|The countryside is changing. We've gone from the winding coastal mountain roads, down to the flatter inland areas & now into the rolling hills of Tuscany. Quite some contrasts. At least we had a couple of days of relatively straight & level roads & the diesel price has dropped considerably. We have seen a range now from €1.23/ltr up to €1.55/ltr.
One small problem today when I mistook a diversion sign for a keep left sign only to find five miles down the road that it was in fact closed. So it was back five miles venting a few expletives about poor Italian diversion signs.
We still got to Orvieto by lunch time & found our Sosta down below the imposing old hilltop town. After lunch we took our third funicular train trip up to the top of the hill to check out the town. It was all narrow streets & lanes dominated, as usual, by a large fancy cathedral. We gave this one a miss as they charge visitors & I object to any church that charges people to go in.
Instead we did pay to visit the underground caves below the town. The whole hillside is peppered with over 1,200 caves that have been dug out over many many years ago. It is strange that only last December when we were in Turkey we visited whole underground cities that were excavated from similar volcanic deposits. Our guide explained that some in the past housed grinding wheels & presses for making olive oil. Apparently the high humidity in the caves was ideal.
There were also caves at the edge of the hill which were used as pigeon lofts complete with lots of little nesting holes cut in the walls. A large number of caves were also dug out & used as wine cellars but a ban is now in place on any further excavations. The place is like a Swiss cheese as it is.
Mileage today - 138
Total Mileage to date - 1,462