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Jane's Guide to Orvieto

Orvieto seems to rise up from the earth, perched on a rock cliff about an hour north of Rome. It is a common day trip from the Eternal City. But it’s really worth giving this Umbrian town a few days to explore. Visit the impressive Duomo, which dates from 1290, or wander the city seeking out its Etruscan roots. The National Archaeological Museum has artifacts from the Etruscan era, or you can explore the open air museum of the Etruscan necropolis just outside the city walls.

I love the slow pace of Orvieto, especially in the evenings as the day-trippers empty out of the center of town and the squares come to life with people having dinner outside in the spring and summer.

Where to stay in Orvieto

Rent this apartment right in the center of town and enjoy a drink on the balcony after sight-seeing.

Or stay in Casa Vèra Affittacamere which is a three-minute walk from the Duomo and has gorgeous rooms with a beautiful breakfast, some with a terrace.

If you’d like to enjoy being surrounded by greenery and a pool to relax beside, stay just outside the historic center of Orvieto at Podere Sette Piagge. They offer a free shuttle to the train station so you don’t need a car to experience this little slice of Italian country life.

What to do in Orvieto

Visit the Duomo. Dominating the skyline of Orvieto is the Duomo. The 14th century cathedral is a blend of gothic and romanesque architecture. The incredible mosaic facade makes Orvieto’s Duomo distinctive from others. It took the better part of a century to complete, which made it the life’s work of several local artisans. Inside the cathedral, there is so much to see, but the frescoes by Luca Signorelli in the San Brizio chapel are not to be missed.

Go back in time…to Etruscan days. Visit the archeological museum or go to the necropolis on the outside of the city.

Shop with a local artisan. Corso Cavour is a tiny street lined with shops featuring goods that are handmade by local craftspeople. Buy your new favorite leather bag or choose the perfect pottery bowl for your table. But even if you don’t want to buy anything, you’ll enjoy spending some time wandering this lane packed with local beauty.

Go on an underground tour of Orvieto. Tours leave hourly to discover the labyrinth of grottos underneath the city. Booking recommended in high season.

Discover Umbrian wines. Orvieto Classico wines are in a region of their own. Try them at local vineyards on a tour or in one of the many wine bars in Orvieto.

Walk around the outside of the city. There is a trail all the way around the outside of the city, or rather around the rock that the city is built on. The trail is called the Anello Della Rupe (ring around the cliff) and you can access it at several points around Orvieto.

Where to eat in Orvieto

For traditional Umbrian food at affordable prices, visit Duca Di Orvieto.

Building on tradition, Le Grotte del Funaro uses truffles, porcini mushrooms and local beef to create new twists on classic Umbrian fare. They also have a wood-fired oven that turns out amazing pizza. In good weather, you can enjoy eating outside with views over into the surrounding valleys. Reservations recommended.

Another place to try traditional local dishes is Osteria da Mamma Angela. This delicious traditional family-run osteria is in the Piazza del Popolo. Try the wild boar or the ricotta as a starter! Reservations recommended.

A great neighborhood bar to try out is Caffe Montanucci. They also serve brunch.

And Gelateria Pasqualetti, located near the Duomo, is the best spot to grab your daily scoop of gelato! (Gelato every day is a must for me in Italy!! My favorite flavor is limone!)

How to get to Orvieto

The train station in Orvieto is just below the town, but you can ride the funicular up to the city center if you don’t want to walk all the way up.

Orvieto is about 1.5 hours by train from Rome and 2.5 hours by train from Florence. If you’re traveling around Italy and visiting mostly the bigger cities, I think you’ll find a stop in Orvieto to be a refreshing change of pace.

If you’re visiting Orvieto by car, be sure to ask your hotel about parking ahead of your arrival.


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