Welcome to Orvieto
Perched on a rock
plateau 300 metres above the ground clings
Orvieto, a breathtakingly positioned
walled town. Precariously balanced
on the edge of the cliff, it commands an
inspiring view of the local farmhouses,
monasteries and vineyards below. After
riding the funicular (inclined railway) from the
base to the top, it is hard to imagine
that hundreds of years ago the only way up
was on the back of a donkey or on foot.
Once at the top, you will marvel at the
incredible feats of human determination
and religious aspiration that created one
of Italy’s finest Romanesque –Gothic
cathedrals, Il Duomo. Started in 1263 and
completed some 200 years later, its
spectacular coloured façade glistens in
the sun along with detailed carvings
depicting the Old and New Testament.
To really appreciate the splendour of
Orvieto’s location, meander further down
the western part of town to the church of
, where you will be rewarded with
expansive views over the surrounding
countryside. The church too, offers its
own gifts with beautifully detailed and
numerous frescoes from the 15th
and 16th centuries.
But the mystery of Orvieto continues well
below the surface of its tufa rock. The
cliff on which the city stands is riddled
with a labyrinth of artificial tunnels,
galleries, cisterns, quarries and cellars.
One such antiquity is Saint Patrick’s Well
( Pozzo di san Patrizio) which was
built between 1527-1537 to provide the
town with a water supply in case of
attack. It is famous for it’s double helix
(corkscrew) stair case. If you have the
stamina, you can walk 60 meters down the
well via a 248-step staircase and come
back up a separate staircase without
retracing your steps.
Another worthwhile, guided visit enables
you to fully appreciate this unique
underground world by exploring the caves
of Orvieto. The microclimate of the caves
made it possible for locals to preserve
both their food and beverage provisions,
including wine. Orvieto Classico is
still recognised as one of Italy’s finest
Orvieto’s locals are also renowned for
their art and ceramics, which are as much
a part of their heritage as their
cathedral. At the beginning of the 6th
century, Orvieto’s economic prosperity was
largely due to its ceramics and bronze
work. Today, Orvieto’s economy is still
dependent on tourist demand for it’s
pottery. Their hand-painted handicrafts
include ceramic plates, bowls, cups even
candle stick holders, all made in either
traditional or modern designs.
If ceramics are not your thing, then
wander through the tiny medieval shops and
discover contemporary hand made jewellery,
leatherwork, woodcarvings and the
traditional lace of Orvieto. During
summer, when the shops stay open late, the
streets of Orvieto are often adorned with
paintings hanging from walls or
sculptures standing next to lampposts.
Such artistic colour simply adds to the
charm of this wonderful, unique town.
But summer is not the only time to visit.
In December and January, Orvieto hosts
Umbria Jazz Winter. During the five days,
world-renowned musicians showcase their
music in palaces, theatres, museums and
Orvieto, seemingly perched far above the
everyday world, has in fact so much to
offer. Whether you are drawn in by the
music, the arts, history or gastronomy,
Orvieto offers a spectacular retreat.
By Car: A1 Florence-Rome:
exit Orvieto. From
Florence, 160 kms south.
From Rome 120 kms north.
SS 448 Todi-Orvieto. By Air: Rome.
Orvieto is on the main
trains leave Rome every
2 hours during the day.
Places to stay
us about your trip to
your favorite places to
stay, and dine.
Orvieto is world
famous for its wine, be
sure to check out the
Consorzio Tutela Vini
Here, you can
obtain information about
specific wines in the area
and sample some of the
best Orvieto DOC wines.
The consorsio is located
Corso Cavour ,36
05018 Orvieto (TR)