Duomo of Orvieto illuminated by sun, Umbria, Italy

Things to do in  Orvieto

A cathedral in the clouds

Orvieto’s show-stopping gothic cathedral—one of the most theatrical in all of Italy— stands beacon-like above the rolling Umbrian countryside. Though the town charms with its sky-high medieval center, visiting the cathedral is by far the best thing to do in Orvieto. After you’ve taken in this architectural wonder, wander the winding lanes of the Old Town, then head underground to see historic wells, and a warren of tunnels and chambers dug into the volcanic rock over millennia.

Top 3 attractions in Orvieto

Orvieto Cathedral (Duomo di Orvieto)

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Orvieto’s magnificent cathedral (Duomo di Orvieto) can be seen from miles around, its soaring facade and spires towering high above the rooftops of the clifftop town. Once you get closer, you can take in its intricate external mosaics and stonework, rose window, bronze doors, and sumptuous Signorelli frescoes inside.More

St. Patrick’s Well (Pozzo di San Patrizio)

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A unique sight in Orvieto, the Pozzo di San Patrizio (St. Patrick’s Well) is a remarkable feat of hydraulic engineering dating from the 16th century. Descend the double-helix staircases down almost 200 feet (more than 50 meters), and admire the ingenious design aimed at providing the clifftop city with water in times of siege.More

Pozzo della Cava

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The clifftop town of Orvieto sits above a hidden warren of tunnels and caverns dug through soft tufa bedrock from the time of the Etruscans to the 20th century. Discover this underground network with a visit to Pozzo della Cava, an Etruscan well enlarged in the 16th century that leads to ancient caves, kilns, and a cistern.More

Top activities in Orvieto

Wine Tasting and Winery tour

Wine Tasting and Winery tour

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All about Orvieto

When to visit

Orvieto’s cathedral and Old Town are lively from spring through fall when shops and restaurants brim with people enjoying the balmy Mediterranean climate. The city has two major religious celebrations, the Festa della Palombella and Corpus Domini, which fall between May and June, and involve costumed processions, period entertainment, and religious celebrations. Off-season visitors can catch live performances during Umbria Jazz Winter, hosted in historic venues across the Old Town.

Getting around

The whole of Orvieto’s historic center sits on the top of a volcanic plug and is compact enough to explore on foot—though come prepared to scale a few steep lanes. The Old Town is connected to the train station below via buses and a funicular train, which both run regularly year-round. The scenic 3-mile (5-kilometer) Anello della Rupe (Cliff Ring) skirts the clifftop—it takes around 1.5 hours to complete and offers bird’s-eye views over the valley.

Traveler tips

Orvieto Underground, one of Orvieto’s most unique attractions, is hidden beneath its cobblestone streets. This network of wells, tunnels, chambers, and dovecotes was dug out of the soft tufo stone by hand over thousands of years. It was used to guarantee the city water and refuge in times of siege, and was both an olive oil mill and wine cellar during medieval times. Explore the highlights of this massive warren under the city on an Orvieto Underground tour.

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People Also Ask

What is Orvieto known for?

Orvieto’s cathedral is the city’s most famous sight—it’s what brings most visitors to climb its clifftop perch. The soaring gothic facade can be seen from miles around and the interior frescoes by Fra Angelico and Benozzo Gozzoli are early Renaissance masterpieces.

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How much time do I need to visit Orvieto?

With a compact medieval Old Town home to headliners such as the cathedral, St. Patrick’s Well, and the Orvieto Underground, you can explore Orvieto in a day. You’ll also have plenty of time to wander the shop-lined lanes of the Old Town and sip a glass of Orvieto Classico, the area’s flagship white wine.

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Is Orvieto closer to Rome or Florence?

Orvieto sits just above the highway that runs between Rome and Florence, making it a popular stop for travelers heading north or south. The city is about 1.5 hours by car or by train north of Rome, and about 2 hours south of Florence, so is closer to the capital city.

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Is Orvieto worth a visit?

Yes, Orvieto is one of the most unique and atmospheric historic hill towns in central Italy, and its cathedral is an architectural wonder. In addition, the town has a maze-like Old Town built almost entirely of volcanic tufa stone and offers spectacular views over the Umbrian countryside from its elevated perch.

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What foods is Orvieto known for?

Orvieto is surrounded by rich farmland dotted with vineyards, olive groves, and oak forests that are the source of its excellent cuisine. Orvieto Classico wine is the area’s most famous gourmet product, followed by superb extra-virgin olive oil, heirloom pork and beef, and earthy black truffles.

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What is the best month to visit Orvieto?

Orvieto’s church and historic center are a delight year-round, but May and June are the liveliest months to visit. The city’s two main festivals are held in the weeks between spring and summer, when shops and restaurants buzz with life. It’s also when views of the surrounding countryside are most colorful.

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