Another visit comes to an end. When I lament to friends about how much I will miss Orvieto, invariably one of them will say to me, “Oh, don’t worry. It will be exactly the same when you return. In Orvieto, nothing ever really changes.” In my absence, I cling tight to the comfort of this statement and hope that what they say is true: In Orvieto, time is suspended.
As if deposited by a time machine from the past, Medieval Orvieto is a contradiction of ancient and modern, a paradox of now and then; a throwback to a simpler era. Centered near the birthplace of the Cittaslow movement (whose logo, coincidentally, is a snail), life inside these tufo walls moves at an easy pace – causing one’s blood pressure to plummet and heart rate to slow.
Orvietani march to a dreamy drummer and are not particularly in a hurry to get where they’re going. In this village, lunchtime lasts 3 hours and includes a nap, and buying a stamp can take almost as long as the letter’s journey to its destination. One’s social life is not planned too far in advance, but typically made up of chance encounters and spontaneous invitations.
Its unique cocktail of sophistication and culture is unusual for a town of its size and population, however, before you decide if Orvieto is the right place for you, ask yourself this important question: “Do I crave the excitement of a metropolitan life?” If the answer is yes, buy yourself a one-way train ticket to Rome, because “hustle and bustle” definitely don’t live around here.