Orvieto is magnificent from any angle. It is perched on a 300 metre plateau. I always look for it when I am on the Rome – Florence train.
The Duomo is one of Italy’s greatest Romanesque- Gothic cathedrals. It took almost 300 years to build, beginning in 1290. The building’s facade is breathtaking with various animals appearing to be stepping out into mid air. There are also detailed story telling panels, dating back to a time when few people could read.
We took the underground tour in Orvieto. The city is built on a tufa plug, which is porous and easy to excavate. All homes had large underground cellars for water and food storage. The underground rooms around the outside edge of the town were used to house and breed pigeons as a source of food. All the keepers had to do was provide dovecotes and the pigeons were free to come and go in search of food and water.
While we were underground there was a sudden storm. It was quite strange to watch the sky darken and see the rain falling on the surrounding plain from an underground cave.
We had an excellent dinner in an underground restaurant – Le Grotto del Funaro in Via Ripa Serancia.
Orvieto is accessible by train from Florence or Rome. If you drive, park in the large carpark at the foot of the city and take the Funicular to the top.