Today, we were headed out of the city on a special tour to Italy’s very tucked away places. We had booked the tour with a group online, and we were set to meet this morning at the train station in Rome, which was very close to our hotel.
After getting acquainted with our tour guide and our other tour mates, we piled into the car and got ready for the hour and a half drive to the special destination of the day: Civita di Bagnoregio. It’s about 120 kilometres north of Rome. Civita di Bagnoregio was founded more than 2,500 years ago and was the birthplace of Saint Bonaventure, who died in 1274.
Never heard of it before? That was me when it was first brought up while we were planning our itinerary. But then I googled it, and my first thought? We’re booking that tour.
It looked like a city floating in the middle of a lush green landscape, seemingly out of reach from civilization. It looked like a painting that would hang on the walls of one of America’s great libraries, or a picture in a fairy tale that every princess would dream of living in.
Our tour guide dropped us off at the entrance, and we walked along the stone path, suspended in the heavens, towards the town. There were so many photos to take, and so much to wonder over. We got such a great view of the surrounding countryside and green hills, and as the city loomed over us as we got closer, my heart rate started to quicken.
Inside, a nice leisurely walk allows you to see many of its hidden treasures.
It was the place to be. The air felt different, our mood was elevated, and we were in awe to be standing in this place. When you really think about it, one is lucky to be able to visit this place just once in their life. We had a good feeling we probably would never be coming back, so we tried to savour the experience and capture as many memories as possible in the form of photographs.
After we travelled back across the stone pathway back to reality, we travelled to our second and last stop for the tour, which was Orvieto, a small city perched on a rock cliff in Umbria, Italy. It’s been described as being between heaven and the earth, and boasts over 3000 years of history.
Here, we were given three hours of free time to walk around, grab a bite to eat, and lounge around for a bit. We walked around the streets, and went from one end of the city to the other.
Our empty stomachs were calling us to the Italian food offered in the area, so we had a late lunch in the main piazza that had the Orvieto Cathedral, which is perhaps the most grand monument in the area. We had a nice lasagna, a nice cheese platter (because why not?) and our pick of wine and beer for the day (also, why not?).
At the end of our free time, we said goodbye to Orvieto, and with our tour group, we made our way back to the train station in Rome. Instead of going out again at night, our fatigued feet were begging for rest, so we went up to the rooftop bar in the hotel and watched the sunset with a few glasses of wine. After all, this was part of the reason we had booked the hotel in the first place.
We got a nice panoramic view of the city below us, and of the few towering monuments around us. If you looked closely enough, you could see the Vatican, with St. Paul’s Cathedral lit up, in the distance.
We let the last few rays of the sun wash over us and warm us up like the wine. Looking back, that night stands out in my memory from the whole trip because of the simplicity of it all. It was just us and the balcony. Us and the sunset. Us and Rome.
And it was enough, so much more than enough.
We headed to bed, ready for another full day’s adventure in the heart of Rome the next day.