Orvieto – One Stop You Should Absolutely Make

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter … to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring—these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”  John Burroughs

When I first started looking at this trip as a real possibility, I mentioned it to one of the people I consider to be that rare combination of a great photographer and a wonderful teacher.  I mentioned that Italy was one of my main destinations and he began to tell me about this wonderful little city between Rome and Florence called Orvieto.

I looked into it and decided that it was a place that I definitely had to visit.  One of the things that I have learned from this trip is that I generally prefer to visit smaller cities where I can really explore over the big cities where you never feel like you see nearly as much of the sights.

After my time in Rome and the crazy week before, I needed a slower pace and Orvieto was just what the doctor ordered.  I arrived early in the afternoon and checked in. Then I walked up to the top of the plateau where the city is located.

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the small streets and the entire vibe of this amazing city.  I wandered around and scouted out for the next day.  Then I headed back down and soaked up the beautiful views as I walked.  I stopped a couple of times just to appreciate the beauty around me.

I enjoyed what was one of the best pizzas I have ever tasted, which was cooked in a brick oven by a lady who is originally from Egypt.  As I ate, I made a plan for the next day to see the sites in the town.

There are lots of things to see and enjoy there, but my favorite two were the Duomo and St. Patrick’s well.  I headed to the well as my first stop since it was near the trolley car that I took to the top and the sun is in a better location to illuminate the well.  It’s almost 180 feet deep and there are two staircases that corkscrew around the inside of the well.  It was designed so that people could take their animals down one side and up the other to help carry the water. It was a very cool thing to experience as you stood looking up from that far below the ground.

Later in the day, I made my way over to visit the much heralded Duomo.  It has a beautiful striping of white and black rock around both the inside and outside.  Inside it is almost equally impressive with a room that has an interesting gold mural of the final judgment.

I wandered around the rest of the day and checked out an underground tour as well as several small museums.  But I would suggest that if you are traveling between Rome and any of the big cities in Northern Italy that you give yourself at least a half a day to check out this phenomenal stop. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

And I owe a special thanks to David Williams for describing the city so lovingly that I could not resist visiting it.  I loved it and I hope the photos encourage you all to visit it as well.

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