A short drive took us to the hill town of Orvieto, rising over 600 feet from the surrounding countryside on its plateau of rock.  We had to take a funicular up to the town and then a short bus ride to the Piazza del Duomo, which has the boldest and richest color of of the Italian Gothic cathedrals.  The facade is spectacular, with its many mosaics,  sculptures,  and low-reliefs.

The interior is also very interesting, with frescoes of the school of Orvieto, a wonderful Pietà by Scalza, completed about 1579.  The outstanding part of the interior was in the New Chapel, so called because the frescoes in it were begun by Fra Angelico in 1447.   Most of the work was then done by Signorelli from 1499-1504 and were probably the most impressive frescoes we saw on the trip, except perhaps by those of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. This was because of the brilliant color and the setting, being able to get so close to them in the relatively small chapel.  The main themes were the AntiChrist, the coronation of the chosen, the end of the world, hell, and the resurrection.


After such heavy material, we were ready for a wine-tasting at the agritoursimo before dinner, which again was a very large and delicious meal.

On to Pompeii.

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