All SEE in Orvieto

One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy is well known for its rich art and culture, and for its numerous landmarks. With 54 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country in the world, and an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (churches, palaces, museums, fountains, sculptures and archaeological remains), Italy is home to about half of the world’s artistic treasures. And if you are looking for inspiration, find below a list of the most famous tourist attractions in Orvieto, Umbria…

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    Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Orvieto is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy and the world and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.   SHORT HISTORY The building of the Orvieto Cathedral was started in 1290 by the will of Pope Nicholas IV. The church was designed, probably, by Arnolfo di Cambio, but it is not known for sure. At the beginning, the project was entrusted to Fra Bevignate from Perugia, and later, before the end of the 13th century, to Giovanni di Ugguccione, who introduced the first Gothic forms. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Sienese sculptor and architect Lorenzo Maitani assumed the role of the master builder, changing the design of the church into something similar with the Cathedral of Siena. At the Maitani’s death, in 1330, the works were far from over. The role of master builder was obtained by various architects, who succeeded each other over the years, often for short periods. The Chapel of the Corporal was built between 1350 and 1356, and the Chapel of San Brizio was built between 1408 and 1444. The works of the facade continued over the years, and were completed in the second half Read more [...]

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    Maurizio Tower

    Maurizio Tower, built in Piazza del Duomo, in Orvieto, between 1347 and 1348, is one of the oldest clock towers in Italy. Maurizio is the bronze automaton on top of the tower, which, at fixed time, swings its body and strikes the bell with its hammer.   SHORT HISTORY The history of the Maurizio Tower is closely related to the history of the Orvieto Cathedral. The tower was comissioned by the Opera del Duomo, and built between 1347 and 1348, to support the worksite. The tower was built originally to be a sundial, because at the time of its construction, there was no mechanical clock available. Its role was to indicate the start and the end of the work schedule. The current clockwork mechanism dates back to the 18th century, when a countwheel was added to strike the quarters on the smaller bells. Other adjustments were made between 1860 and 1870. In 1905, the headgear of the Maurizio was replaced. On October 29, 2011, the clock tower was brought back to use, and the building has become an information point for the Duomo and the Museum System of Orvieto’s Opera del Duomo (MODO).   HOW TO GET THERE Maurizio Tower Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Popolo

    Palazzo del Popolo, or Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, is an imposing palace in Orvieto, located in the homonymous square, Piazza del Popolo.   SHORT HISTORY The square was born around 1250 to host the Palazzo del Popolo, the palace which would welcome the Capitano del Popolo (Captain of the People), a political figure of the local administration in medieval Italy, established to balance the power and authority of noble families. It is believed that the palace was built on the initiative of the Neri della Greca family, on a pre-existing papal palace of 1157. Around 1250, the area was cleared and the existing constructions were demolished, so that a proper seat for the Captain of the People could be built, and Piazza del Popolo was born between 1281 and 1284. Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo was completed in the early 14th century, but the building saw changes and expansions in the following decades. The strange bell tower was built in 1315, and the bell which is now located on Torre del Moro was placed inside. Among the main rooms, there is the Sala dei Quattrocento, the hall that in 1596 was sold to the Faculty of Law, Theology and Read more [...]

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    Pozzo della Cava

    Pozzo della Cava (The Quarry Well) is one of the two ancient wells in Orvieto, the other being Pozzo di San Patrizio.   SHORT HISTORY The well was excavated, initially, by Etruscans searching for water springs in Orvieto. After many centuries, in 1527, Pope Clement VII took refuge in Orvieto after the Sack of Rome, and ordered the rehabilitation of the well, before comissioning the Pozzo di San Patrizio. The work was paid by the Municipality and was completed in 1530. Pozzo della Cava remained open until 1646, when the town authorities ordered its closing, after five French officers who attempted to molest women were thrown into the well. After more than 3 centuries, the well was uncovered by Tersilio Sciarra in December 1984. The restoration works lasted until 1996 and, in 2004, the ancient access from Via della Cava was restored.   ARCHITECTURE The well is 36 meters deep, including the height of the spring water at the bottom. Pozzo della Cava consists of two parts that have been unified – a larger one, circular, with an average diameter of 3.40 meters, and a smaller rectangular shaft, measuring 60 x 80 centimeters. A tunnel about 1.7 meters high and Read more [...]

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    Pozzo di San Patrizio

    Pozzo di San Patrizio (Saint Patrick’s Well) is one of the two ancient wells in Orvieto, the other being Pozzo della Cava.   SHORT HISTORY In 1527, Pope Clement VII, returned to Orvieto after the Sack of Rome and, eager to protect himself in case of a siege, comissioned the structure of the well to Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. The well, originally named Pozzo della Rocca (The Fortress Well), as it was close to the fortress Rocca Albornoziana, was designed to provide water in the event of a disaster or siege. The well was built between 1527 and 1537. The works were concluded during the papacy of Paul III Farnese (1534-1549). Pozzo di San Patrizio took the name of St. Patrick, probably because it was used as a Purgatory of Saint Patrick, similar to the cave in Ireland where the unbelievers who descended to its bottom would gain access to heaven.   ARCHITECTURE The well was built by digging in the tuff of the plateau on which Orvieto stands, being an amazing masterpiece of hydraulic engineering. Pozzo di San Patrizio is a cylindrical structure, 54 meters deep, with a diameter of 13 meters. The access to the well is Read more [...]

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    Torre del Moro

    Torre del Moro, originally known as Torre del Papa, is a tower 47 meters high adjacent to the Palazzo dei Sette, in Orvieto. From the top of the tower, a bird eye’s view of the entire city below is unfolding in all its splendor.   SHORT HISTORY The tower was built towards the end of the 13th century, at the same time with the restoration of the existing buildings and the construction of new buildings. In the 16th century, the tower was renamed Torre del Moro, after Raffaele Gualterio, known as Il Moro, who also gave his name to Palazzo Gualterio and to the entire district. In 1865, a water tank was placed in the Torre del Moro, at the height of 18 meters. One year later, in 1866, the mechanical clock and the two bells were added to the tower. One of the bells came from Torre di Sant’Andrea and the other from Palazzo del Popolo.   HOW TO GET THERE The closest bus station is Piazza Duomo, right in front of the Cathedral of Orvieto, about 300 meters away from the tower or about 4 minutes on foot. To get to the tower, you must walk on Via Read more [...]