A Day Trip to Orvieto
By Kyra Bowar – USAC student
A great part about living in Viterbo is its proximity to other smaller towns in the Lazio and Umbria regions. Orvieto, a little Umbrian town full of quaint shops and rich history, is only a bus or train ride from Viterbo, an easy day trip to add to your agenda.
This weekend, I had the opportunity to make the trek up to this adorable town. Especially from Viterbo, public transportation makes it easy to get to Orvieto. I caught the bus from Porta Fiorentina, switched to the train at Attigliano station, and hopped off right in front of the funicolare (gondola) that takes visitors up the cliff to the town.
I felt like I was being lifted into the clouds as the funicolare took me up to Orvieto. Unfortunately, it was sprinkling a little that morning. While the views from the town are spectacular on a clearer day, the mist from the clouds gave the streets an eerie ambiance.
After stopping for some gelato, I made my way toward Orvieto’s most famous attraction, the Duomo. The facade of this 14th-century cathedral is decorated with spectacular golden mosaics and exceptionally intricate carvings. The Gothic influences are evident in the breathtaking, gray and white striped exterior walls and interior columns, another feature that makes this cathedral so famous. Be sure to devote plenty of time to marvel at the exterior and explore the interior of this jewel of Orvieto.
While the Duomo is certainly a must-see while in Orvieto, you can also visit the Civic Museum, take a tour of the underground labyrinth of tunnels, or marvel at the depths of St. Patrick’s Well.
When the clouds cleared a little, I stumbled upon a secluded lookout spot, right near the entrance to the underground tunnels. The rolling green hills and tiny stone houses dotted the beautiful countryside below Orvieto. A small swarm of friendly cats greeted me as I approached, enjoying my attention as much as I was enjoying the panoramic view. I had marveled at the majesty of the Duomo, but I could’ve sat all day, gazing out at the quiet scene sprawling out below me.
As the sun began to set, the little shops around Orvieto began to open for the evening and the locals came out to shop and chat. I spent the rest of my time in Orvieto exploring the streets, grabbing a bite to eat at a local pizzeria, and meandering into the local boutiques and shops.
Perhaps it’s because of its secluded location or the distance from the larger cities, but Orvieto is the perfect place to experience a genuine Italian town and get away from the crowds. Whether you visit on a misty winter afternoon or a warm summer day, Orvieto is a gem of central Italy.