On the train to Orvieto.

NELL: Why did you want to go to Orvieto?

JENNY: I had read about Orvieto on the blog of another family—they went and loved it. The city has a funicular railway, which is always fun. There are underground caves, a cool well, it is a medieval city on a hill in Umbria

NELL: What did you think after we visited?

JENNY:  It lived up to my expectations!

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Wandering in Orvieto.

NELL: What did you find interesting?

ELI: I loved the caves and the Duomo from the outside. It was also fun to see Italian high school students playing soccer. And the St. Patrick’s Well, and the underground pigeon houses.

NELL: What about the outside of the Duomo did you like?

ELI: It had little patterns and statues carved all over it. It took a 100 years for them to finish it.

NELL: Where did you see soccer players?

View with the Duomo in the distance.

ELI: Mom made us go to see another “pretty view.” I heard people shout “nostra” which kids yell at my school. It means “ours” so I turned the corner and a bunch of kids were playing soccer.

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There were lots of cats along with the views.

NELL: What did you like most?

JENNY: I liked that it was quiet and had almost no cars, but there was still so much to see.

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One of the man-made underground caves. This one was used to house carrier pigeons, who were cheaper than chickens and could nest underground.

NELL: And why did you want to go?

SETH: I heard it was a cool place and wanted to visit Umbria. I read that the city was very dramatic because it is atop vertical bluffs, so it would have been difficult to attack from the ground. It was easy to get there, too—just an hour train ride from Rome.

NELL: What will you remember most from our trip?

SETH: Well, first, your lunch at ‪Trattoria Del Moro Aronne (‪via S. Leonardo, 7). Mom and I loved our spaghetti with anchovies, and Eli had a fantastic steak. But you ordered that unusual dish with the local, fresh pecorino and pasta rolled into a bird’s nest and roasted with honey. That was special. I loved the underground caves and had no idea that there were hundreds of them under the city. The  the 16th century well designed in the double helix pattern was amazing. And it was fun to sit outdoors at a bar in the middle of an ancient Etruscan city atop a hill watching a soccer game!

Pozzo di S. Patrizio (St. Patrick's well), built for the popes in case they had to flee Rome. This is the view looking down...

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NELL: Eli, is there anything you want to add?

ELI: I also loved eating pistachios while watching the soccer game (Milan Intercity versus Bologna) on a big TV outdoors in the old city. I also liked that I slept on a couch upstairs in a personal loft in our hotel room. It was a cool hotel with the breakfast room in a cave underneath.

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Here are the kids, part way down the well (there are spiral staircases winding up and down, built for donkeys to haul water up to the top)

NELL: Orvieto was a very interesting trip. There were lots of things to learn. Like the Etruscans digging a deep hole down the mountain in the middle of the city so that if the city was surrounded, they could still get water. They could make caves because the ground under the city is from a volcano and the ground is really soft. A lot of you would find it very interesting. I recommend it to my friends.

And here's the view from the bottom of the well looking back up. Phew!

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