Orvieto, Italy

July 2007

This had been the road trip where I literally had pages and pages of restaurant addresses, sample menus, hours of operation, etc., etc., which I thought would come in handy if we could stop along the way on our long drive from Venice to Positano.  Unfortunately, most of the restaurants I was particularly interested in were detours – some as long as an hour out of our way.  This being the summer of RV’s filled with vacationing Europeans, coupled with the enormous amount of truck traffic on the highways, (and thus massive delays and congestion on all the roads) detouring was not an option.  On our way back from Positano however, I put my foot down.  If we could see the town from the highway, it was doable.

Orvieto is a spectacularly walled Umbrian hill town that you can see from the autostrade.  It qualified as a detour.  I thought I had pretty specific instructions on where I Sette Consoli was located, a restaurant with a female chef, Anna Rita Simoncini and a member of the Jeunes Restaurateurs D’Europe, whom I had read much about.

“It’s right next to a church,” I kept saying to Lynn once we had parked the car and walked around the narrow streets for 35 minutes.

“Is it near the Duomo?” he asked.

“No, another church,” I said.

“How many churches are there in Orvieto?” he wondered aloud.

“Well, at least two,” I countered.  I was determined we were going to find this restaurant if it killed me. 

We finally stumbled across a small church off the beaten path and low and behold there was the restaurant.  We walked in and were greeted by the maitre d’ and led to our table.  That’s when we saw the Brits.  I have to say, I like Brits.  Most of them.  We’ve been to England; we’ve each known Brits personally but there’s just something about Brits and Brits in Italy in particular.  They become well, obnoxious. 

These Brits, a couple at least 10 years old than we were, had their three teenage sons with them and were drinking and laughing up a storm. (Why is it that the Brits always manage to look so well starched?  All three boys had perfectly creased trousers and ironed shirts while we on the other hand looked like we had slept in our clothes.)   That said, while they might have been properly attired, they were speaking English very loudly and frankly were a bit embarrassing.  They had rented a villa nearby and were discussing the problems with the rental and the apparently crappy shower.

“But there’s no water pressure in the villa,” the father kept insisting to one of the sons.

“You can turn the faucet on all the way, it’s still just a trickle,” he said.  There then ensued a conversation between them having something to do with a boiler, a screwdriver and a pair of pliers.

It’s times like these that Lynn and I have to go into silent mode.  Unfortunately, we, as Americans, find ourselves embarrassed by people who are quite simply speaking English much too loudly.  (And this goes for speakers on both sides of the pond.).  We did our best to ignore them and proceeded to eat a fabulous lunch.

Editors note: Read my review of I Sette Consoli in the RESTAURANT REVIEWS section. 

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