Perched on a plateau of volcanic rock, Orvieto (pop. 25,000) has a view of the rolling farmlands of Umbria that provides a perfect complement to a glass of its famous Orvieto Classico wine. Below the surface, caves and tunnels attest to the town’s long history; Etruscans began burrowing into the hillside in the 7th century BC. Six hundred years of labor went into the construction of the breathtaking ill Duomo, whose spires, sculptures, and mosaics remain the pride and joy of Orvieto to this day. The Capella della Madonna di San Brizio, off the right transept, houses the dramatic Apocalypse frescoes of Luca Signorelli, whose compositions inspired Michelangelo. (Duomo open M-Sa 7:30am-12:45pm and 2:30-7pm, Su 2:30-6:45pm. Modest dress required. Capella open Apr.-Sept. M-Sa 10am-12:45pm and 2:30-7:15pm, Su 2:30-6pm; Oct.-Mar. reduced hours. ‚3.) Underground City Excursions offers the most complete tour of the ancient Etruscan city buried beneath modern Orvieto. ( 0763 34 48 91. Four lhr. tours leave the tourist office daily ll:30-5:45pm. ‚5.50, students ‚3.50.)
Trains run hourly to Florence (2Vz hr. ‚9.70) and Rome (2’A hr. ‚7). From the train station, take a shuttle to the tourist office at P. del Duomo 24. (0763 34 17 72; fax 0763 34 44 33. Open M-F 8:15am-l:50pm and 4-7pm, Sa lOam-lpm and 4-7pm, Su lOam-noon and 4-6pm.) Walk up V. Duomo to reach Hotel Posta , V. Luca Signorelli 18, situated in a grand old building with antique decorations. (0763 34 19 09. Singles ‚31; doubles ‚44.) For free tasting of Orvieto Classico or another wine that piques your interest, try Cantina Freddano, C. Cavour 5. ( 0763 30 82 48. Open daily 9:30am-7:30pm. Bottles from ‚4.) Postal Code: 05018.
THE MARCHES (LE MARCHE)
In the Marches, green foothills separate the gray shores of the Adriatic from the Apennine peaks and traditional hill towns from umbrella-laden beaches. Inland towns, easily accessible by train, rely on agriculture and preserve the region’s historical legacy in the architectural remains of Gauls and Romans.
ORVIETO Photo Gallery
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