Orvieto downtown, with the typical homes built using bricks of volcanic material (tufa, as the area was interested by a tremendous volcanic activity between 1 million and 100000 years ago).
Orvieto seen from an aircraft before landing in Rome Ciampino. The huge Orvieto cathedral, as well as the cliff surrounding the city, is clearly visible.
The majestic cathedral in Orvieto, built in about one century from year 1290 with the purpose to store the sacred relic from Bolsena miracle. This cathedral is known to have one of the most beautiful facade of the world.
Inside the Orvieto cathedral. If compared to the external facade, the internals are much simpler, but still beautiful for the huge columns and the paintings on the walls.
On the left: the main walking and shopping street crossing the entire city. Below, St. Andrew church.
"Palazzo del Popolo" in the omonimous square, built using basaltic stones and tufa, currently used as a congress centre.
The St. Patrick well (Pozzo di San Patrizio) was built in the XVI century, digging for 62 metres into the basaltic rock and tufa under the city. The purpose was to create a water storage tank. Access to the water is guaranteed by two helicoidal stairs, one going down and one returning up, along the well's side, where large windows are also present.
Excursion to underground Orvieto. Below the city there are about 1200 caves and tunnels, digged in the past centuries to get additional space for workshop, shops, storage, and to extract building materials. Digging below the city was relatively easy, because of the soft basaltic rock and volcanic debris, but it has compromised the stability of the city laying above.
In the pictures above, an old olive processing machine, from XIV century.
On the left, a mining area used to extract a building material until the past century. Pillars of soft rocks where left to avoid the mountain's top, with the city above, to collapse. On the right, a very ancient 45 meters deep well, digged in the hope to find water (because of the geological features, the water can be found digging at least 90 meters).
Palazzo del Cardinale is a beautiful B&B to stay while visiting Orvieto and surroundings. The palace is 500 years old and is conveniently located very close to the city centre.
HOW TO GET TO ORVIETO
The nearest airports are Rome Fiumicino or Ciampino, Florence and Perugia. The most convenient is probably Rome Fiumicino, as there are frequent trains with only one connection in Rome. If you are already in Italy, the most convenient transport is by train, as Orvieto is halfway along the Rome - Florence railway, approximately one and an half hour from both cities. Here you can check the train schedule. The railway station is connected to downtown by a cable car and all the attactions are within walking distance from city's centre. If you are arriving by car, just leave the A1 highway at Orvieto, about one and an half hour north of Rome or south of Florence.
Please click this link if you are looking for a private taxi from Rome airport to Orvieto.