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Nov 21, 2007 11:42 AM

Ideas for Orvieto?

We're considering an overnight in Orvieto after touring the town, rather than returning to Spoleto for our last night before moving onward to Roma and our flight home. The hotel situation in the centro storico seems pretty grim. But driving back to a country hotel on dark and winding roads, after a fine dinner in the centro, does not appeal either. Can anyone recommend a good country hotel not too far from town, with first-class food of its own that won't make us wish we'd stayed in the centro after all?

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  1. Albergo Rosati is a few km south of town. Perhaps a dozen rooms all decorated with woodwork and sculptures from Michalangeli's shop downtown. When we stayed there for a few nights another Yank couple said that they spent three weeks there every year. The megacourse dinner goes on with boarders and neighbors until the wine and grappa is gone and is enthusiastically presided over by the owner himself.

    BTW, I Sette Consoli in Orvieto Alto is my favorite restaurant in all of Italy. I train from Rome to rent a car there and lunch at ISC.

    1. I highly doubt its so grim - its quite a wealthy stylish little old town in its way. Our early trips to Italy were all spent staying in the very lowest ranked hotels in Michelin in small cities all over, - they were all surprisingly good, comfortable beds, etc. I wouldnt write it off at all - a night in Orvieto. looking out over the hills and walking through the streets which are full of cafes and interesting food stores and above all eating in one of the excellent restaurants there (several listings in slowfood) would be extremely pleasant. (as I recall from those "old days" the Maitani was high rated by Michelin - maybe it is still.

      1. What do you mean by grim? Anything less than five stars? The Maitani, Aquila Bianca, and Piccolomini are all perfectly fine, and within walking distance of the excellent Giglio d'Oro, right by the Duomo, which I (and others) like much better than the better-known Sette Consoli. Quite close to town is La Badia, a beautiful hotel and restaurant (never eaten there), but I don't see that there's much need to leave town in the evening.

        5 Replies
        1. re: mbfant

          Thanks to the commenters. Never having stayed in a "five star" hotel in my life, what I meant by "grim" was the prospect of "Motel 6 furnishings" in "dirty and dusty" "small rooms" with "paper-thin walls" and "tiny bathrooms," dysfunctional air-conditioning, and a breakfast buffet that runs out of food well before the announced end of the breakfast hour (each remark by a different Web commenter re the Piccolomini, generally written up as the best in town); or a staff that "could win prizes for indifference if they could be bothered" (the cleverest of several such Web comments re the Maitani). Even the budget-oriented mass market guidebooks, for all their usual cheerleading style, are unimpressed. Like Ms. Kalb,in the "old days" we too stayed in low-ranked Michelin hotels all over Italy and France, and thought ourselves lucky to be there. But these days we prefer something a little more comfortable, not to mention atmospheric. Hence this inquiry. Further suggestions would be most welcome.

          1. re: hoftraveler

            I recently stayed at La Badia for one night -- we had to go to a party in Orvieto and absolutely everything else was full. It had plenty of atmosphere -- it's built into an old abbey -- and is in a magnificent spot. We found the level of luxury slightly less than the price warranted, but otherwise it was lovely (and full of Americans), with a good breakfast buffet. In season, there's also a beautiful pool. Actually the hotels I mentioned in the town have plenty of old-world atmosphere, and I've always found the people pleasant. They're more than adequate for a one-nighter and dinner at the Giglio d'Oro or Trattoria Etrusca. I don't know the Rosati, but it sounds good.

            The photo shows the view from our window at the Maitani the morning of our wedding. The wedding, at the Orvieto town hall, was extremely low key and the hotel had no idea what the small group of friends from the US and Rome was up to, but when my friend and I asked if there was someplace we could quickly change clothes after checking out, the cat got out of the bag. The hotel couldn't have been more accommodating, and even wrapped up a small gift for me that was waiting when I came back to change. The wedding lunch was at the Giglio d'Oro (they hadn't known it was a wedding either, just a party of 16), and it was splendid.

            1. re: mbfant

              Maureen -- Thanks so much for the detailed additional report, and best wishes on the occasion of your marriage if it was recent (or even if it wasn't). This is reassuring, especially as to the Maitani with its rep for "consistently surly service" (Frommer's Florence, Tuscany & Umbria, '06 ed.) Looks like we may be there after all, as La Badia and even the Palazzo Piccolomini already are fully committed. (Locanda Rosati does look good, but this will be somewhat of a special evening for us, and their communal dining policy somehow doesn't appeal.) Have you any impressions of the Hotel Duomo, which also is available?

              1. re: hoftraveler

                I think I've stayed at the Duomo but don't have a clear memory of it. It's right next to Giglio d'Oro and new or renovated, while the Maitani is definitely Old World (as is the pleasant Aquila Bianca).

                Thank you for your good wishes. We were married two years ago in the twentieth year of our partnership, so we didn't make a big thing of it. Franco has been consulting to Orvieto on traffic and transportation (the funicular, minibuses, parking, etc.) for about 25 years, and we love everything about Orvieto, not least its mayor, who had earlier introduced us to the Giglio d'Oro. It seemed the thing to do the deed in Orvieto and let him officiate, then all go to lunch at our fave restaurant.

                1. re: mbfant

                  Thanks again, Maureen (enjoyed your Website, too). Our problem now is too many choices. Turns out that La Badia isn't full after all, they just omitted initally to mention the availability of rooms other than suites. And while that was up in the air, which also was before seeing your reassuring report on the Maitani, we got to thinkng about Vissani, which now offers rooms. So now the question is, shall it be Vissani (at a higher room rate than even La Badia, not to mention astronomical menu prices), or La Badia, or the Maitani and Giglio d'Oro? Decisions, decisions. The whole remainder of the trip didn't get as complicated as this one, final night.

        2. La Badia was already posted....go with that....great place to stay!

          1. This is probably too late for hoftraveler, but others may benefit..There is a religious order L'Ordine Mercedario, running a retreat house called Villa Mercede. We wanted a "new experience" and decided to try it last Spring '07. It is located right next to the Duomo in the alto, and there is private parking. A simple breakfast is offered and the rooms are spartan but large and very comfortable. The location could not have been more perfect. We were given a key to the front door, there were no late hour restrictions. The ambiance of being in this place was enchanting. The beautiful thing -is it was 60 Euro / night. We stayed for three days and were delighted. Email Padre Franco at Snail mail: Villa Mercede - Casa Religiosa di Osoitalita
            Via Soliana 2, Orvieto, Italy 05018. Phone 0763-341766.
            I don't know if this website will help but try (left column- religious houses.
            Orvieto is an enchanting place. Take the tour through the underground caves in the heat of the afternoon, view the facade of the Duomo in the afternoon light - its a golden jewel, Visit the Brizio chapel and view the "Last Judgement" - really an eyeopener. There are many great places to eat, There are more celebrated restaurants on this board, I Setti Consoli of course, but for another less costly meal try Zepplin,