Why You Should Visit Orvieto, Italy
Orvieto is One of the Best Day Trips From Rome by Train
Want to visit Italy but you're looking to see more than just the tourist cities? Orvieto is your answer. Located only 90 minutes away by train, this historic town is perfect for a day trip from Rome.
The historic (and beautiful) section of this city is situated at the top of a steep hill. The train will drop you off in the modern, and consequently less interesting part of the city. From there you can either drive to the top or take the escalator or elevator.
The hill-top town has beautiful views, gorgeous buildings, and an aura of history. The well-preserved Gothic and medieval buildings will make you feel like you're frozen in time. You can easily wander the city for hours without running out of beautiful architecture, historic buildings, or interesting spots to people-watch.
The city is surrounded by small parks and gardens that offer a truly unique view of the surrounding countryside. It is a far cry from what you’ll experience while you’re in the big cities, and well worth the trip to just stand and breathe country air. Within the city you’ll probably notice a fair number of tourists, most coming to visit the Duomo, but it is much quieter than the neighboring cities. There won't be any of the long lines you'll find in Rome.
Duomo di Orvieto (Orvieto Cathedral)Click thumbnail to view full-size
Duomo di Orvieto
Orvieto Duomo Hours: 9:30 am - 6:00 pm
You’ve heard of the beautiful Duomo in Florence, but I would argue that Orvieto’s Duomo is even more awe-inspiring. This church is massive and opens into a wide courtyard where people are often sitting, eating, or selling art. While this is a building of huge religious significance you don't have to be religious to appreciate it. Delicate frescoes and gold details cover the Duomo's facade. Decorated with a mixture of colorful mosaics, detailed sculpture, and impressive stained glass this church is truly memorable.
There is a small fee to go within the church but the décor within is just as magnificent as the exterior due to its sheer size and detail.
Orvieto Caves, ItalyClick thumbnail to view full-size
Pozzo della Cava
Caves beneath a small cafe.
This fascinating series of caves is hidden beneath a tiny little restaurant, tucked away on a side street. For only three euros you can discover some of the history hidden away in these historic caves, and explore the well hidden in their depths. Exploring these caves with a self-guided tour doesn't take too long, probably between a half hour and an hour and a half. But during this time you can learn a lot about the people who once lived on this hill, and hid in these caves. You can see remnants of broken pottery and discover the art of pottery-making. Nearing the end of your tour you can see the well the delves hundred of feet deep. That this well was handmade and actually used is exciting and dizzying.
Take the time after your visit to step into the restaurant where they've installed a glass panel you can stand on. Through the glass you can peer into the ruins below.
Torre del Moro
The tower in Orvieto
To get to the top of this tower you need to climb the 250 steps; the view is worth it. The city from above is absolutely breathtaking. It was probably one of the best views I got in all of Italy, barring of course the top of St. Peter’s Basilica.
On one side you get a sweeping view of the countryside, the other offers a beautiful birds-eye view of the town. A word of warning though - the bell does occasionally go off so prepare your eardrums.
Unfortunately I didn’t actually make it to these caves but I’ve heard wonderful things, I’ll probably have to go back sometime to experience them. Due to the city’s location and age the hill it sits on features miles of historic tunnels and buried secrets. These caves in particular are spacious and beautiful – and they have guided tours. Check out the tripadvisor reviews.
A City Worth Visiting
Overall Orvieto was a fantastic experience. The restaurants are delicious, the views are amazing, and the attractions are worth visiting. We reached Orvieto for fairly cheap but our visit was during the off season and spent a whole day enjoying the city.
When you go to a country and visit only its big cities you miss out on a lot of what that country has to offer. Branch out a little and you’ll discover some truly beautiful things.
Streets of Orvieto
Orvieto Italy Map
Well of the Cave
The Tower in Orvieto
Piazza Duomo 24 (tourist info office), Orvieto, Italy
How to Get From Rome to Orvieto
Getting to Orvieto is incredibly easy. All you have to do is purchase a train ticket at Termini Train Station in Rome to Orvieto. The ride should take about an hour and a half and it's a direct route.
You can purchase train tickets at Trenitalia. When I went train tickets were only about 35 euros but it depends heavily on the season and how far in advance you purchase.
Roma Termini to Orvieto (approx 1.5 hours)
If you're planning on using Rome as your home-base check out one of my other blog posts about the best food and attractions in Rome.