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Autumn in Orvieto

ITALY | Tuesday, 26 October 2021 | Views [114]

Looking Over the Walls, Orvieto

Looking Over the Walls, Orvieto

LIVING IN A HILL TOWN LIKE ORVIETO must be inconvenient. For us just getting there was a pain in the tuchus. Besides the narrow, winding, one-way streets and lack of parking, Orvieto is old. Medieval old. It’s charming to tourists like us but the thought of actually living here makes me shiver.


           It's lovely...but I wouldn't want to live here

We parked several hundred meters from the funicular—unless you have a reserved parking spot “up top,” it’s the only way to visit. A couple of Euros gets you a round trip ride and then you still have to walk uphill to the Duomo. 


         Up or Down, the Funicular is you friend

We remembered the Duomo fondly from our visit a decade ago, fondly but not necessarily clearly in my case. Officially Catedralle di Santa Maria Assunta, it is one of the most beautiful churches we’ve seen in Italy. Work began in 1290 and the cathedral took more than  300 years to complete which explains the balance of Gothic and Romanesque architecture.


        Orvieto Duomo with Mosaics and Bronzes

Maybe it was the time of year, one of those perfect autumn days on the cusp of “shoulder season”— or maybe just the time of day, the hours just past noon when everything in Italy comes to a standstill—but Orvieto seemed almost deserted. 


                    Staturary, Columns, Stained Glass—Who could ask for anything more? 

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                                  "Catedralle di Santa Maria Assunta" aka Orvieto Duomo                                 

No one was standing in my way when I photographed the mosaics and the four bronzes symbolizing the four evangelists. No one was in line to buy tickets and the few people inside the Duomo melted easily into the huge nave. Everything goes together perfectly; the stained glass, alabaster rosettes, saintly statues and towering columns. Even the frescos in the chapels seemed alive.

b       b

      San Giovanale, 1004                         San Andrea, 1013 

But the Duomo isn’t the oldest church in Orvieto. That honor goes to the Chiesa di San Giovenale which dates back to 1004! It was built on the edge of a cliff upon the ruins of an Etruscan temple. We weren’t able to see its famous frescos—the chiesa was chiuso. The Church of Saint Andrews early as old, 1013, but its 12-sided bell tower is a 20th Century addition. 


                                         Looking Down from Orvieto

We continued our walk along the walls through the oldest part of town admiring the fall colors and views of the countryside. And what views! At the rate the leaves were falling it will look like winter by the weekend.



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