I enjoy a “field day” today with no limits on the taking of photographs of interiors in the Duomo in the hilltop town of Orvieto.
The fields along the way are also worth a picture or two (and worth risking driver Edmundo”s wrath for wanting to stop in impossible places on narrow mountainous roads).
|Sunflowers in bloom and others past their prime make for a colourful landscape. You can understand why I asked Edmundo to stop on a bridge!
|Vineyards and the rich soil of a valley high in the mountains on the way to Orvieto
After finding ourselves on the cliff top in Orvieto, we walk through the dark medieval streets and alleys. We come upon a light filled square where the glittering facade of mosaics, marble and bronzes on the 13th century cathedral rises skywards. It is said to be the finest example of Italian-Gothic religious architecture.
|The foundations of the Cathedral were laid in 1290. This coincided with the period of maximum splendour of the city of Orvieto at the centre of a far-flung territorial dominion.
The most exciting and eye-catching part is its golden frontage, which is decorated by large bas-reliefs and statues with the symbols (Angel, Ox, Lion, Eagle) of the Evangelists created by Maitani and collaborators (between 1325 and 1330) standing on the cornice above the sculptured panels on the piers.
|Mosaic with the Coronation of the Virgin in the central gable of the facade
|Marble bas-reliefs with stories of the Old Testament adorn the lower piers of the facade.
One small section shows the Creation of Adam and Eve.
|14th century bronze of the figure representing the evangelist Mark on the piers in the facade
The colourful decoration in the San Brizio chapel depicts scenes from the End of the World – the Resurrection of the Flesh; the Damned; and Paradise. It is largely the work of Luca Signorelli, who Michelangelo is said to have admired before he even commenced on his masterpiece work in the Sistine Chapel. I look on this as a mini-Sistine Chapel experience, without the crowds, and I”m allowed to take photos.
My Picasa web album at the end of this post has more photos of the amazing detail.
|The flip out and rotating view finder in my Canon G11 lets me take some amazing ceiling shots in the San Brizio side Chapel in the Duomo.
|The Resurrection of the Flesh
|The Resurrection of the Flesh in close-up
|The Prostitute of the Apocalypse (representing the sinful city of Babylon) being taken down to Hell by the devil
|The Damned and the demons
|The Preaching of the antichrist with the Archangel Michael sending fire from heaven
Empedocles, the Greek philosopher born in Agrigentum, a Greek city in Sicily in 490 BC, who established the four ultimate elements which make all the structures in the world – fire, air, water, earth, peers out from one of the lower wall panels in the chapel.
|One of the narrow streets in Orvieto with the old Tower in the background. We stop for pasta with fresh porcini mushrooms in a small piazza. We also needed a bottle of the chilled Orvieto Classico Superiore, a medium-dry local wine
On the way home, we take the slower mountainous route out of Orvieto to visit another of the famous hilltop towns, Todi.
|We stop in the main piazza of Todi for an ice cream and a macchiato
Click on the Picasa slideshow to view in full screen, or to go through the photos with captions.