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Report 1927: Orvieto for the Rome Wrecked and Lost

By carolstig from Illinois USA, Spring 2009

Trip Description: My travel companion and I parted for a day to escape Rome's chaos and too much togetherness. I discovered Orvieto.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Umbria

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Day Tours; Independent Travel; Single Traveler

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Page 1 of 4: Leaving Roma

photo by Stigger

/Orvieto's funicolare

I get lost. I’ve been lost in Italy, India, Russia, and Walmart. In Rome, I consistently made wrong turns, walking down one lane while Joan, my equally impaired companion, lobbies for a different direction. We agreed that being directionally challenged is not a hardship in Rome. Every street offered an ancient statue not in the guidebook or a new gelato parlor. But getting lost together strains a friendship. Added to the stress of crowds so dense that the only way to see Trevi Fountain is to rent the movie and a heat wave that turned our maps into six soggy fans, we decided to part for a day.

She opted for a guided tour of Naples. I decided to visit Orvieto, a hill town an hour train ride from Rome. When the tour van picked her up, I questioned my decision to travel alone. But Termini train station is one of the few places I can locate with confidence. My point of no return would be when the train left the station. Trains are my abyss. I got lost in India, because station names are posted in the squiggles of Urdu. I have no excuse for arriving in Novgorod, Russia, instead of St. Petersburg.

Binarios, Funicolare, and Mini Bus B

Rows of ticket machines suggested I would not need to stand in a daunting line and miss the next three trains to Orvieto. The machine spat out round trip tickets and a receipt. It even returned my credit card. My confidence rose, and I set out to find my train. Departure signs were prominently posted, and even I figured out that “bin” (for binario) means platform. Binarios were well marked with the number, the train number, and all the stops.

My next challenge was to find the funicolare in Orvieto, but it was across the street from the train station. At the top of the hill, I had to choose between mini bus A and mini bus B. The choice was not the destination, but the scenery. Bus A goes directly to the main piazza with the 11th Century Duomo, Orvieto’s main attraction. Bus B stops first at Piazza della Republica, also a historic square, then twists around narrow medieval streets before ending up at the Duomo’s acres of multi-hued marble and mosaics.

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