Orvieto: Ideal day trip from Florence or Romepa0l0
Orvieto is an ideal day trip from Florence or Rome, as it’s reachable within one hour, has gorgeous countryside views, Luca Signorelli fresco masterpieces, exquisite food and top notch wines.
Orvieto’s fascinating underground tunnels carved out some 3,000 years ago by the Etruscans. In the heart of the town, there is an enchanting underground itinerary made of caves rich in archaeological finds that have been recently brought to light after centuries of silence. Research in the urban area began at the end of the 1970s with a census that led to the identification of about 600 underground complexes. It offers an enormous historical and archaeological heritage that is essential in order to understand Orvieto.
Orvieto boasts being home to many historical palaces. Among these we find: Palazzo del Gusto, a centre of culture and food and wine training hosted by the Province of Terni inside the Convent of St.Giovanni in the medieval quarter of Orvieto.
Not only this, there are also Papal Palaces, as Orvieto was the refuge of five popes during the 13th century: The popes took up residence in the Papal Palace of Orvieto, also known as Palazzo Soliano, adjacent to the Orvieto Catherdral, and expanded onto the bishop’s residence. None of these popes died in Orvieto, hence there are no papal tombs. But, during the period from the reign of Nicholas IV to Benedict XI (1303–1304), Orvieto hosted the pope more frequently than Rome.
Art historian Gary M. Radke notes that “the papal palaces in Viterbo and Orvieto are the most extensive thirteenth-century papal palaces to survive to our own day.”
At the end of the 1200s the Medieval city state of Orvieto, in its period of maximum economic power and political stability, moved the symbols of power into the most representative public buildings of the city, restoring the ancient Palazzo Comunale and rebuilidng Palazzo del Popolo and the cathedral.
Oriveto is all about ceramics.
The striking, bold marble design wowed the world, when it was built to commemorate a miracle, in 1263.
The miracle being the Miracle of the Blood, in which blood gushed from the host while a Bohemian priest was celebrating the Mass in the Saint Cristina Basilica in Bolsena. Pope Urbano IV was informed of the Miracle and he rushed from Orvieto, to see the blood on the corporal and on the stones, which are still today preserved in Saint Cristina Basilica in Bolsena.
The Holy Corporal Chapel was built in order to keep the relic of the miracle of Bolsena around 1350.
Luca Signorelli adorned the chapel with traditional frescoes that marks the decorative style of the 1400s. Signorelli’s work lasted five years, from 1499 to 1504, crossing two centuries and two aesthetic traditions.
It is Luca Signorelli’s art and his ‘Last Judgement’ frescoes that inspired Michelangelo when he was painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling. According to literature, as a reward for this work, Luca received not only house and money but also white wines of Orvieto (1,000 litres per year).
Food glorious food
If you say to any Italian you are you are going to Umbria, you’ll get a smile and a glint in their eye. Umbria is famous for its outstanding food. Truffles, seen here served over a bed over fresh pasta, is one of the scrummy foods on offer.
Italy’s Best food, wine and olive oil tours, combine the best of all these worlds.
An after lunch stroll around Orvieto, is the icing on the cake.
If you want to get amazing photos of the golden lights as the sun sets over Orvieto, it’s all about climbing the medieval clock Tower. Almost 50 metres high, it offers great views over the city and surrounding rolling hills.