Travel tips you can trust
This ancient town picturesquely sits on a large, flat outcropping with sheer cliffs - and has a marvelous cathedral.
It's the Duomo (cathedral). It is especially renowned for its superlative facade that is clad with mosaics, statues, and stained glass - and for its fresco-adorned San Brizio Chapel (which gave Michelangelo some ideas for his Sistine Chapel).
points of interest
The town is blessed with many interesting attractions. St. Patrick's Well leads the way. Its deep shaft was dug in the 16th century to provide water in the event of a seize. To speed water-fetching, the architect cleverly designed double-helix style stairways - one for the up, the other for the down mule traffic. You can descend the some 250 stairs (but must climb them back up). Other major tourism draws include a pre-Roman Etruscan necropolis. There is also a Etruscan museum. Orvieto's narrow Medieval streets and alleys provide another adventure.
Orvieto is famous for its ceramics. Some are garish, some not. The subtle one I purchased won a permanent place in my home.
What created the
Orvieto sits on
The outcropping is a tuff, a formation of volcanic ash compressed through geological time. Erosion gave it its upside-down elongated tub shape. Even today the tuff is eroding slowly. However, major conservation engineering projects have decelerated the natural process.
Location in Italy