This afternoon around 3:30pm was a beautiful rainstorm. The clouds had begun gathering hours before, but patches of blue and light had also been in the sky. But by 3:30, the sky was overcast and the rain began like in movies. You know in movies when the rain just starts pouring and it seems so unrealistic? It was almost like that—a few big drops, and then-BAM-a down pour that eventually became a sideways pour. It only lasted maybe half an hour, but it was enough to fog the windows.
Around 6ish, I decided to take a walk. I wanted to explore a bit of Orvieto; although I have been here many times, and it’s been three months that I’ve been back, there is still a lot of the city I haven’t discovered. Just the other day, I found the path that leads from one of the playgrounds alone the side of the rupa that goes all the way to Piazza Cahen. So, I went out with my camera, a scarf, and a jacket. The temperature had dropped to about 45, or at least it felt like it had. I contemplated going back home for my gloves, but decided not to. I wandered past San Giovenale to the edge of the cliff where there is a view that looks out onto Gabelletta and Tamburino, where we had spent two months of the summer. The sun wasn’t quite setting. Sunsets here are nothing like those of my home, but the view of the valley is still impressive. Green is a color I’m still not used to; a deep sort of green, at least, not like the leathery greens of cacti. From there, I saw a sign mentioning a giardino, a garden. I wandered through a gate and down some uneven steps to a part of the cliff that was overgrown with uncut grass. Two or three benches had been placed under some trees, although I wondered if anyone ever used them.
Nearby were two hollows that could be called caves. One was larger, and someone had spray painted something on a ledge inside: bright red, it looked like a warning. A sheet was hanging so as to block the back of the cave. If someone was living there or just setting it up as a hideout, I wasn’t sure. The image was eerie, though, especially since I couldn’t read the graffiti.
From there I wandered back towards the main road, Corso Cavour. A detour or two later, I found graffiti that said, “Hitler puzzava” (Hitler stunk) with a Communist hammer and sickle, which I found to be a slight understatement. I also took a photo of the shutters in one of the side streets. The shutters here are almost all green—in Siena, shutter colors are regulated by the comune. I’ve never asked if it’s the same here.
By the time I reached Corso Cavour, many people were out taking a stroll. Not as many as whne the weather is warmer, but shops were open and people were out. One brave soul I passed was eating a gelato. Pasqualetti will do that to you. I did some of my own shopping and decided that the chill warranted a hot chocolate. The first bar I stopped at didn’t have any! So, I went to Montanucci.
I have been anti-Montanucci since 2007 when they deliberately overcharged a friend for a bottle of wine, thinking that she was too blond to notice. Also, they charge ridiculous prices for their internet, when other places it’s free with any purchase. I know, I know, they’re a business, they have a right to charge for their services, but I guess the fact that guidebooks list it as a good place for internet really bothers me. Rick Steve’s I can understand, since most of his readers are middle-aged or retired, but Lonely Planet? Come on! There are at least two other cafes that offer internet with drinks and food that isn’t bad, either. Ok, rant is over. In any case, I went to Montanucci, and asked the barista for hot chocolate. With whipped cream. And although it was four euro, it was delicious. The whipped cream was some of the best I’ve ever had. I sat at a table, spooning out slurps of hot chocolate, reading D.H. Lawrence’s Etruscan Places, an account of his travels through Etruria, full of voice but arguably a lot of condescension towards the Italian locals who guided him in a lot of locales.
9ish meant dinner at home with Jeremy. Pasta with fresh gnocchi (we didn’t make it, but there are some great fresh pasta shops in town) and pesto, spinach salad and lemon vodka tonics. Overall, a lovely afternoon.