Orvieto 1 day

Orvieto is a peculiar town built on the summit of a steep cliff, and this is why it never really expanded. Another particular characteristic of Orvieto is its geographic location, on the border of the region and on the crossing of many cultures and historic periods – from the Etruscans and the Middle Ages to the Modern society – each one of them left artistic and architectural proofs of their passage. The town developed over three millennia and is tightly linked to the “underground town” dug into the tuff cliff. Paths, tunnels, water networks and wells built by the Etruscans intersect and connect with medieval structures and deep cellars built over the centuries to produce and store wine at a constant temperature. Our tour starts from Piazzale Cahen, which gives easy access to many sites of interest: St Patrick’s Well; the Fortress of Albornoz, so called because it was built in 1364 at the behest of cardinal Albornoz to assert his supremacy over the city; the Tempio del Belvedere temple, whose remains are the most significant evidence of the Etruscans in Orvieto. St Patrick’s Well was built by Antonio Sangallo and commissioned by Pope Clement VII, who took refuge in Orvieto after the sack of Rome in 1527. The well was supposed to assure a sufficient water supply to the city. The double-helix structure goes 50 m deep all the way to the water sources, which could be easily reached by both men and mules.
Walking along via Postierla and then via Soliana, you will finally arrive to the majestic Orvieto Cathedral, a gem of gothic architecture which was built between 1290 up until 1500 and contains masterpieces by over 20 different artists. The interior houses two chapels: the Chapel of the Corporal and the Chapel of San Brizio. At the rear of the cathedral austere buildings the Papal Palaces, built in the 13th century and dedicated to the Popes Urban IV, Martin V and Boniface VIII. One of them, also named Palazzo Soliano, houses the Opera del Duomo museum, containing paintings, sculptures and furnishing belonging to the Cathedral. Another interesting site in Orvieto is the Piazza del Popolo square and its main building, Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo palace.