ITALY  |  Orvieto & Southwest Umbria, Italy Travel Guide
Thursday, December 7, 2023

Orvieto, Italy

The old Etruscan city of Orvieto, Umbria, Italy (cc)
Photo: Leoboudv


Close to the border where Umbria meets Tuscany and Lazio, the city of Orvieto and the western corner of Umbria occupy a stunning and uncontaminated countryside that ranges from basalt and tufa precipices in the volcanic hinterland to rolling hills and alluvial plains of the Paglia and Tiber rivers, both of which are now regional parks. It is a history-rich area, which has seen much action since the Etruscans first inhabited the area some 3,000 years ago.

Orvieto is actually situated halfway between Florence and Rome, perched on a hilltop and reached directly on the A1 highway. Orvieto's unforgettable architecture gives a strong indication of the important role the city has played since Etruscan times. Standing on a single mass of tufa (known as la rupe, or the cliff), the Etruscan city of Velzna ruled here from the seventh century BC until the Romans destroyed it in 264 BC. A striking underground city still survives from that time. It was reconstructed in the fifth century, when it was called urbs vetus (old city). Pope Clement VIII fled here during the sacking of Rome in 1527 and thereafter it became a retreat for the popes. The above-ground settlement was during this time that the city reached its peak that saw the Gothic cathedral constructed and the town remodeled to befit its illustrious guests. The historical center is small enough to cover in a day, but it’s worth hanging around to explore the lush valley, where its famous wine is produced.

Last updated February 3, 2012
Posted in   Italy  |  Orvieto & Southwest Umbria
No votes yet
Explore the Destination
Amenities and Resources
Trending Themes:

Guides to Popular Ski Resorts

  • Ischgl is a small mountain village turned hip ski resort, with massive appeal among the party-hearty young crowds. It is... Read More

  • Andorra la Vella is its own little world, and not just because it’s a 290-square-mile independent principality (a fifth the... Read More

  • Bariloche (officially San Carlos de Bariloche) is the place to be seen. It is to Argentina what Aspen is to the... Read More

  • Aspen is America's most famous ski resort. And that's an understatement. For, as a ski complex, Aspen is unsurpassed. Its... Read More

  • Zermatt is a small but glamorous mountain resort town, with a population of approximately 5,700. It is one of Switzerland's... Read More

  • St. Moritz is a glitzy, alpine resort town in the celebrated Engadin Valley of Switzerland, with huge notoriety as the... Read More

  • Lake Tahoe is the premier lake resort of America, and the largest alpine lake in all of North America. It is an absolutely... Read More

  • St. Anton, Sankt Anton am Arlberg in German, is Austria's premier ski-bum resort! It's actually a small village cum... Read More

  • Kitzbühel, a small, Tyrolian resort town in the Kitzbüheler Alps, comes with international renown and huge snob appeal, and... Read More


Copyright © 2010-2013 Indian Chief Travel Guides. Images tagged as (cc) are licensed under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license.