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Orvieto…Walled City in Umbria

Orvieto is a medieval town on top of a hill that has been occupied for 3,000 years first by the Etruscans and then by the Romans. I found Orvieto to be filled with “quirky” sites and pieces of art. Religious influences are everywhere in town and all roads lead to the Duomo.

The Duomo is covered in art outside and in. The alternating white and grey stone is distinctive and part of the region.

Inside the cathedral the wall and ceilings are covered with frescoes that date to the 1300 and 1400’s. Dante is represented and curious figures such as the skull with wings are found on the walls. The Duomo houses a famous reliquary that holds a cloth with the Blood of Christ. We happened to be here when the relic was being displayed for Easter.

On the outside of the church are panels carved in marble and displayed near the doors of the Church. The subjects are medieval and deal a lot with death and what happens afterwards.

On a lighter note…above the doors of the church you will find a flying cow. I kid you not. There he is. I guess he’s actually a bull.

We climbed the Clock Tower for some spectacular views of the city and the countryside. Here you can see the tiled roofs and stone construction. The buildings are centuries old but many have been modernized inside.

The above pictures are of St. Patrick’s Well. It’s located very near the funicular that brings you from the lower part of Orvieto to the upper part. Here’s a view looking down from the top, then part way down, at the bottom and then the view up from the bottom. It was quite spectacular and I have not climbed that many steps in a long time. You wind down one side, cross over the bridge and climb up the other side. The steps are wide enough for the mules who used to carry water from the bottom of the well to the city. The stairs form a double helix.

We visited the Etruscan Museum and learned about bronze figures, porcelain, marble and, of course, gold that had been found in the caverns carved from tuff that exist under the city.

I could go on about many other aspects of Orvieto but, if you visit, you will not be disappointed. The people are friendly, the food is delicious and there are wonderful things to see.

The Duomo is impressive at any time of day but especially magical at night.

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