Are you planning a trip to Rome and looking for something a bit different than the usual Roman ruins and Vatican stuff?
In “the green heart of Italy” you will find one of the jewels of Umbria: the fascinating hilltop town of Orvieto.
Orvieto: An Amazing Day Trip from Rome
In the province of Umbria, just next door to the province of Lazio where Rome is situated, sits Orvieto, perched atop of a crag of volcanic rock. The origins of Orvieto are ancient, dating back almost 3000 years, much further back than the Roman empire. During the time of the Etruscans it was the most important city in the Etruscan federation.
For more information on the history of Orvieto, read this excellent article in OrvietoViva.
The Wonders of Orvieto: A Summary
Two architectural points of interest stand out as not to be missed: the spectacular duomo (cathedral), St. Patrick’s well, and the underground city.
ST. PATRICK’S WELL
After escaping to Orvieto during the Sack of Rome in 1527, and figuring he might need to spend some considerable time there, Pope Clement VII commissioned the construction of St. Patrick’s well to ensure a secure water source to the city.
The well is about 53 meters deep (about 175 feet). Back in the day citizens would travel down into the well by donkey to fetch water and bring it back up again. In an ingenious feat of engineering, a double-helix staircase was devised, resulting in one route to get down into the well and a different route to get back up. Now that’s some brilliant Renaissance traffic management!
THE ORVIETO CATHEDRAL
A splendid example of Gothic architecture, the cathedral of Orvieto is something to behold. Even if you don’t care about architectural styles, you will love the shimmering mosaics on the facade.
ORVIETO’S UNDERGROUND CITY
One of the most fascinating aspects of Orvieto is its underground city. A guided tour will take you through the labyrinth of caves and tunnels where you can see Etruscan and medieval artifacts, including an intact olive oil mill, a manger for animals, and a dovecote (a structure in which domesticated pigeons were kept).
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST
There are a great many other things to see in Orvieto, including a plethora of churches and a variety of architectural points of interest. We’d be happy to customize your tour to include the things that interest you.
Getting to Orvieto
DriverInRome offers a variety of options for visiting Orvieto with a private car and English-speaking driver:
- day trip from Rome
- shore excursion from the port of Civitavecchia
- stopover on a transfer from Rome to Florence or vice versa
Please call us if you’d like to chat about anything or arrange an excursion from Rome or some other place nearby where you will be staying.