Wining & Dying

The Tiber Valley in the Nature Reserve of Alviano wasn’t too exciting until the fog lifted.


Let me start from the beginning… our mountain bike tour began in central Rome at Top Bike Rental with our very Italian guide, Daniele. He led us a short distance through morning traffic to Termini to catch a train to take us north of the city. About an hour later, we were eating breakfast and hoping the shroud of fog impairing our view of the countryside would soon burn off.

Lucky for us, it eventually did. Along the way, we would get an occasional glance of our destination. It usually looked far off and somewhat above us.


Then there it was, only a bridge away, the dying town of Civita di Bagnoregio.

Erosion and seismic activity have nearly destroyed this Etruscan town and its residents now number as low as 12 in the winter months.

What remains may be tiny but is absolutely charming,

inside and out.

More time to explore, visit the museum, have a drink, and a fresh-out-of-the-brick-oven brushetta would have been agreeable, but we had dinner reservations elsewhere and needed to be on our way.

Back on the bikes, we passed some Maremmana cattle but kept our distance.

Again, we would get a few teasers of our next stop, which usually looked far off and somewhat above us.

Then, instead of trudging uphill on the bikes, we loaded them in and out of a funicular in about all of 10 minutes. Before I could even take a picture, we were in Orvieto headed to the Piazza della Repubblica.

From there, we pedaled a short way to see the Church of Saint Francis and our first peek at the Duomo.

The outside of the Duomo, Orvieto Cathedral, is breathtaking.

The inside isn’t terribly shabby, either.

Back outside, we walked all of 50 feet or so to Cantina Foresi for dinner and wine tasting.

The wines were local, the food typical Umbrian cuisine, and the owners warm and welcoming.

It was a delightful evening but after 6 courses, each accompanied by its own bottle of wine, I vaguely recall something about a clock moon and looking for the Wizard of Oz. Questa è la vita!


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