands onto the altar and the corporal. The priest first attempted to hide the blood, but then he interrupted the Mass and asked to be taken to nearby Orvieto, where Pope Urban IV was then residing. The Pope listened to the priest's account and sent emissaries to Bolsena for an immediate investigation. When all the facts were ascertained, he ordered the Bishop of the diocese to bring to Orvieto the Host and the linen cloth bearing the stains of blood. With archbishops, cardinals and other Church dignitaries in attendance, the Pope met the procession and, amid great pomp, had the relics placed in the cathedral. One year after the miracle, in August of 1264, Pope Urban IV instituted the feast of Corpus Christi (the body of Christ).
In order to display the relics appropriately, Ugolino di Vieri was commissioned in 1337-1338 to fashion a reliquary which could be transported through the streets to better impress the faithful. The Chapel itself came a little later; it was built in 1350, and is enclosed by a wrought iron gate by Matteo di Ugolino da Bologna (1355-1362). In addition to the reliquary of the corporal, the altar features a window within which one can view the blood-stained linen. Oddly, one tends to pay more attention to the reliquary, which looks much more imposing; it is an intricately wrought creation of silver, enamel, and gilt which mimics the facade of the Duomo itself. It stands about three feet high, and features twenty-four scenes of the life of Christ and eight stories about the Miracle of Bolsena. The Chapel also incorporates the 1320 painting of the Madonna dei Raccommandati by Lippo Memmi, and a set of frescoes (restored in the nineteenth century) with stories from the Bible as well as a semi-historical series on the institution of Corpus Christi.
The chapel is a low-light area. If you deposit a few coins in the electric slot, various portions of the chapel are briefly lit so that they can be better appreciated.
Museum time, Part II (Emilio Greco)
In the neighboring Palazzo Soliano to the right of the Duomo, you will find the largest and most important of the Orvieto papal residences. The ground floor of this building has been transformed to house the Museo Emilio Greco, with 32 sculptures and 60 graphics donated by the artist, representing works from 1947-1990. Greco became deeply attached to Orvieto after sculpting the bronze doors of the Duomo in 1964.
This was an oddly satisfying experience for me. I'm not much of a "modern" art fan, but the museum -- with its ramps and even a spiral staircase, allowing the visitor to view the pieces from different heights and angles -- is exquisite. One can sit and contemplate for awhile, and there is much to contemplate; Greco's minimalist limning of the female form is impressive.
Magic views from the viewpoint at sunset
Southwest of Orvieto, on the road to Lago Bolsena, Civita Bagnoregio and further on to Lazio (SS/SR 71) a very much convenient little snack bar with parking space is located. If you want to have a really spectaculat view of the city, how it sits on the plateau and how much the duomo really dominates Orvieto, this is the place to go. Of course the best time is either sunset or sunrise, because then the duomo’s façade will look like covered with gold. There is a terrace and the meadows below are spacious enough that you won’t need to fear an emmigration of the nations, erm… travellers or locals. When I was in Orvieto in April 2008, I stopped here every evening on my way back to Locanda Rosati and not many people were there. I assume it is more in summer. Despite the obviously very popular and convenient location the snack bar prices are not that expensive. The bar offers caffè, wine, juices, snacks, salads and soups. You can sit down on their terrace or take your choices one level above and admire the view. Or bring your own snacks and drinks.
south of Orvieto, take SS/SR 71 west, direction Lago Bolsena/Viterbo/Roma and after the little village of Gabelletta it is on your left after a hairpin curve.
The funny town walk
This is decoration of a certain store.
The unique masks in character with Italy and the accessories of fruit
are china and skillful coloring are carried out.
The stores which sell the souvenir things that are funny and lovely like this, are across this town.
It is pleasant for to take a walk.
When I got out the main passage, there was an alley of quiet appearance.
I seemed that the alley left a medieval atmosphere as it was.
when I was in Rome, I would not get the nice feeling.
The stores which sell many interesting things stand in a row in the main street.
There are mainly much colorful potteries.
These are the specialtys of this land.(Orvieto)
It is also pleasant to carry out window shopping while your walking.
The crowd was made. I coud hear melody.
I looked in and saw him. He is a "street performer."
Water is put into a glass, it is touched and sound is made.
By the difference in the quantity of delicate water,
he changed sound and played the music.
His "the lake of the swan" is nice work.
Big ripple of applause was arisen after the end of his performance.
I think that he is an artist.
"The Symbol of this towm"
When you go the main street,
there is a high clock tower almost in the middle of this town.
Some passages have spread in north, south, east and west from this tower.
Since this tower can be seen wherever you may be in [ of this town ].
If this is made a mark and you walk,
you do not lost your way and can hold your position .
It is the most important mark of a town walk.
There was a church which left "the medieval figure"
beside the city government building as it was.
This church was classic.
"The inner of this church"
Contrary to my anticipation, the inside of this church was gorgeous.
Skillful fresco paintings are drawn on the wall and Virgin Maria is deified in the altar.
It was solemn atmosphere in it.
I prayed for my safety of the trip and offered the prayer of gratitude.
I went out this church.
"Where is going ?"
When I came out this church, the way devide into two.
Acording for advice of person in sightseeing office, originally here ,
it must be only one way.The map became such as.
Why? Moreover, nobody was around here.
I was pazzled about this.
Which way sould I take ?