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East Meets West A kind of marriage between Asia and Europe as my life yo-yo's between the two this year! It's about the contrasts and similarities and especially the Art, Culture and Food.

Orvieto

ITALY | Friday, 11 January 2013 | Views [700]

 

Orvieto, one of Umbria's majestic towns will certainly take you a good day's exploration. To be honest a whole day is just not sufficient and also too much especially during the summer months. There is just so much to see and do! If you can only spend one day there then I would suggest for adults, the grand Duomo (Cathedral), a wander round the town and the museum finishing with a leisurely walk around the outside of the city walls giving spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. in the evening enjoy a meal in one of the many excellent restaurants and then meander back through the picturesque streets. But for me, and especially If you have children then I would certainly recommend adding on the 'Donkey Well and a tour around the Parco delle Grotto which is the underground Etruscan town. Orvieto is honeycombed with Etruscan and medieval caves and tour through this grotto is incredible. Everything required to sustain life is evident in the caves from deep wells, an ancient wine press, olive press and hundreds of holes in the walls for pigeons which would have been a source of food.

The town sits majestically on a big chunk of volcanic rock called tuff, and many of the buildings are also made from the same substance.

I still, even after numerous visits marvel at the sight if the Duomo as it appears in font of you as a narrow side street widens into a huge piazza. It is just an incredible sight! A glittering concoction of stained glass, sculpture and mosaic and so huge it is virtually impossible to take a good photograph without falling over!!

 

Breakfast! This is the best time in the summer months! I like to call in at Orvieto for breakfast after dropping friends off at Rome airport n time for the early flight. At 7am Orvieto is cool, serene and just waking up. One can drive right up into the centre and park without any problem. Bliss!

 

What can I say about Orvieto? Massive, magnificent? The city stands on a tufa outcrop rising above the Paglia valley. The old town is characterised by narrow, winding streets with pretty houses and archways. We have visited so many times and still find new places to explore and yet won't let the familiar things go without a re-visit. If you want to really experience Orvieto you need a good three days to take everything in. What would I recommend on a first visit? The Cathedral is a MUST. As is the magical underground Etruscan city (escorted tours and tickets bought from office in main square opposite the Cathedral) and the Donkey Well. These three are quite sufficient for one day especially as a meander around the little streets should also be included.

 

Typical pottery shop

Donkey Well

This is fantastic! Visited first with daughter number one and then with daughters number one and two and lastly with friends but could quite easily have gone again! Great fun walking right down the spiral stairs into the well. Flip-flops not recommended.

Underground Etruscan City - it is incredible thinking that this was once a living city with all resources needed for life. Wells, stores, facilities for pressing grapes, buriel grounds, potteries, animal stores. ........
There s also a wonderfully refreshing walk around the outside of the city by the cliff wall from where there are beautiful panoramic views across the countryside.
It is a steep walk up from the lower city and main car park to the historical centre. There is an escalator but the trouble is that if you take this then you miss out on the atmosphere and all the quaint streets. You would also miss the Pozzi dellla Cava below.

This is an Etruscan well and pottery which has been recently excavated and restored privately by the family. It Is exquisite . Very interesting. A series of underground chambers with evidence of old kilns and pottery. Very extensive. It is a good place for lunch. Lovely dining room set into the cave and very reasonably lay priced menu. they also make their own produce including liqueurs. Also a bar and shop and VERY good toilets!

The Well in Pozzo dellla Cava

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pBPTrM7g4Q&w=640&h=390]

(video of main square and Cathedral)

We always pay a visit to the shop of artist Verdi Rossi in the Main Street. I love his paintings and sculptures all with a supportive story or poem. If you are an art lover or like to ponder on the philosophies of life then take half an hour to enjoy his work.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hi4r6GcalWw&w=640&h=390]

 

View of tufa cliff

On the road into Orvieto after the station is the Necropolis of Tufa Crucifix. There are many of these buriel grounds or 'cities of he dead' but this one is probably the most interesting. You can park right next to it which is convenient. The chamber-tombs are arranged in such a way that they form a real city. They date back to the 8th to 3rd century BC.

 

 

Below: City of the dead.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hi4r6GcalWw&w=640&h=390]

There are lots and lots if churches. We looked into this one yesterday. It is the Church of San Domenico. (1233) Gothic style. There is an adjacent monastery.

The following photos and video were taken on our walk around the cliff walls.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bnak48j2aqY&w=640&h=390]

 

This church is actually built into the walls of he cliff. It is locked but I managed to zoom in through the bars on the window to get a photo.

 

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hi4r6GcalWw&w=640&h=390]

 

And we still haven't seen everything!

 

 

Tags: donkey well, duomo, eutruscan, medieval, orvieto

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