After a very boozy flight (who thought it was was good idea for me and Sam to fly together) we arrived at Fiumicino Airport . Sam had a quick ‘power’ nap as we waited to pick up the hire car before we hit the road and made our way across to the beautiful little town Bagnoregio, about two hours north of Rome.
There’s so many of us in our friendship group (especially when you add boyfriends) so we hired two huge villas to fit us all in. We made our way across to the first villa where everyone was lounging out by the pool and making lunch. We chilled out with them for a bit and enjoyed our first aperol spritz of the trip whilst the guys played football out on the lawn.
Soon, we hopped into Tor’s car and made our way across to our villa. It was a gorgeous rustic (very rustic) Italian home right in the middle of the beautiful countryside. It was perfect! We all got settled, chose our bedrooms, showered and made our way out the door for the first organised wedding activity of the trip.
We all met up at the Custodi vineyard which was about a 45 minute drive from Bagnoregio towards the town of Orvieto. Imy wasn’t able to join us but it was lovely to see the groom, Mike, who we had spent a lot of time with whilst in Perth.
The owner of the vineyard gave us a little tour and told us all about the wine making process up there in the Italian hills. We were soon led inside and commenced the most important part of the trip – the tasting!
It had been decided earlier in the day that our villa would host everyone that evening. We realised, when we arrived at our villa, that we had a huge pizza oven built into the side of the house. Making homemade pizzas therefore seemed like the natural idea. We made a quick supermarket dash and bought everything we would need for our night of pizza hosting!
The other villa all arrived on mass and we started the process of the pizza prep! It turned into quite the military operation with dough stretching stations, sauce stations and topping stations! We got there in the end and had a delicious meal of pizzas, calzone, dough balls, bruschetta and salads. There were certainly a few ‘oven operatives’ who unfortunately took the brunt of the heat and walked away with singed eyelashes and hair lines!
We all drank, chatted and played games until the early hours. It was the perfect first evening in Italy, even if we did wake up with terrible hangovers the next morning….!
The next morning we had a lazy start before all getting dressed and making our way across to Imy’s parent’s villa. This gave us our first glimpse of the ancient town, Civita di Bagnoregio, where the wedding would be held the following day. We had a lovely day eating delicious Italian food, lying out by their pool, mingling with all of the other wedding guests and getting very excited about the day to follow.
As the evening drew in we made our way back to our respective villas. We all decided that we would have a chilled out evening to make sure we were all fresh for the wedding. Unfortunately that didn’t really happen in our villa.. The owner of our villa had popped round earlier in the day and recommended one of the local restaurants, Ristorante Il Bocconcino, – he said it was his favourite for proper Italian food. All ‘cooked’ out from the night before, the lure of a restaurant was too much for us to resist and we hit the road towards town.
We genuinely had one of the best meals in this cute little restaurant. We seemed to order everything on the menu ranging from pizza, pasta, aubergine parmigiana (my favourite), meat and fish dishes. It was incredible. The food did all come out in a strange order but it was delicious none the less. At the end of the meal we all practically ended up in the kitchen trying to get the chef to translate the recipes whilst Sara and Chucky settled with befriending the restaurant’s dog.
When we got home, we probably should have all just hit the sack but we decided we were all on holiday, cracked open the wine, pulled out the decks of cards and set about for an evening of fun… with the mice scuttling around at our feet…!
The next morning, the morning of the wedding, Miles, Sam and I woke up (somehow) at the crack of dawn to drive to Orvieto to pick up Sam’s boyfriend, Warren. Somehow these two hadn’t managed to formulate a plan between them so we very much went to the town, having no idea where Warren was staying and having no means of contacting him! Me and Sam literally went from hotel to hotel with a photo saying ‘have you seen this man’? It was hilarious at the time and definitely something out of an episode of Brits Abroad. At one point one of the men we asked took the two of us on a massive walk through the town to the main square, so at least we saw some of the sites, including the beautiful Orvieto Cathedral.
After breakfast we all split up and got dressed and ready for the wedding. Luckily the house has enough showers for all of us otherwise I can imagine it would have got a bit fraught. After a couple of photos we hopped in the cars and made our way across to the footbridge which connects Civita di Bagnoregio to the main town. We were completely blown away by the complete beauty of the ancient town but less so enamoured by the steep (STEEP) climb to get to its gates. It was exhausting!!!
Civita, otherwise known as the ‘dying city, on account of its position atop an ever eroding cliff, was founded nearly 2,500 years ago. The entire town was abandoned after being hit by a massive earthquake during the Middle Ages, and the number of people still remains very small today, with about 100 living here during the summer and barely more than 10 in the winter–definitely a far cry from Rome (and basically every other city in the world).
Once the tour had ended we all headed towards the reception venue, a gorgeous restaurant called Cantina di Arrianathe, where the tables were laid out in the courtyard with fairy lights twinkling overhead. It really was perfect.
Everyone’s favourite course was the pear and cheese filled pasta with a cream and sausage sauce. I for one couldn’t stop talking about it! Imy very kindly included the recipe in her thank you cards so we can all try and recreate the magic at the home!
After the delicious meal and the hilarious speeches it was time for the dancing! Imy had hired the most incredible band; Frances and the Love Hackers – the singer, Frances Ascione, had recently been on the voice and was insane!
The next morning we woke up not to bright an early and had a quick lunch (perhaps an indication of the time we woke up!). Today we were joining the wedding party and embarking on a cruise around lake Bolsena, about (40 minutes away from Bagnoregio).
Our villa, as always, was running later so we had to practically run from our car to the jetty where the boat was about to depart. We safely made it on board and set about a fantastic afternoon of prosecco sipping, cheese and charcuterie eating and much diving off the boat into the beautiful lake below. Lake Bolsena is the largest volcanic lake in Europe!
After disembarking the boat we all headed back to the villas for one final clear up and a cooking session of everything that was left in our fridge. I took on the role of chef so we all ate a tomatoey, garlicky, white wines, mushroomy pasta. It was definitely a scratch meal but fed all of us and certainly cured any lingering hangover from the night before!!
That evening we all made our way, back across the the foot bridge of doom, across to Imy and Mike’s villa where the wedding had been held the night before. We spent the evening eating, drinking and swimming in the amazing grotto cave pool! We had such a lovely time with everyone although it was of course tough saying goodbye to the new Mr and Mrs Marshall, knowing that they were on their way back to Australia.
That one lovely evening brought our visit to Civita to an end. This trip was my first time In Italy and I can’t express how much it’s made me want to visit at the rest of the beautiful county! The food and the wine alone is enough to draw any curious traveller!!