Orvieto: The City on a Plateau

Orvieto 400
Orvieto: The City on a Plateau
Photo by: rdesai, Creative Commons

The name Orvieto is synonymous to wine connoisseurs who produce flavorful wine, but there is more to Orvieto than just wine. It is one of the famous places in Italy to visit. Why? Start it off with its peculiar location: it is situated on top of a plateau of tufa rock, a volcanic rock.

You can get to Orvieto through a cable car or what they call funicular or use the elevator or escalator on the other side. Then, you can start your tour of the city by visiting the Piazza del Duomo where you can get a good view of the Orvieto Cathedral and other important buildings of the city. Aside from being impressed with the cathedral’s gothic architecture and interior, it also houses a famous fresco of Luca Signorelli’s masterpiece, Last Judgement and the Corporal of Bolsena. A corporal is a small cloth where the chalice and host rest during mass. It is said that during a mass in Bolsena in 1263, the consecrated host started to bleed onto the corporal. You might want to visit Orvieta during the feast of the Corpus Christi. The cloth, with participants dressed in period costumes, is paraded on the streets.

Even before the 20th century, Orvieto has been one of the famous places in Italy. It is one of the few places where several popes have visited and chose to be their residence. Even the Holy Emperor Charles V, together with Pope Clement VII, took refuge in Orvieta during the sack of Rome in 1527. One of the visitor destinations today in Orvieta, the Pozzo di San Patrizion, was specially made for the emperor and pope.

You’ll have a better view of the city’s skyline on its highest point, which is Torre del Moro, also located near the Piazza del Duomo. The underneath of the city is also worth visiting. There are numerous caves, wells, cisterns, galleries and wine cellars that were artificially carved underneath the city. They say houses of important families during the medieval period has secret escape routes connected to these caves so they can easily flee when the city is under siege.

In the city of Orvieto modern life blends easily with the tranquil medieval surroundings of the city. That’s why a lot of visitors easily fall in love with this city. Undeniably, Orvieto is one of the famous places in Italy.

2 responses to “Orvieto: The City on a Plateau”

  1. Stan says:

    Orvieto sounds great. Excellent photo.

  2. Mark says:

    Orvieto is really beautiful. The beautiful cathedral is a must; the wells were an unexpected delight

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