Orvieto – Travel Italy with the Popes

Travel Italy near Rome – Visit Orvieto

Things to do near Rome Italy, visit Orvieto

Orvieto walled town on a hillside

Orvieto is about one hour north of Rome. It is so close to Rome that it is a must see for anyone who is trying to find things to do near Rome. The parking and tourist facilities are very good, and it is very easy to get in and out of Orvieto.

Orvieto was a center of Etruscan life, starting in about 800 A.D. The word Tuscany, the land of Siena and Florence further to the north, is derived from the Roman word Etrusci, meaning Etruscans.

Orvieto was a favorite landing spot for Popes all through the first half of the second millenium, and was under papal control during this time and later, until it was annexed to modern Italy in 1860.

Orvieto has a number of very prominent tourist sights. Most notable are the Duomo di Orvieto, or the main cathedral, and the Orvieto Caves, which is an underground city constructed by the Popes.

Things to do near Rome Italy, Orvieto cathedral

The Orvieto Duomo Cathedral

Though it is not quite as tourist-friendly as Assisi up north, Orvieto is very famous for its cathedral, and that is a must-see for things to do near Rome Italy. If you have visited Siena, it is easy to see that the Orvieto cathedral has the some of the same Tuscan Gothic style influence.

My favorite part of the Orvieto cathedral is its incredible cylindrical columns inside, which consist of alternate rows of travertine and basalt, in black and white stripes. This pattern is repeated in the walls on the outside.

Another interesting thing about Orvieto is that it is well known for its own wine, called Orvieto Classico. Orvieto Classico is made from the best selections of grapes from Procanico, Verdello, Malvasia, Grechetto and Drupeggio varieties.

When I was in Florence in school in 1970, we used to prize the Orvieto wines. Right at the moment, my taste buds are more accustomed to California Chardonnays. So the relative sweetness and lightness of Orvieto wine is not my favorite. However, it was fun to buy some again…