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!
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.
- 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).
- 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 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
- 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
- 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.
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!
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!
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.
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:
- The Umbria Institute (great info on transportation in Umbria),
- Orvieto Viva
- Umbria Mobilità – only limitation is only Italian language, however, useful nevertheless.