This hour-long journey through underground Orvieto will leave an indelible mark on any tourist’s holiday. A series of grottoes open up where none would expect, and lots of interesting rock formations present themselves. The silence and the dimness of the subterranean passages are fascinating from the get go and reveal a world of civilisation that has existed below the city for more than 2,500 years!
Piazza del Duomo, 23, Orvieto TR, Italy, +39 0763 344891
The so-called “St Patrick’s Well” has little to do with St Patrick and is more to do with engineering and hydrogeology. It is a huge perforation in the ground which goes 54 metres underground, boasts a 13-metre diameter and was conceived and carried out in order to draw water from the earth in case the city was besieged – as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention! Today, St Patrick’s Well is something which any tourist can visit, entering through the two helicoidal sets of steps which run around the well but never intersect.
Sat just down from the hilltop old town of Orvieto, this pretty little park is a fine place to go to escape the blazing Umbrian heat during a day of sightseeing here. Once a castle, this green conglomeration of babbling fountains and vine-clad bulwarks was first built in the mid-14th century, under orders from the Pope no less. Don’t miss the sweeping views of the Orvieto valley from the walls!
Decugnano dei Barbi, one of the most important (and oldest) vineyards in the region, can be found sitting just outside the center of Orvieto. With a history going back to 1973, this accomplished winery is famed for its attention to terrior-specific reds and whites. Of particular note are the Villa Barbi Bianco and Villa Barbi Rosso, packed with hints of clove and curious combinations of spice.
Loc. Fossatello, 50, Orvieto TR, Italy, +39 0763 308255