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GOLDEN DAY THIRTY-FIVE: Enjoy Traveling With Expert Kit Burns in and around Orvieto

July 15, 2010

I met Kit Burns, founder of Doorways Ltd (a villa rental company) on a group trip to Sardinia  and we instantly clicked. I’m sure you know how these things go. It’s much like kindergarten–wandering over to an easel, where you’ve sniffed out a kindred spirit to join you in fingerpainting. As far as Kit, we were on a mountain ridge at a shepherd’s hut having this amazing lunch–fresh ricotta drizzled with honey, grilled sausages, thin Sardinian bread and delicious cookies –it was all spread out on rustic wooden tables overlooking this gorge. GORGE–OUS! While everyone was happily yakking, buzzed from the great food and wine–I found myself drifting to a quieter section where you could tilt your head and listen to the amazing sounds of bird songs mixed with soft notes of fluttering grass in the breeze…Kit Burns had wound up there too…Like me, she appreciates every detail of an Italian experience.

Kit majored in biology at Bryn Mawr and worked in that field for years, taking family vacations to Italy (with her two children).  In 1994, she  embarked on her Passion Project/Second Act: Doorways. The villa rental company is a big success–offering choices in Italy, Spain, France, and Costa Rica. Kit’s focus (along with a top notch staff)  is the personal touch–so whether you want every detail planned, or you’re an independent travler who wants to become immersed into the local scene, Kit and her staff make it happen.  They’re all avid Italian travelers, regularly visiting each one of their carefully selected properties, and they keep up relationships with the owners and local guides, so when you arrive you simply slip into la famiglia. The Doorways website is a joy to dream through and plan  future trips.

Since Umbria is a favorite region of Kit’s and her customers, I asked her for advice, and she graciously replied:

Orvieto’s Antica Trattoria Dell’Orso, that Marlene suggested,  is my favorite restaurant in Italy.  The chef, Gabe, is a great talent and fun besides and he speaks English.  His soups are to dream about.  (Via della Miserocordia 18, 0763 341 642).

Just outside of Orvieto, you’ll enjoy the lovely Villa Selvamica.It’s a private villa owned by an American who was for years the editor of Food and Wine, stationed in Rome.  You can have a dreamy time cooking in her fabulously well-equipped kitchen, which includes  recipe books in English, great utensils, beautiful serving pots, etc.


Top vineyards to visit in the nearby area would have to include Azienda Agricola Decugnano dei Barbi off of N488 between Todi and Orvieto toward Corbara and Colonetta di prodo.  Tel 0763 3082 55 open 8-12 and 14-18 by reservation only.

A Top idea for a day trip from Orvieto would have to be  Civita di Bagnoregio, the vanishing village (from wind erosion).



A lovely restaurant in the countryside between Orvieto and Castiglione in Teverina at Loc. Madonna delle Macchie is La Favola di Pulcinella.
They serve very fresh and excellent fish.  There’s an outside terrace for dining al fresco and very friendly staff.  (Closed Wed   tel 0761 948 246).

Grazie for the excellent inspiration, Kit!


11 Comments leave one →
  1. Valerie permalink
    November 25, 2010 12:35 am

    After 56 years of waiting and dreaming about it, touching down at Fiumicino (?) airport on September 11, 2010 felt like I’d died and gone to heaven – knowing I had 2 weeks ahead of me in Italy – I can’t even describe the feeling I had inside – I spent the next two weeks just mesmerized at all the sights, sounds, and beauty of Italy.

  2. Debi permalink
    November 24, 2010 4:30 pm

    One of my golden moments in Italy will be visiting Tuscany. I have dreamed about it for years – the vineyards, olive groves, the history, and savoring everything it has to offer! It will be the vacation of a lifetime!

  3. Margery (Mayes) Holdsworth permalink
    November 24, 2010 1:40 am

    a magical day was a visit to Arrezzo to witness the Giostra di Saracino – an absolutely wonderful spectacle that even outshines the Siena Palio.

  4. November 24, 2010 12:39 am

    I had so many golden moments while visiting Italy. One that stands out was waking up to a full moon over the quaint village of Vagliagli as I watched the day begin. The sights of the mist shrouded hillside, the sounds of the church bells, the village dogs barking as they began their hunt for wild hare. The serene moments of the beautiful countryside made be feel I was truly immersed in the magic of its land. I love that place!

  5. November 20, 2010 6:03 am

    One Golden Moment in Italy for me was when I was invited with my girlfriend, Wendy, to have tea with Lucia Fiorentino in her beautiful home in Sorrento on the Amalfi coast. We had met this tiny, white-haired lady in her elegant handkerchief shop off the main square. There we learned that her shop had been supplying fine table linens for the Rockefellers and other wealthy families all over the world for generations. We asked for her address, and Lucia simply replied, “I live in the prettiest house in town. You’ll find it.” She was not kidding! We found her “prettiest house,” an enormous villa on a hill overlooking the Bay of Naples. Lucia treated us to a tour of its handsome drawing rooms filled with art and antique furnishings, then to tea spiked with a liquer Lucia had made from her own garden’s lemons and bergamot. She asked us to stay for dinner, but we declined as we planned to leave on the afternoon train. I have always regretted that decision. Lucia died a few years later, and her villa is now the fine arts museum of Sorrento.

    • susanvanallen permalink*
      November 20, 2010 6:15 am

      This is so beautiful–goosebump-giving Anne! Can you copy it over to the Golden moments contest so you can be eligible to win? Grazie!

  6. November 18, 2010 9:58 am

    One Golden Moment in Italy for me was/will always be when I watch the chartreuse green olive oil streaming out at the frantoio. The emotion of seeing my olives transformed to this magic elixir is seconded by the fruity, piquant taste of olives just pressed!

    • susanvanallen permalink*
      November 18, 2010 10:09 pm

      Pamela–I love this–thank you so much for sharing! If you could move it over to the Contest blog that would be great for all to see.

      And by the way, I was in Sicily recently at the Case del Feudo and the wonderful Signora there said you’d just left—we were singing your praises together!

  7. bagnidilucca permalink
    July 28, 2010 9:46 pm

    Orvieto is one of my favourite cities in Italy. I have been several times and I will certainly try some of your suggestions. Bagnoregio is most definitely a great place to visit.

  8. July 18, 2010 6:51 am

    Great idea, thanks for this post!


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