Friday 15 May 2020

Things to see and do in Orvieto, Italy

The Region of Umbria in central Italy is somewhat neglected by visitors from abroad when compared with its celebrated northern neighbour, Tuscany. This neglect is quite unjustified. Umbria is a Region of varied and magnificent landscapes, charming villages, great food and a number of splendid "art cities", among the foremost being Orvieto.

Orvieto Italy
The Cathedral of Orvieto, Italy
Among the things to see and do in Orvieto, Italy, the first "sight" is in fact Orvieto itself sitting atop a tuffa butte rising 640 ft above the surrounding rolling green hills. This spectacular vision is augmented by the sight of the Cathedral of Orvieto rising above the town, the golden mosaics on its facade glittering in the sun. Orvieto itself is completely pedestrianised and can be most enjoyably reached via a funicular. Orvieto is characterised by an unusually high number of fine 13 C houses and palaces, including a papal palace that now houses Orvieto's municipal museum, and the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo.

The site of Orvieto was a major Etruscan nucleus and the butte is riddled with Etruscan excavations forming a virtual underground city of tunnels, galleries, wells, stairs, quarries, cellars, unexpected passageways, cisterns, and superimposed rooms with numerous small square niches. Outside the city is the Etruscan necropolis of Crocefisso di Tufo which is composed of a hundred or so chamber tombs laid along a rectangular street grid, with numerous examples of Etruscan inscriptions.

A more recent excavation is the Pozzo di San Patrizio, "Saint Patrick's" well, a deep well accessed by a double helical stairway and dating from 1528. The energetic visitor can descend the entire 175 ft - and climb back up again. The massive 14 C Fortezza dell'Albornoz is also worth a visit.

More Orvieto tourist information, sights, festivals and wines.

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