If you’re wondering what to see in Orvieto, I will challenge you: just try to drive by it. You won’t be able to. My first visit to Orvieto happened when I was driving through Umbria on my way to somewhere else and saw an incredible hill town out the window. Detour! We ended up spending the afternoon. But, once you park and start getting to know this gorgeous small Umbrian town, you’ll see there is much more to see and do. Or if you’re not driving, it’s easy to get there by train, and makes a great day trip from Rome.
Orvieto’s cathedral is spectacular, and its façade does its job in the true sense of the word, giving the viewer the impression that the church behind it is much larger. Inlaid with marble and precious stones, it will also remind you of the Duomo of Siena. Don’t miss the frescoes inside by Luca Signorelli.
The volcanic soil or tuffa in the area (and the material the town’s sheer cliffs are made of), is the secret behind Orvieto’s fabulous white wine. A lot of the local wine is exported, but it’s always good to do a taste test and compare local and exported versions, because they’re not the same.
There’s a well dug into the rock, an wonderful Underground Orvieto tour that goes down into the town’s labyrinth of tunnels, and there’s a lovely walk around the outside of the rock.
The best part will be just wandering the town’s streets, enjoying the views and soaking up the small medieval Italian hilltown atmosphere.
Photo of Orvieto from afar by Pizzodisevo, photo of Orvieto Duomo from www.istockphoto.com
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