Orvieto, Italy

Day trip. Nov 07, 2009.

What we loved:
  • the views. Hands down, the views were breathtaking, and around every turn. Whether looking beyond the city gates---from a castle's precipice---or peering up all the little streets, our eyes were brimming over.
  • the church. Easily one of our favorites, the decor and stature were impressive. If a church can be 'easy on the eyes,' this one certainly was.
  • finding food. We had an early train and it was all we could do to find food before we left town. Cafes are generally open from 12:30 -2:00 for lunch and don't open gain until 7:00 or even 8:00 for dinner. We found a restaurant that let us sit at 6:30 (darn tourists) and the service and food were both delightful. Look for Trattoria "La Palma" on Corso Cavour (apparently they have an in town B&B as well).
What we did:
  • Saint Patrick's well. We descended the well, some 248 steps down... and back up.
  • visited the Duomo.
  • combed the city for places to eat dinner; picked out a hidden gem for our next visit.
  • walked through Porta Rocca (a park with walks along the city walls).
What we learned:
  • if the city is over an hour away, stay overnight. Though we had good intentions of seeing everything in a full day, it would have been better split into two. And most importantly, restaurants don't open their doors until after 7pm at night. We were hard-pressed to find a restaurant to feed us prior to our 8pm train departure.
  • Orvieto has a lot of beautiful Italian porcelain.
  • you can pretty much walk the city in a day.
  • the city is populated with more Italians than tourists.
  • the streets were full for la passegiata---everyone walked about and all the shops (not restaurants) are open from 5ish to 8ish. People chatted, window-shopped and kids bummed around with their friends.
  • while we walked up to the city in the morning (gorgeous foot path), we took the tram back down at night. It was so easy, and only 1 euro each.
What we bought:
  • slingshots. When you think: touring an Etruscan city in Umbria, isn't that the souvenir that comes to mind? Me neither. It was absolutely random, but perfect at the same time. We bought two for the boys, and Caleb is already mapping plans to buy more for his cousins---when we return to Orvieto.
  • did not buy the ceramic sangria pitcher. I saw a one I liked, but resisted. I am trying to be snobbish about what pitchers I buy. I don't want to buy very many---just a small handful or so. So far I bought one in Sienna.
  • Anthony bought a tile. He has some money left still, that he earned last fall and spring (before our trip), and is determined to buy items reminiscent of this trip. He played around with ideas, bought some models along the way (of London Bridge, Notre Dame, etc.) and has finally decided to collect artisan tiles from various cities (think 4-5 inch tiles that you hang on your wall, each specific to a city). The Orvieto tile is gorgeous; we envy his purchase.
What we ate:
  • for lunch we grabbed paninis (meh); the boys ate nutella on waffles and gelato for a treat.
  • snacks on the train: pistachios and olive oil crackers.
  • for dinner: chicken (Caleb), ricotta/spinach ravioli (Anthony), boar sauce on polenta (Janelle) and boar tagliatelle (James).
Next time:
  • stay overnight---to enjoy the evening life and meals.
  • buy more slingshots.
  • Janelle: might go back and buy a sangria pitcher I liked...
  • the caves. Visit the caves under the city; called the Orvieto Underground.
  • the tower. Climb the tower in the heart of the city.
For more pictures, see our familyfrolics Orvieto album on Facebook.


  1. I absolutely love reading about your wonderful stay in Italy - easily the best 'tour guide'. Loved your last posting and truly enjoyed this day trip to Orvieto. thank you!

  2. Rachel Carlson16.11.09

    I loved going there when i went. My favorite hilltown that i stayed in was San Giminano! It is know for its amazing towers!

  3. Anonymous15.4.12

    I just stumbled upon your site after watching a TV program that showed a boar cacciatore. My husband and I were on a bus tour in 1989 and we visited Orvieto....how I would love to be able to go back there. It was amazing but not enough time on a bus tour to see everything.


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