The Full Wiki

Orvieto: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  Comune  —
Comune di Orvieto
Piazza della Repubblica.

Coat of arms
Orvieto is located in Italy
Location of Orvieto in Italy
Coordinates: 42°43′N 12°06′E / 42.717°N 12.1°E / 42.717; 12.1Coordinates: 42°43′N 12°06′E / 42.717°N 12.1°E / 42.717; 12.1
Country Italy
Region Umbria
Province Terni (TR)
Frazioni Bagni di Orvieto, Bardano, Baschi Scalo, Benano, Biagio, Botto di Orvieto, Canale di Orvieto, Canonica, Capretta, Ciconia, Colonnetta di Prodo, Corbara, Fossatello, Morrano, Orvieto Scalo, Osteria Nuova, Padella, Prodo, Rocca Ripesena, San Faustino, Sferracavallo, Stazione di Castiglione, Sugano, Titignano, Tordimonte, Torre San Severo
 - Mayor Toni Còncina
 - Total 281 km2 (108.5 sq mi)
Elevation 325 m (1,066 ft)
Population (May 31, 2008)
 - Total 21,043
 Density 74.9/km2 (194/sq mi)
 - Demonym Orvietani
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 05018
Dialing code 0763
Patron saint St. Joseph
Saint day March 19
Website Official website
Facade of the Orvieto Cathedral.
The Pozzo di S. Patrizio, a well built for the Popes.
The site of Orvieto was once an Etruscan acropolis.

Orvieto is a city and comune in southwestern Umbria, Italy situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff. The site of the city is among the most dramatic in Europe, rising above the almost-vertical faces of tuff cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built of the same stone.




Etruscan era

The ancient city (urbs vetus in Latin, whence "Orvieto"), populated since Etruscan times, has usually been associated with Etruscan Velzna, but some modern scholars differ. Orvieto was certainly a major centre of Etruscan civilization; the Archaeological Museum (Museo Claudio Faina e Museo Civico) houses some of the Etruscan artifacts that have been recovered in the immediate neighbourhood. An interesting survival that might show the complexity of ethnic relations in ancient Italy and how such relations could be peaceful, is the inscription on a tomb in the Orvieto Cannicella necropolis: mi aviles katacinas, "I am of Avile Katacina", with an Etruscan-Latin first name (Aulus) and a family name that is believed to be of Celtic ("Catacos") origin.

Roman and post-Roman eras

Orvieto was annexed by Rome in the third century BC. After the collapse of the Roman Empire its defensible site gained new importance: the episcopal see was transferred from Bolsena, and the city was held by Goths and by Lombards before its self-governing commune was established in the 10th century, in which consuls governed under a feudal oath of fealty to the bishop. Orvieto's relationship to the papacy has been a close one; in the tenth century Pope Benedict VII visited the city of Orvieto with his nephew, Filippo Alberici, who later settled there and became Consul of the city-state in 1016.

Middle Ages

Orvieto, sitting on its impregnable rock controlling the road between Florence and Rome where it crossed the Chiana, was a large town: its population numbered about 30,000 at the end of the 13th century.[1] Its municipal institutions already recognized in a papal bull of 1157,[2] from 1201 Orvieto governed itself through a podestà, who was as often as not the bishop, however, acting in concert with a military governor, the "captain of the people". In the 13th century bitter feuds divided the city, which was at the apogee of its wealth but found itself often at odds with the Papacy, even under interdict. Pope Urban IV stayed at Orvieto in 1262-1264.

Some of the families traditionally associated with major roles in Orvieto’s history are: Monaldeschi, Filippeschi, Alberici and Gualterio, of whom only the Alberici and the Gualterio have survived to the present day. The city became one of the major cultural attractions of its time when Thomas Aquinas taught at the Studium. A small university (now part of the University of Perugia), had its origins in a studium generale that was granted to the city by Pope Gregory XI in 1736.

Papal rule

The territory of Orvieto was under papal control long before it was officially added to the Papal States (various dates are quoted); it remained a papal possession until 1860, when in was annexed to newly unified Italy.

Main sights

The Duomo

On November 15, 1290, Pope Nicholas IV laid the cornerstone for the present building and dedicated it to the Assumption of the Virgin, a feast for which the city had a long history of special devotion. The design has often been attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, but the prevailing modern opinion is that its master mason was an obscure monk named Fra' Bevignate from Perugia. The church is striped in white travertine and greenish-black basalt in narrow bands, similar in many ways to the cathedral of Siena and other central Italian cathedrals of that era. In the following decade, cathedral authorities called Sienese architect and sculptor Lorenzo Maitani to stabilize the building and design a façade. He enlarged the choir and planned a transept with two chapels (c.1308-1330), spaces that were not finished until long after his death. The façade (illustration, right) is particularly striking and includes some remarkable sculpture by Lorenzo Maitani (14th century). Inside the cathedral, the Chapel of San Brizio is frescoed by Fra Angelico and with Luca Signorelli's masterpiece, his Last Judgment (1449–51). On the left side of this chapel are the tombs of the Gualterio family.

The Corporal of Bolsena, on view in The Duomo, dates from a Eucharistic miracle in Bolsena, Italy in 1263 when a consecrated host began to bleed onto a corporal, the small cloth upon which the host and chalice rest during the Canon of the Mass.

San Giovenale

San Giovenale.

Built in 1004, probably over a preexisting church, is the oldest church in Orvieto. Contains many 13th century frescos.[3]

Papal residence

From the 11th century onward, the pope maintained an aggressive political presence in the papal territory, which occupied central Italy. Together with his court, the pope moved from palace to palace in the manner of his European secular counterparts. Several central Italian cities hosted the pope and his retinue during the years of wandering, housing them in the bishop's palace. Outside Rome, only Orvieto and Viterbo (and eventually Avignon) had papal palaces. Adrian IV (1154–59) was the first pope to spend significant time in Orvieto. His successor, Innocent III (1198–1216), was a militant opponent of the Cathar heresy, which had infiltrated the city, and took measures to eradicate that heresy. In 1227, Pope Gregory IX confirmed the Dominican studium generale in Orvieto, a school of theology, and one of the first in Europe. Pope Urban IV (1261–64), a Frenchman who was crowned in the Dominican church in Viterbo and who spent most of his papacy in Orvieto, also left important legacies in the city. In 1263, he began a papal palace, perhaps the first outside Rome, and consecrated the new Dominican Church in Orvieto. Pope Nicholas IV (1288–92) chose Orvieto over his hometown of Rome as seat of the Curia in 1291-92, establishing the meeting of the Curia in Orvieto as a tradition. He was rewarded by the Orvietans by being elected Podestà and Capitano del Popolo, the first pope to hold civic offices in the city.

His successor Boniface VIII (1294–1303) continued the papal tie to Orvieto. Although often criticized by historians for nepotism and greed, the Orvietans were recipients of the pope's generosity, and honored Boniface by electing him city Capitano and Podestà in 1297 and Capitano again in 1298. He built the third and final Palazzo Papale, Palazzo Soliano. He also donated statues of himself at the main city gates, which earned him some criticism from his many enemies. Benedict XI (1288–1305) was the last pope to live in Italy before the Avignon papacy. During the years from Nicholas IV until Benedict XI Orvieto hosted the pope more frequently than Rome, and discussions continued as to whether or not Rome should remain the papal city. Pope Nicholas V (1447–55) gave support to the city. In a letter of 1449, the pope gave money for the restoration of the Episcopal Palace that originally had been a project of Nicholas IV. He also allowed Fra Angelico to begin painting in the Cappella Nuova of the Cathedral.

During the sack of Rome in 1527 by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Pope Clement VII took refuge at Orvieto. Fearing that in the event of siege by Charles' troops the city's water might prove insufficient, he had a spectacular well (the Pozzo di S. Patrizio or "Well of St. Patrick", so called because this Italian expression, inspired by medieval legends that St. Patrick's Purgatory in Ireland gave access down to Purgatory, is used to indicate something very deep) constructed by the architect-engineer Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. The central well shaft was surrounded by ramps in a double helix. These ramps were each designed for one-way traffic, so that mules laden with water-jars might pass down then up again unobstructed. An inscription on the well boasts that QUOD NATURA MUNIMENTO INVIDERAT INDUSTRIA ADIECIT ("what nature stinted for provision, application has supplied").

Etruscan ruins

Orvieto is also home to Etruscan ruins and the remnants of a wall that enclosed the city more than 2000 years ago. At the foot of the butte, surrounded by peach and apple trees and a vineyard, the Etruscan necropolis of Crocefisso di Tufo counts a hundred or so chamber tombs laid along a rectangular street grid.

Underground city

The underground city.

The city of Orvieto has long kept the secret of its labyrinth of caves and tunnels that lie beneath the surface. Dug deep into the tuff, a volcanic rock, these hidden and secret tunnels are only now open to view through guided tours. Their spectacular nature has also yielded many historical and archeological finds; one American College is assisting in this process. Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire has set up a program, where each summer, students travel to Italy to work at the college’s archaeology site located at the Coriglia excavation site, just outside of town [4].

The underground city boasts tunnels, galleries, wells, stairs, quarries, cellars, unexpected passageways, cisterns, superimposed rooms with numerous small square niches, detailing its creation over the centuries. Many of the homes of noble families were equipped with a means of escape from the elevated city during times of siege through secret escape tunnels carved from the soft rock. The tunnels would lead from the city palazzo to emerge at a safe exit point some distance away from city walls.

Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo

Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo is a simple building that still maintains an impressive grandeur. Work on the construction of the palazzo began in the 13th century on an area that had been occupied since 1157 by the Papal Palace built under the reign of Pope Hadrian IV.

The original Palazzo del Capitano was a single ground floor loggia that was used as a market place or for meetings, from which the magistrate would speak to the citizens. This was where the surrounding lords or representatives of vanquished cities came to pay their allegiance to Orvieto.

A narrow vicolo

The structure was enlarged within ten years of it having been completed and in 1315 the bell tower was added and in the subsequent year a great bell was hung there. The upper part of the structure was covered in 1472 and the large hall divided into two rooms, one large and the other small. The larger of the two occupied an area that corresponds approximately to the room known today as the Sala dei Quattrocento. Subsequently, the building functioned as a residence for the Capitano del Popolo, the Podestà and the Signori Sette.

From 1596 one of the lower section rooms housed the Studium, which had been re-instituted a few years earlier by Lorenzo Magalotti. Students of law, theology and logic came here to study twice a day, each time the bell of Palazzo del Popolo rung, until 1651. Few records exist of this ancient university appear after this date. Some sources indicate that it dates back to 1013 and had connections with names such as the Benedictine monks Graziano and Gozio of Orvieto.

The Albornoz Fortress

In Piazza Cahen stands the Fortezza dell'Albornoz. It was built by order of the Spanish Cardinal Albornoz under orders from Pope Innocent VI and designed by condottiero and military engineer Ugolino di Montemarte. The Albornoz fortress stands on an area that was once occupied by a temple, known by the Etruscan name of Augurale.

Originally known as the Rocca di San Martino, construction on this massive fortress started either in 1359 or 1353 near the town’s cemetery. Its aim was to allow the Church a secure site in the city and allowing the Cardinal and his captains to consolidate their recent military victories.

In its original square plan the fortress was flanked by a small building near the main entrance and surrounded by a moat, which was only accessible by the drawbridge. However, the Rocca was almost completely razed to the ground in 1395 and successive attempts to rebuild it were unsuccessful. The fortress was finally rebuilt during the mid-15th century using original plans and an additional circular line of fortifications.

After the Sack of Rome at the end of 1527 Pope Clement VII took refuge in Orvieto. To ensure that the city would be sufficiently supplied with water in the event of a siege, he gave orders for the digging of the now famous artesian well Pozzo di San Patrizio (1528–1537). For added security, the pope ordered that a second well be dug to supply the fortress alone.


The white wine of the Orvieto district, to the northeast of the city, is highly prized; red wines are also grown.

Orvieto is a member of Cittaslow, the slow food movement.

Orvieto will be host city of the 2009 Annual Conference, taking place from November 3 to 6, 2009.[5]

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Orvieto is twinned with:


  1. ^ G. Pardi, Il catasto d'Orvieto dell'anno 1292 (Perugia 1896) noted in D. P. Waley, "Pope Boniface VIII and the Commune of Orvieto" Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Fourth Series, 32 (1950:121-139) p. 121 note 2.
  2. ^ Codice diplomatico della città d'Orvieto (Florence 1884:26).
  3. ^ Korn, Frank J. (2002). Hidden Rome. Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press. pp. 210. ISBN 9780809141098. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Conference (OOoCon 2009) URL accessed on October 31, 2009.
  6. ^ "::Bethlehem Municipality::". Retrieved 2009-10-10. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Orvieto [1] is a city in Umbria. Designed to be impregnable, it was founded by the Etruscans on the top of a steep hill made of tufa, a volcanic ash stone.
The facade of the Duomo
The facade of the Duomo

Get in

By car

Orvieto is on the A1 autostrada that runs from Milan to Rome via Florence. After exiting the autostrada, a steep road winds its way up to the town. The approach to the town is one of the most glorious things about visiting Orvieto. Free parking is available at the railway station (take the funicular railway up to town) and on Via Roma if you eat at a restaurant in the centro historico (ask for a voucher at the restaurant).

By bus

The bus station is at Piazza Cahen on the Eastern edge of the town. Public buses, taxis, or a quick walk will get you into the town itself. Frequent buses run to and from Rome (2 hrs), Viterbo, Bolsena, Perugia (1 hr), and Todi (2 hrs). Bus A connects Piazza Cahen to the Piazza del Duomo and Bus B to the Piazza della Repubblica.

By train

The Orvieto train station is at the base of the hill at Orvieto Scalo and there are several daily trains to Florence, Chiusi, and Rome. The station is small and it is easy to find a taxi or a public bus up to the town. The funicular terminus is just outside the station if you want the spectacular ride up!

Get around

A funicular railway runs from the railway station to Piazza Cahen and is an easy and spectacular way of getting into town. The town itself is small and walking the entire length of the town is easy. Frequent public buses run through the town and taxis are also available.

Useful bus routes:

Bus 1: Railway Station to Piazza della Repubblica.
Bus A: Piazza Cahen to Piazza del Duomo.
Bus B: Piazza Cahen to Piazza della Repubblica.

Bicycles are available for rent at Testa Renato on the Via Montmarte and at Ciclo e Trekking Natura e Avventura on via Montenibbio near the station.

"Luca Signorelli and Orvieto"

"When Luca Signorelli was given the contract for the frescoes at the Orvieto Duomo, he added a stipulation that he should be given all the wine (from Orvieto) that he could drink! Whether it was the wine or his talent, his Last Judgment at the cathedral is a masterpiece. Credited with being amongst the first to introduce anatomically correct nudes, this series is considered to have provided the inspiration for the more famous Last Judgment of Michelangelo in the St. Sistine Chapel."

  • Tourist information is available from the tourist office [2] at the Piazza del Duomo (M-F 8:15-1:50, 4-7;Sat 10-1, 4-7; Sun and holidays 10-12, 4-6).
  • Duomo The wonderful Duomo of Orvieto is the main 'must-see' sight in this town. Constructed in the 13th and 14th centuries, the black and white striped building in mixed Romanesque and Gothic styles, is one of the world's greatest cathedral. The setting, on the Orvieto hill and visible from miles away in the Umbrian countryside doesn't hurt either. But, impressive as the cathedral is, the piece-de-resistance is inside, the frescoes of Luca Signorelli on the theme of the Last Judgment inside the Capella di San Brizio.
  • Medieval Quarter
  • Palazzo Buzi
  • San Giacome Maggiore
  • Musei Archeologici Claudio Faina e Civico
  • Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and Museo Emilio Greco
  • Museo Archeologico
  • Underground Orvieto
  • Piazza del Popolo and Cosrso Cavour
  • Palazzo del Popolo
  • Museo delle Ceramiche Medioevale
  • San Giovanni
  • San Giovenale
  • Sant'Agostino
  • Sant'Andrea
  • Porta Maggiore
  • San Lorenzo de Arari
  • San Francesco
  • The citadel
  • Tempio del Belvedere (Etruscan temple)

The walled city in general is also lovely to walk around. To see: Piazza del Popolo, Saint Patrick's well, La Cava well (etruscan), Corso Cavour (with its shop and restaurants), the Medieval quarter, Saint Giovenale, Saint Giovanni and Saint Francesco churches, Albornoz rock and the surrounding promenade of the downtown.


Tre Jolie- Local bar and dance club in Piazza del Popolo. Open nightly, salsa nights on Thursdays.

Blu Bar- Through the arches out of Piazza Della Reppublica, on the left side further down the street. Local hangout, amicable bartenders, reasonable prices, and wi-fi internet access.

Locanda Del LupoWednesday night karaoke. Owner's son, Leonardo, is quite the personable, and flirtacious.Orvieto likes cheese

  • Caffe Corso, On the main street, Via Corso Cavour. Free Wi-fi access, nice little place to sit and get on the internet, very friendly staff, quick snacks and drinks. Open late, usually till midnight.  edit
  • 3JOLIE Cafè de la Musique, Piazza del Popolo 17/A, (+39)347.4871598, [3]. Cocktail & Food Bar, Live & Disco Music, on weekends and good service.  edit
  • Take a guided walking tour of Orvieto, [4]. Take an escorted walking tour of Orvieto with an English-speaking guide. mail:  edit


Orvieto has long been and still is a center of artisanal pottery. You will find many shops near the Duomo, often with competitive prices. Also, the town is filled with several enotecas that feature Orvieto Classico--the white wine named after the city. You can get a bottle of good Classico for three euros. 3JOLIE Cafè de la Musique - Piazza del Popolo 17/A,, tel.(+39) 347.4871598


The gelato in piazza del Duomo is the best.


Pizzeria Charlie's- Corso Cavour. Some of the best pizza you will eat in all of Italy. A varied menu, wines, on tap beers, etc. Open for dinner at 7PM. Pizza prices range from 5-7 euros. Delicious.

Pasqueletti's- Gelateria, (Next to Duomo, and on the corner of Corso Cavour and Via Duomo) fresh gelato, open from mid day until 12:30PM. 2-3.5 euro for a cone/cup. They will let you put up to three flavors on one order. (It's a chain-there is also another Pasqueletti's on Via Corso Cavour near to Via Duomo, a much smaller store though.)

  • L'Asino d'Oro, Vicolo del Popolo (In a narrow lane off the Piazza del Popolo). Orvieto's sole chef inspired restaurant with a menu that changes daily but stresses the boar and truffles that the area is famous for. The chef, Lucio Sforza, does the rounds and the setting is quiet with most tables outside in the patio. Closed in winter.  edit
  • Maurizio, Via Duomo (Right by the Duomo), +39.0763.341114. Umbrian food. Typical great dishes, gerat wines at reasonable prices.  edit
  • Ristorante dell'Ancora, Via di Piazza del Popolo 5-11. The owner is local and his name is Carlo, his wife silvna owns a shop in the town as well. Tiramisu is exceptionally delicious. Eat on the outside candle lit terrace surrounded by lush green vines for a more romantic experience  edit
  • Etrusca, Via Lorenzo Maitani 10 (Near the Duomo). Traditional food in a fifteenth century building.  edit


Orvieto Classico Amabile white wine. There is a little shop with yellow awnings that sells meats and cheeses and wines on Via Duomo that has a nice array of Orvieto wines. An old married couple, Vera and Giovanni, work there. They will be happy to assist you in picking out the perfect "vino", depending upon what food you will be drinking it with.

  • Cantina Foresi, Piazza Duomo, 2 (on the corner of the main entrance to the Cathedral square), [5]. A nice place to have a glass of wine and traditional processed meats and cheeses from the Umbrian region. But what makes this place really interesting is the opportunity to visit the cellars cut into tufo rock and dating back to the 13th Century. The walls (and bottles!) are covered by a white mold.  edit


Orvieto gets inundated with tourists every day. So the best time to enjoy it is before the tourists arrive, which means you have to stay there. The Piazza del Duomo (cathedral square) is particularly magical when there is no one else about.

  • Hotel Duomo, Vicolo di Maurizio (just off the cathedral square down 15 steps to the left as you look at the cathedral's facade), 0763 341887/393849 - Fax 0763 394973, [6]. Just 18 rooms in an ideal location Euros 100-130 double.  edit
  • Hotel Maitani, Via Lorenzo Maitani, 5 (just along the narrow street that leads into the cathedral square opposite the main entrance to the cathedral), +39-0763-342011/2/3, [7]. Arguably Orvieto's top hotel, in an ideal location for enjoying the town before the crowds arrive.  edit
  • La Locanda della Quercia Calante, Contrada della Torraccia, 3/9, +39.0763.627199 (, fax: +39.0763.628929), [8]. This is 18km from Orvieto.  edit
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ORVIETO (anc. Volsinii, later Urbs Vetus, whence the modern name), a town and episcopal see of the province of Perugia, Italy, on the Paglia, 78 m. by rail N. by W. of Rome. Pop. (1901) 8820 (town); 18,208 (commune). It crowns an isolated rock, 1033 ft. above sea-level, 640 ft. above the plain, commanding splendid views, and is approached on the east by a funicular railway from the station. The town is very picturesque, both from its magnificent position and also from the unusually large number of fine 13th-century houses and palaces which still exist in its streets. The chief glory of the place is its splendid cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin; it was begun before 1285, perhaps by Arnolfo di Cambio, on the site of an older church; and from the 13th till the 16th century was enriched by the labours of a whole succession of great Italian painters and sculptors. The exterior is covered with black and white marble; the interior is of grey limestone with bands of a dark basaltic stone. The plan consists of a large rectangular nave, with semicircular recesses for altars, opening out of the aisles, north and south. There are two transeptal chapels and a short choir. The most magnificent part of the exterior and indeed the finest polychrome monument in existence is the west façade, built of richlysculptured marble from the designs of Lorenzo Maitani of Siena, and divided into three gables with intervening pinnacles, closely resembling the front of Siena cathedral, of which it is a reproduction, with some improvements. With the splendour of the whole, the beauty of the composition is marvellous, and it may rank as the highest achievement of Italian Gothic. It was begun in 1310, but the upper part was not completed till the 16th century. The mosaics are modern, and the whole church has suffered greatly from recent restoration. The four wall-surfaces that flank the three western doorways are decorated with very beautiful sculpture in relief, once ornamented with colour, the designs for which, according to Burckhardt, must be ascribed to the architect of the whole, though executed by other (but still Sienese, not Pisan) hands. The Madonna above the principal portal falls into the same category. The subjects are scenes from the Old and New Testaments, and the Last Judgment, with Heaven and Hell. In the interior on the north, the Cappella del Corporale possesses a large silver shrine, resembling in form the cathedral façade, enriched with countless figures in relief and subjects in translucent coloured enamels - one of the most important specimens of early silversmith's work that yet exists in Italy. It was begun by Ugolino Vieri of Siena in 1337, and was made to contain the Holy Corporal from Bolsena, which, according to the legend, became miraculously stained with blood during the celebration of mass to convince a sceptical priest of the truth of the doctrine of transubstantiation. This is supposed to have happened in 1263, while Urban IV. was residing at Orvieto; and it was to commemorate this miracle that the existing cathedral was built. On the south side is the chapel of S. Brizio, separated from the nave by a fine 14th-century wroughtiron screen. The walls and vault of this chapel are covered with some of the best-preserved and finest frescoes in Italy - among the noblest works of Fra Angelico and Luca Signorelli, mainly painted between 1450 and 1501 - the latter being of especial importance in the history of art owing to their great influence on Michelangelo in his early days. The choir stalls are fine and elaborate specimens of tarsia and rich wood-carving - the work of Antonio and Pietro della Minella (1431-1441). In 16thcentury sculpture the cathedral is especially rich, containing many statues, groups and altar-reliefs by Simone Mosca and Ippolito Scalza. Close by are two Gothic buildings, the bishop's palace (1264) and the Palazzo dei Papi (begun in 1296), the latter with a huge hall now containing the Museo Civico, with various medieval works of art, and also objects from the Etruscan necropolis of the ancient Volsinii (q.v.). The Palazzo Faina has another interesting Etruscan collection. The Palazzo del Comune is Romanesque (12th century), but has been restored. S. Andrea and S. Giovenale are also Romanesque churches of the 11th century; both contain later frescoes. To the 12th century belongs the ruined abbey of S. Severo, 1 m. south of the town. The church of S. Domenico contains one of the finest works in sculpture by Arnolfo del Cambio. This is the tomb with recumbent effigy of the Cardinal Brago or De Braye (1282), with much beautiful sculpture and mosaic. It is signed Hoc oPVs Fecit Arnvlfvs. It was imitated by Giovanni Pisano in his monument to Pope Benedict XI. at Perugia. Among the later buildings, a few may be noted by Sanmicheli of Verona, who was employed as chief architect of the cathedral from 1509 to 1528. The fortress built in 1364 by Cardinal Albornoz has been converted into a public garden. The well, now disused, called Il pozzo di S. Patrizio, is one of the chief curiosities of Orvieto. It is 200 ft. deep to the water-level and 42 ft. in diameter, cut in the rock, with a double winding inclined plane, so that asses could ascend and descend to carry the water from the bottom. It was begun by the architect Antonio da San Gallo the younger in 1527 for Clement VII., who fled to Orvieto after the sack of Rome, and was finished by Simone Mosca under Paul III.

The town appears under the name 015p(3e'(3Evras in Procopius (Bell. Goth. ii. 11, &c.), who gives a somewhat exaggerated description of the site, and as Urbs Vetus elsewhere after his time. Belisarius starved out Vitiges in 539, and became master of it. In 606 it fell to the Lombards, and was recovered by Charlemagne. It formed part of the donation of the Countess Matilda to the papacy. Communal independence had probably been acquired as early as the end of the 10th century, but the first of the popes to reside in Orvieto and to recognize its communal administration was Hadrian IV. in 1157. It was then governed by consuls, but various changes of constitution supervened in the direction of enlarging the governing body. Its sympathies were always Guelphic, and it was closely allied with Florence, which it assisted in the battle of Monteaperto (1260), and its constitution owed much to her model. In 1199 the first podestd was elected, and in 1251 the first capitano del popolo. There were considerable Guelph and Ghibelline struggles even at Orvieto, the latter party being finally destroyed in 1313, and the representatives of the former, the Monaldeschi, obtaining the supreme power. The territory of Orvieto extended from Chiusi to the coast at Orbetello, to the Lake of Bolsena and the Tiber. The various branches of the Monaldeschi continually fought among themselves, however, and the quarrels of two of them divided the city into two factions under the names of Muffati and Mercorini, whose struggles lasted until 1460, when peace was finally made between them. After this period Orvieto was peaceably ruled by papal governors, and had practically no history. Owing to the strong Guelphic sympathies of the inhabitants, and the inaccessible nature of the site, Orvieto was constantly used as a place of refuge by the popes. In 1814 it became the chief town of a district, in 1831 of a province, and in 1860 with Umbria became part of the kingdom of Italy, and became a subprefecture.

See L. Fumi, Il Duomo d'Orvieto e i suoi restauri (Rome, 1891); Orvieto, note storiche e biografiche (Citta di Castello, 1891), and other works. (T. As.)

<< Oruro

Oryx >>

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|The city of Orvieto]] Orvieto' is a city in Umbria, Today, about 21.000 people live there. The city has a history going back to Roman times.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address