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