The town rests on top of a craggy cliff pretty much in the same spot as its precursor, the Etruscan League city of Velsina. Although Medieval Orvieto is the tourist magnet, Etruscan tombs testify to the area's antiquity. Ancient or not, tourists are drawn first and foremost by the magnificent cathedral, one of Italy's finest Gothic buildings.
14 May 2002 - Orvieto, ItalyVenice, Pisa, Rome and now the lesser known location of Orvieto. After the hustle and bustle of the eternal city it was time to head back to Ancona for the return flight back to the UK but to break the journey up however, two more places were included in this Italian tour, the first being Orvieto, just 1-2 hours outside of Rome. Like most old Italian cities, this is typical but that is no bad thing. Medieval streets give it atmosphere, the Cathedral is beyond comparison, the views across of the surrounding countryside from this hill top town are breath taking.
Etruscan remains can be found in some shops and if you are lucky enough the shop keeper will show you around - don't forget to buy a bottle of wine from him though.
The Pozzo di San Patrizio is an ingenious 60m well which was sunk in 1527 and is lined by two spiral stair cases like a double helix, wide enough for water bearing mules. This design means that there would have been no jams with those going down never meeting those going up - very efficient and un-Italian like.
Orvieto - View from Orvieto's walls
The walls which were added to Orvieto meant that is location on top of a flat summit beset by steep cliffs made it virtually impregnable to any attackers. This became more important after the Roman collapse.
Orvieto - The Cathedral
The visual treat that is Orvieto Cathedral is reason enough to visit this city. The black-green and white marble banding of the main body of the building is overshadowed by the rich rainbow of colours of the facade, a harmonious blend of mosaic and sculpture, plain stone and dazzling colour.
Orvieto - Eastern side of the city
Here I am on the eastern side of the city with Orvieto train station visible below.