Authored by Kendall College student Kim Haines
We made our way to Orvietto today to trail 248 steps down a well. Orvietto means “old town,” in Italiano. The stairs were wide and long as they were made accessible for donkeys to go up and down to carry buckets of water up the well.
The well was dark and gritty, but there were windows inside, that would allow the light to shine through from the top. Looking down the well could possibly give you vertigo and if you have a fear of heights like myself, it could also give you a panic attack. Eventually, we made our way to the center of the bottom of the well. We stood on a small bridge that covered the little amount of water left on the bottom. The sun shining through the top of the well reflected off the euro coins in the water that were once used to make a wish. “You have to throw the coin over your head, behind you, to make a wish,” said Aurore. This is how they do it in Italy.
We tediously climbed back up the 248 stairs, stopping for asthma breaks along the way. For standing on our feet all day in culinary school, you would think we would be more prepared and in shape for this. Well, we definitely were not. We finally made it back to the top where some of us felt like puking up a lung. We have definitely achieved much needed exercise over this trip, which makes us feel a little less guilty for consuming all of the carbohydrates thus far. Man down!
We then walked down the tree lines streets to the center of the town. The old side walks were filled with fallen chestnuts and colorful leaves. When did the seasons change? Wasn’t it summer when we had arrived? It is said to be good luck to carry chestnuts in your pocket during the winter in Italy to avoid sickness and common colds.
We stumbled upon this duomo (Cathedral) that was simply stunning. I could sit here and try to explain its beauty in detail, but there are no words. See for yourself!
We were only allowed pictures of the outside of the church, but what I can you about the inside was that it was an out of body experience. This cathedral could fit ten thousand of your closest friends for a royal wedding. Ava Maria began to play and it really gave you the whole effect. It was an emotional experience. I was in complete awe. We made our way to lunch, where Marco joined us. The owners closed off the restaurant to the outside world and Nona (grandmother), husband and wife, cooked for us. If this is not an authentic Italian culinary experience, then I don’t know what is. The restaurant contained these underground catacombs.
We were served a bread basket full of dough characters, and an antipasti dish full of breads and a saffron sauce. The second course had three small portions; pasta and mushrooms, pasta and tomato, and a ravioli stuffed with ricotta and squash. Three is the magical number in Italy as it represents the holy trinity. The dessert was the highlight of this meal as it contained four different small portions. Breads, creams, layers of mouse, and fresh fruits, such as figs, were responsible for this course. Grazie, Nona!
We spent the rest of the day cancelling trips to vineyards to wonder the streets of the town, getting espresso, gelato, and more.
For dinner, we traveled back in time to a medieval experience. It was not exactly the Medieval Times we are use to, but it is pretty close. It is the Italian way of medieval. We learned about herbs. Herbs were used as a medicinal product rather than a spice during that time. We were also introduced to the production of candles, since there was no electricity. Candles were made from bees wax, which only the rich would use. Did you know that the poor/peasant people could only afford candles made out of animal fat rather than the bees wax? Do you know what that smells like? Non va bene.
The four-course dinner was served on a credenza. It was presented with a band, a presentation, a costume change, and dancing. Needles to say, we all very much enjoyed ourselves. Maybe a little too much…
When you are put on a trip with people that you may not know, there is a chance that you may or may not get along. We are all from different walks of life, different cultures, and different beliefs. But at the end of the day, we are all brought together by a common denominator, and that is Italy. We all love to travel, we love food, and there has always been an interest in the great country of Italia. We are brought together by that idea alone. We must remind ourselves how lucky we are to be on this trip, because there are a lot of those who wished they could have accompanied us, but could not, for whatever reason.
Tonight we said goodbye to Marilena and Giulia. They both have been with us since the beginning, especially Giulia, whom picked us up from the airport. Thank you for taking care of us and listening to our needs. You are some of the kindest and most welcoming people we have met. You are gracious and patient. Thank you for your knowledge, your heritage, and for sharing a little bit of your spirit with us. Ciao! Ti amo.
“Time to go,” said Marco as the clock struck midnight. Our bus was beginning to turn into a pumpkin. This would be our last night in Perugia. Arrivederci, Perugia, thank you for sharing your magic with us. Until we meet again.
Wish you were here,