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Orvieto at sunset

Cliffs and walls, Orvieto

Interior of the well at Orvieto



For more on Italian churches visit Bill Thayer's website
The Churches of Italy
Churches of Orvieto


Welcome to Orvieto
From Vicki Morrision:

Population: 20,692 (2003)
Official website:
Map: MapQuest

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
San Giovenale , 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 white wines.

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 restaurants.  

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.

Umbria Region



By Car:  A1 Florence-Rome:
exit Orvieto. From
Florence, 160 kms south.
From Rome 120 kms north. 
E45 Perugia - Todi and SS 448 Todi-Orvieto.  By Air:  Rome.  By Train:
Orvieto is on the main
link between Milan–Rome trains leave Rome every
2 hours during the day.


Places to stay

Duomo, Orvieto


Tell us about your trip to Orvieto. What were your  favorite places to
visit, stay, and dine.  Contribute

Because Orvieto is world famous for its wine, be sure to check out the
Consorzio Tutela Vini di Orvieto. 
Here, you can
obtain information about specific wines in the area and sample some of the best Orvieto DOC wines.  The consorsio is located  at:
Corso Cavour ,36
05018 Orvieto (TR) ITALY.  
(+39) 0763/343790
(+39) 0763/394980