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Medieval meanderings in Orvieto

  • Medieval meanderings in Orvieto

    The dark volcanic stone lends a slightly gloomy air to the city but the Medieval Quarter remains an engaging part of the town, tucked into ancient walls hung with pots of tumbling geraniums, and tiny cave-like workrooms of Orvietan artisans. The so-called `Medieval Quarter’ occupies the western part of the city and is steep, narrow and ostensibly forbidding. Serried lines of houses seem to sprout like strange appendages from the tufa-stone slopes and cling to the rocky spurs. Meander in these medieval backstreets, if only to feel the joy of seeing the tight alleys open into tiny squares or offer unexpected views of `the green heart of Umbria’ beyond the city.

    More rock than town, Orvieto offers drama at every turn. The contrast between the grey basalt buildings and the tufa-stone rocks, which in the light change from mustard-tinged to golden or russet-red. The city’s wealth and power peaked in the 13th to 14th centuries and Orvieto’s medieval nature is apparent along most streets. Off Corso Cavour awaits the striking 12th-century Palazzo del Popolo, made of basalt and tufa-stone. Straight ahead are the Palazzo Comunale and the church of Sant’Andrea in Piazza della Repubblica.

    Address: Orvieto Tourist Office: Piazza Duomo 24, 05018 Orvieto
    Web: www.inorvieto.it

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