From the moment I arrived, every second was filled with sweet moments, breath-taking ancient architecture and inviting oldness, narrow cobblestone streets begging to be explored and with every turn calling me further, gentle rolling sheep dotted hills, and peaceful countryside that went on forever.
When my luggage was lost for almost 4 days, I decided to change my plans and stay in Orvieto the entire 2 weeks that I would be in Italy, and I'm so glad I did. My visit was more relaxed than if I had tried to see so many places in such a short amount of time. I was able to feel the country rather than just see it, and take time to experience it more deeply and in more detail. I got to know Orvieto and felt a bit like I was part of it rather than just visiting. I walked miles each day, sometimes on trails around "the rock", and sometimes zig-zagging back and forth exploring every street and turn. I began recognizing a few store owners that I passed regularly, and they began smiling back in recognition. (this store is actually in Rome but it's so wonderful that I wanted to show you)
When I return to teach again in September 2012, I hope to stay a bit longer so I can see the wonderful places that I missed this time, but also to explore the layers of ancient Orvieto once again. The light in Italy is what struck me most I think. As the light and color changed throughout the day, the mood changes as well. I enjoyed walks on bright, crisp mornings, feeling the newness of the day, and watching people hanging out of windows pinning laundry to endless lines alongside the buildings.
During late afternoon, everything was filled with inspiring tones, richness, and deep soothing color. I loved seeing every-day life rather than tourist attractions (although I must admit, seeing Roman Ruins was incredible). I wandered and watched people return home from shopping, working, or whatever had filled their day, and thought about how amazing it was to experience a tiny bit of this world so far away from everything I'm familiar with. Do you ever think about that when you go somewhere? You are there at that exact moment seeing things that would be going on whether you were there or not. Makes me feel tiny in a big world, but then again, it also makes me want to make the most of every moment no matter where I am. My favorite time of day in Orvieto was when the sun lowered enough to soften the harsh contrast of light and shadow, turning everything the most amazing and deep shades of pink and gold.
I loved taking photos during that time of day. The town glowed with quiet, soft, golden hues for an hour or so, then suddenly came alive again when the sun set, and the nearly empty streets were filled with lights, and people chatting, laughing, eating, and enjoying each others company. So much to share! I need to stop here, but tomorrow the adventure will continue. I have wonderful class photos to share, many many more of Orvieto beauty, shots of my time in Rome, cemetery photos, and an incredible day driving around with Erika, a local resident who showed myself and 2 workshop attendees a day of perfection in the Umbrian countryside. It was all so amazing...