Splendid Palaces and Churches in Orvieto, a trip through ancient architecture

Orvieto is a beautiful town in the heart of Umbria, a real jewel of art in the shadow of the cliff of tuff. Its origins date back to the ancient Etruscans though they have been very reluctant to testify that period, the main one is the Necropolis of the Crucifix of Tufo. This typical Etruscan city of the dead was built during the sixth and fifth centuries BC and consists of a hundred small shrine-tombs of the type “double”, placed along streets perpendicular to each other. Many of the tombs are open, while the objects and sarcophagi that were found are kept for the most part at the Faina Museum of Orvieto.

Cathedral of Orvieto
Cathedral of Orvieto

The symbol of the city is certainly the Cathedral of Orvieto, one of the most typical examples of Romanesque-Gothic style in central Italy. The facade is decorated with bas-reliefs, mosaics and statues of bronze while the interior is decorated with processed frescoes. The main element is the Chapel of the Corporal, which guards the precious reliquary containing the piece of linen stained with blood during the miracle of Bolsena. We suggest you visit the Cathedral of Orvieto in the evening when the light of sunset glows over the facade of the tuff.Visit the palaces of the Popes built during 1200 in honor of pontiffs, Soliano Palace, dedicated to Boniface VIII is a Gothic structure which now houses the Museum Opera del Duomo. Remarkable is also the Town Hall which was built in the early decades of 1200 and rebuilt in 1500. Another landmark in Orvieto is the Well of St. Patrick, built in the middle of 1500, by order of Pope Clement VII who had taken refuge here after the sack of Rome. It is well 53 meters wide and 13 deep, was in fact once a water tank that would protect the city in case of a siege. To stay on the topic of wells, know that under the churches and palaces extends the so-called underground Orvieto, forming several kms of tunnels and cellars used by ancient people to store food, intersecting with tunnels of Etruscan origin.

Orvieto however, is also a city where you can enjoy delicious food and wine. The Orvieto Food Festival is held each fall and is a must for lovers of taste and eating consciously.

By Elsi H

Travel photo: popinjaykev

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