Orvieto

Orvieto

Welcome to Orvieto

Orvieto is only 1.5 hour drive from Rome. By train it is 1 hour and an exciting funicular (available every 15 min) to get to town. 

Orvieto is a special place with lots to see and a lot of history to take in. It is also a famous itinerary for religious tourism due to the number of churches and of course the fact the city was a Papal State – more on this as you read on. As with most of my posts, the food and wine are up there on reasons why I love this town!

Orvieto by night
Walking the streets of Orvieto by night

What to do in Orvieto?

Plenty! From the public park, museums, churches to the famous Duomo! Many people come here to stay one day but our recommendation is that you need at least 2 full days to really make the most of all the sites, restaurants and views (you won’t get to everything!).  We have listed our highlights for you.  *Click each monument/site name in Italics to be redirected to English audio guide. 

Orvieto Duomo
Orvieto Duomo by night
  • The Duomo – One of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy with the great San Brizio chapel.
  • Pozzo S.Patrizio – A ‘Well’ with two spiral staircases that never meet. Approximately 53 meters deep without any traffic problems with 200 steps (400 up and down).
Orvieto
Approaching Piazza St. Andrea
  • Pozzo della Cava – This is an Etruscan Well, dug entirely by hand at a depth of 36 meters (over 118 feet).
  • Torre del Moro – The “clock of the city” with a panoramic terrace, which allow you to have a 360 degree view of the countryside – amazing!
Orvieto
A beautiful via of Orvieto
  • Orvieto Underground -This was a great experience through some of the most suggestive ruins.
  • Fortezza Albornoz – as you exit the funicular to your left you will find the public gardens. A great place for a picnic! 
  • Palazzo del Popolo – We did not get a chance to visit the palaces inside. We have found the audio guide for the Palazzo del Popolo, just in case you have the time.  Other Palaces in Orvieto:
    • Palazzo Comunale
    • Palazzo Buzi
    • Palazzo Ottaviani
    • Palazzo Crispo Marsciano
    • Palazzo Clementini
    • Palazzo dell’Opera del Duomo
    • Palazzo Simoncelli
    • Palazzo Gualterio
    • Palazzo Coelli
    • Palazzo Carvajal-Simoncelli
    • Palazzo Monaldeschi
Orvieto
Inside the Sant’Andrea church
  • Churches of Orvieto (we only made it to Sant’Andrea, San Francesco and San Giovenale). 
    • Sant’Andrea – in piazza St. Andrea, this is a beautiful church where we went for Sunday mass. 
    • San Francesco – used to be the Duomo of Orvieto. The second church in the world named after San Francis. 
    • San Domenico
    • San Giovenale – The oldest church in Orvieto, San Giovenale was built in 1004. 
    • Santa Maria dei Servi
    • San Lorenzo de’Arari
    • Sant’Agostino
  • Etruscan & Roman Monuments – we did not get to visit any of these unfortunately. Like we said 2 days was not enough! But we have still found a short audio guide should you be able to make it. 

* Click each monument/site name in Italics to be redirected to English audio guide. 

Why Visit?

The scenery is breathtaking and green (of course). Orvieto is considered the ‘Green Heart of Italy’. The historic city center is surely one of the most dramatic in Europe, rising above almost-vertical cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built of the same Tufa stone. Simply amazing!

Orvieto
The amazing views of the countryside

This medieval town is located on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff and is among the most dramatic in Europe – so that alone should push you to visit. Orvieto also has an important history, it was a major centre of Etruscan Civilization and was part of the Papal State due to its strategic position. In fact, the Church built a number of monasteries around the country side, as look out points for any possible attacks on the city. So from a cultural perspective, Orvieto covers them all – art, history, archeological sites – the lot!

Orvieto Argillae
One of my favourite wines of Umbria!

Another great reason is for the wine. Orvieto DOC is the ‘pride and joy’ of the area. This is a white wine made up of Trebbiano Toscano (Procanico), Verdello, Grechetto (another local grape), Drupeggio and/or Malvasia Toscana. “Orvieto” and “Orvieto Classico”, are the two (2) types you will find depending on the specific area where the wine has been produced.

The reds are also very good, however, they are not as famous as their Tuscan neighbours but at least you can find a good glass of wine and you won’t be paying for the name. My favourite is the Argillae Sinuoso (in the picture above). Check our Argillae on my Wineries page.

 

As per my other posts – an important part of Orvieto culture is FOOD! For lovers of meat, Umbria as a region, is made for you! Here you will find a large number of dishes made with pork/wild boar but also very popular are pigeons and doves. The “palomba alla leccarda” and the “pollo alla cacciatore” are two of the oldest and most typical dishes of the city.

My favourite dish – Pasta! A staple in the Orvieto diet and in particular Umbrichelli. You will also find that tartufo (truffle) dishes are very popular and you can expect “umbricelli al tartufo” – which are delicious. Do not forget to visit my Restaurants page for details!

Check out my other Post on Umbria, as I explore Perugia, Montefalco and Torgiano! 11 Reasons to Love Umrbia

Have you been to Orvieto? What were your thoughts and experiences during your visit? Please make sure to tell us your story and what you discovered on your trip by leaving a comment below – we love to hear the perspective of other travellers visit our beautiful country.

 

How to get there?

Unlike many parts of Italy – getting to Orvieto from major cities, is a breeze! I know it is a shock to read these words on Italian public transport but the Orvieto and Umbria council did an amazing job!

I departed from Rome by Train and used the handy ‘Trenitalia.com‘ website. The cost for a one way ticket was 7.00EUR (check the site for updated prices). From the Orvieto train station (see my video!) you take the Funicular, located exactly opposite the exit of the train station. Price for a 90 minutes ticket was 1.30EUR. Mobilità Orvieto is an Italian website but has all the updated prices – use Google to translate the page – pretty handy. 

By Car: 

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There are tolls to pass which will cost approximately 4.50EUR each way (based on the amount of time you are on the highway). Parking in Orvieto is 1.50EUR per hour in the major parking lots but also street parking for 1.00EUR per hour (hard to find in peak season). I recommend the major parking lots to avoid driving in the ZTL zones (click to read) if you decide to drive. 

Parking information here (click to view).

In Umbria I relied on:

Comments

  1. Cynt

    Thank you for your lovely blog. It has been 10 years since I visited Tuscany’s gorgeous hill towns. I spent 3 weeks in Italy traveling from Venice to Florence, renting a car outside of Florence and discovering all I could. Orvieto was my last stop before Rome. While there, I noticed people sitting on the steps of, I believe, Sant’Andrea. They were enjoying their lunch of bread, cheeses, charcuterie – and, of course, wine. When in Orvieto, do as . . . That was what led to one of those lovely moments in travel that I will never forget. Close to the chiesa, there was a small meat and cheese shop. 60’s style beaded strands draped the doorway. As basic as my Italian was, my attempt to request entrance was met by a sweet and gracious shopkeeper. I explained sono vegetariana, but that I love formaggio. He proceeded to slice off thin, heavenly tastes of his different cheeses. So, armed with my pane and formaggio, I told him I was going to eat on the steps, and he told me to wait just a moment – bringing out a bottle of Orvieto Classico, corking it and handing it to me to enjoy, with his compliments. It was such a simple moment, but one that was so lovely I will never forget. Thanks for letting me share. Each time I tell one of my stories – and, there are many – I relive those precious experiences!

    1. Post
      Author
      touristbychance

      Ciao Cindy! Thank you for reading and for your awesome comment! Looks like you had an amazing trip around Italy and I love the story you shared on Orvieto. I loved it so much, it has inspired me to create a page called ‘Traveller’s Memories to Italy’ where people will be able to email me their story and I will add it to the page, along with the photos people send through. Since this was inspired by your awesome comment, I was hoping to create this page, starting with your ‘Memory’ and would love a photo of Orvieto if you have one? My email is touristsbychance@gmail.com and I look forward to hearing from you. 🙂 Ciao from a sunny Rome!

  2. Lillian

    I spent a semester studying in Orvieto and it was amazing. The town gets better with each day spent. This list is good! The food, wine, and sights are incredible. The only thing I can think to add is the Etruscan Necropolis that is on the edge of the plateau. It’s very cheap to enter the grounds, maybe like €4, and it’s a wonderful place to explore and remember the roots of the town! I highly recommend Orvieto, especially if you plan on traveling between Rome and Florence.

    1. Post
      Author
      touristbychance

      Hi Lillian! Thank you so much for your comment! Wow! A whole semester in Orvieto must have been amazing indeed – you got to really experience the town and the region, I am sure. Thank you for also adding the Etruscan Necropolis – would you by any chance have a photo of the Etruscan Necropolis you would like to share? I will be happy to add the photo and your tip to the list 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and if you have any photos or anything you would like to share, happy to do so! Ciao from Rome, Valter

  3. Adri Kool

    Ciao Valter! Complementi per tuo blog. Just a small detail, The Umbria region instead just Orvieto is what is called ‘The green core of Italy’.

    Grazie mille per promuovere il turismo in Umbria.

    Arrivederci

    1. Post
      Author
      touristbychance

      Ciao Adri! Thank you for your comment and taking the time to read the post and you are absolutely right, the whole region is The Green Heart of Italy! Umbria is one of the most amazing regions in Italy and in my absolute top 3 so it is easy to promote 😉 Grazie e buon weekend! 🙂 PS: da dove scrivi?

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