There are two kinds of temples in Italy: churches and restaurants. In Orvieto, we beheld God’s grandeur first at the duomo, and then we encountered the divine once again at lunch. In Orvieto, God truly is in the details, and, by details, I mean lasagna.
The bells announced noontide as we emerged from the cathedral into the piazza and the steady rain. What to do for pranzo? We picked our way across the slick cobblestones of the square and ducked into a narrow street that we hoped would lead us to the town center.You might wonder how someone could get lost in a town with a population of 20,000, but then, you’ve probably never traveled with us. We wandered up and down the wet, labrynthine streets and, for the first ten minutes, called it sight-seeing. But soon it was 12:30 and time for my favorite meal in Italy: il pranzo.
There are two ways to travel. We met a couple from Canada during our trip who boasted that they had meandered for three weeks through Switzerland, France and Italy without once making a reservation. The CE found this inspiring. And I, on the other hand, was horrified. So you can imagine our conversation as we stood in the rain in Orvieto, trying to decide what to do for lunch.
“Let’s just find a place that’s open.”
“No. I’ll Google.”
“Put your phone away. There are no bad restaurants in Italy.”
“But I just want to seeeeeeeeeee…”
I quickly found the name of a celebrated restaurant, but finding the actual restaurant was a different story. If you go missing in Italy, you may never be found, because amidst a maze of narrow, walled streets, your GPS signal jumps around like a ping-pong ball.
“I think we go this way.”
Rain is much less romantic after you’ve trudged around in it for twenty minutes. We finally asked someone where to find Trattoria del Moro Aronne, and so should you, because it is not easy to find and it is absolutely the place where you want to have lunch.
It was well past 12:30, and we could hear pots and pans rattling in the kitchen, but the restaurant remained shuttered. When we returned ten minutes later, it was open and the tiny dining room was almost full. Luckily, there was room for us, and we had one of the best meals of our trip.The God-moment arrived in the form of the Nidi di Rondine, which describes a sort of round lasagna but which tastes like heaven. I am not generally a fan of lasagna, but this is less lasagna and more art form. It was really, really, good and I apologize to the CE for eating half of his lunch.
After seeing all those hirsute boar parts dangling in the salumerias, a reasonable person might order a vegetarian lunch, but I took it as a sign and ordered the Pappardelle al Cinghiale. I was not disappointed. They know what to do with a wild boar in the hills of Umbria.It was still raining after lunch, but we were warmed by lasagna and cinghiale and the impeccable hospitality of Trattoria del Moro Aronne. I would like to have lingered in the shops that lined the streets of Orvieto, but we had to get back to our car and press onward.
Next post: Tuscany!