Orvieto

Orvieto

Welcome to Orvieto, Umbria!

Orvieto is a gorgeous hilltop town, with an incredible history and amazing foods and local wines.

Without a doubt, Orvieto is an ideal holiday location for all those in love with nature, hiking or for those looking to enjoy a relaxing country-side destination.

Looking for a quick day trip from Rome? Then Orvieto should be on your list (only 1 hour train/car ride!), however, my recommendation is always to slow travel and a 2 night/3 day stay is ideal. 

Cool Fact: All regions in Italy either have a coastline or are bordering with other countries – except Umbria, that has neither!

Orvieto by night
Walking the streets of Orvieto by night

Orvieto

Orvieto is often referred to as the ‘Green Heart of Italy’ and it is certainly no surprise!

This historic city center is surely one of the most dramatic, rising above almost-vertical cliffs surrounded by defensive walls, all completed in Tufa stone.

Orvieto also has an important history, as it was a major centre of Etruscan Civilization and was part of the Papal States (8th century until 1870), due to its central strategic position.

You will find a number of monasteries around the country side, built as look out points for any possible attacks.

From a cultural perspective, Orvieto covers them all – art, famous music events, history, archeological sites – the lot!

Orvieto

Highlights | 2 days in Orvieto

The Duomo is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy, with the great San Brizio chapel. Without a doubt a ‘can’t miss’ attraction when in Orvieto. Another attraction that all tour guides, locals and blogs (cough, cough) will definitely cover, is Pozzo di S.Patrizio.

Built in 1537, by Antonio da San Gallo, the Pozzo di S. Patrizio is a well (pozzo) with two spiral staircases that never meet!

Should you decide to venture your way to the well, make sure you are ready for the 400 steps you will take to reach the bottom and back.

Orvieto Duomo
Orvieto Duomo by night

As you walk through the beautifully maintained streets of Orvieto, you will not be able to miss the Torre del Moro, or the town’s imposing Clock Tower you can climb! 

Enjoy a panoramic terrace, which allow you to have a 360 degree view of this amazing region and definitely worth the 2.60EUR ticket.

If suggestive ruins is more your kind of adventure, then make sure to head to the Orvieto Underground and at 6.00EURs!

Just like that, you have done two iconic experiences in Orvieto for under 10.00EUR!

On the final day, when you are ready to depart (or even when you first arrive), go have a look or even a picnic at Fortezza Albornoz, Orvieto’s public gardens.

Another great spot for views of the Umbrian country-side. 

Some Snaps

Orvieto
Approaching Piazza St. Andrea

 

Orvieto
A beautiful via of Orvieto

 

Orvieto
Inside the Sant’Andrea church

Highlights | 2 days in Orvieto (continued)

Having been an important Papal State, Orvieto has a number of important churches you can visit – and guess what? They are all free to enter!

Now I am not a religious person, even though I was raised Roman Catholic, however, one thing I recommend to anyone coming to Italy is – walk in the Churches!

Why?

Churches in Italy are not just building of worship but they are museums in their own right. Some of the most amazing artists in our history were commissioned to make these ‘buildings’ into something spectacular.

  • 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

Food and Wine!

Here is where your evenings will make you merry and your stomachs satisfied. 

Orvieto Argillae
One of my favourite wines of Umbria!

Wine!

My go to winery is Argillae, a local winery 10min from Orvieto, offering a gorgeous drive. 

Orvieto DOC, the pride and joy of the Orvetians (?) is made up of Trebbiano Toscano (Procanico), Verdello, Grechetto (another local grape), Drupeggio and/or Malvasia Toscana. A dry white wine that is worth your time (and money).

“Orvieto”/”Orvieto Classico”are the two (2) types you will find depending on the specific area (DOC/DOCG) where the wine has been grown. 

A great wine for your apertivo or an awesome pairing with your Pollo Cacciatore!

Not a big fan of whites? Well do not fear, Argillae has you covered.

Try a Sinuoso (pictured above) for something light and ideal to enjoy throughout the meal. Or if you are looking for something a little more hearty, like the local dishes, then try find the Vascellarus by Argillae. 

Argillae Winery, makes some great local varieties and are definitely worth a visit if you have a car and want to explore the surrounding area.

See my Wineries page for more recommendations.

FOOD!

You could say Orvieto is a meat lovers heaven!

Enjoy wild boar as a pasta sauce, a salami, and even as a stew, or work your way around the very popular pigeon and dove meals such as the “palomba alla leccarda”.

Pasta is a staple in the locals diet, in particular Umbrichelli and the famous truffle. 

Truffle is certainly an acquired taste and you will either love it or hate it.

Should you be one of the lucky ones that truly enjoy’s truffles, make sure to try “umbricelli al tartufo”!

Need some recommendations on where to eat? Check out my Restaurants page – I got you covered!

Useful Info | Directions and Parking 

Orvieto is only 1.5 hour drive from Rome or 1 hour by train with an exciting funicular (available every 15 min) to get to town. 

Unlike many parts of Italy, getting to Orvieto with public transportation is a breeze and also by car.

I departed from Rome by Train and used the handy Trenitalia.com (copy and paste into your browser) website.

The cost for a one way ticket is 7.80EUR (as of 2017).

From the train station (see my video!) you take the Funicular that is located exactly opposite the exit of the train station.

Price for a 90 minutes ticket was 1.30EUR.

By Car: 

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.

Street parking for 1.00EUR per hour (hard to find in peak season).

I strongly recommend the major parking areas to avoid driving in the ZTL zones (click to read) if you decide to drive. Yes – I got fined!

Parking information here (click to view).

Love Umbria as much as I do?

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

Authors Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been completely revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

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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