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Umbria - Places to visit - Orvieto

Town Hall: Via Garibaldi, 8 - Orvieto (TR)
Tel. 0763/3061 Fax.0763/343622
Altitude a.s.l.: 315 m. Maximum Altitude: 769 m. (M. Piatto)
Population (Orvietani): 20813 N. of Hamlets: 13
Twin Towns: Betlemme (Israele), Eiken (USA), Maibashi (Giappone)

Orvieto rises up on a crag of tufa 80 metres high, which dominates the country plain below.

Orvieto in Umbria

The ash deposits from the eruptions of ancient volcanoes created the "crag". The rivers and the rain eroded the sides of the "crag" until it reached its present day imposing aspect. Orvieto is beautiful and it is rich with an enviable artistic and cultural heritage. Orvieto is also at the centre of an important communication network of roads and railways.

Traditional agricultural activities especially those involved in the wine and the handicraft industry (ceramics, woodwork, wrought iron, and lace making) are renowned for the high quality of the products

Orvieto also organises important events, supported by its prominent receptive structure and nevertheless possesses all the necessary elements for economic development and the satisfaction of the visitors.

Orvieto in Umbria

BRIEF HISTORY

The territory of Orvieto has been populated since the Bronze and Iron Ages, which can be proven by the numerous archaeological findings

The presence of the Etruscans dates back to the 7th century and is documented by the remains of necropolises, buildings, artistic artefacts and the memory of a famous sanctuary ("Fanum Voltumnae") where the Etruscans reunited to celebrate their religious rites.

The Etruscan city reached its maximum economic and artistic splendour between the 6th and the 4th centuries b.C., and also, thanks to its military superiority guaranteed by its natural strategic position.

In 263 b.C. the Romans, even though they left the Etruscan institutions, rites and language in place, seized the city, giving it another name "Urbs Vetus" (the present day name of Orvieto derives from this), making Orvieto one of their strongholds.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Orvieto was conquered by the Goths, then by the Byzantines and lastly by the Longobards of the Duchy of Spoleto.

Around the year 1000, Orvieto underwent a period of new urban, economic and social development. It soon became a free commune with its own government which in 1157, Pope Adrian VI recognised and officially legitimised.

In the 12th century, after winning the battles against Siena, Viterbo, Perugia and Todi with the alliance of Florence, Orvieto extended its borders and dominated a territory, which included vast areas of the present-day Tuscany and Lazio Regions.

Medieval Orvieto reached the height of its power and wealth in the 13th and 14th centuries, leaving behind splendid buildings which are still the pride of the city.

But, during this period of maximum splendour, civil and religious battles between the noble families of Orvieto broke out.

The Monaldeschi and the Muffati families of the Guelph faction (in favour of the Pope) and the Filippeschi and the Malcorini families of the Ghibelline faction (in favour of the Emperor) tormented the city with terrible civil and religious battles. This situation helped Cardinal Albornoz seize Orvieto in 1364.

Orvieto in 1449 finally became part of the Church State and remained under its domain until 1860, year in which the Kingdom of Italy was created.

SIGHTS TO SEE

In the centre of town

Cathedral (started in 1290). An absolute masterpiece. An admirable collection of architectural styles, sculptures and paintings by artists from the 13th to 16th cent. (the bronze doors are from the 20th cent. by the sculptor E. Greco)

Cathedral, Chapel of the "Resurrection of the bodies" by Luca Signorelli.

Church of St. Francis (13th cent., reconstructed in the 18th cent.), contains a crucifix from the 14th cent. and wooden choir from the 18th cent.

Church of St. Andrew, with frescos from the 14th and 15th cent.

Church of St. John the Evangelist (18th cent.)

Cloister of the Church of St. John the Evangelist

Church of S. Giovenale Church of S. Giovenale (11th cent.)

Church of St. Augustine (13th cent.)

Church of St. Domenic (13th cent.), with a monument by Adolfo di Cambio

Church of S. Lorenzo De Arari (13th cent.)

Soliano Palace (13th cent.), today seat of the Emilio Greco Museum and of the Civic Museum and Cathedral Museum

Papal Palace (12th 13th cent.), today seat of the National Archaeological Museum

Faina Palace, seat of an archaeological collection and of the Claudio Faina Museum

Town Hall (13th 16th cent.)

Palace of the Sette family (13th cent.), used for cultural events

Faade of the Captain of the Peoples Palace Captain of the Peoples Palace (13th cent.). Today it is used as a Congress Centre.

Ruins of the Albornoz Fortress (Spanish Cardinal and politician sent to Italy to assure unity of government throughout the Papal States) (14th 15th cent.). Today, public gardens.

St. Patricks Well (1528 1537) built to serve as a reservoir even in the event of being sieged.

St. Patricks Well

Civic tower, dodecagon shaped of Romanesque style, with Etruscan and Early Christian ruins.

Tower of Moro, with a bell decorated with bas-reliefs with the 24 symbols of the Arts (14th cent.)

Etruscan temple of Belvedere (5th cent. b.C.)

Tower of Maurizio

Orvieto in Umbria

Under the city

Orvieto underground, a walk along the underground city of the crag

Underground road

Surrounding Area

Etruscan necropolis of the Tufa Crucifix (6th cent. b.C.)

Panoramic view of the Etruscan necropolis

FOLKLORE AND EVENTS

Umbria Jazz Winter (December)

"Luigi Barzini" Journalistic Price (May)

"La Palombella" (May)

Corpus Christi Celebrations, Historical procession Corpus Christi Celebrations (June)

"Palio delloca" (lit. Goose Competition) (May)

"Palio delloca", competition

Medieval Dinners (May June)

Orvieto with taste (October)

Festival of Our Lady of the Assumption (August)

Orvieto Theatre City (October March)

Cathedral - Easter Concert Concert in the Cathedral (Easter)

TYPICAL LOCAL PRODUCTS:

Ceramics

Lace

Leather

Woodwork

Wrought iron

Precious metals

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