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Underground Orvieto – it’s a secret world

  • Underground Orvieto – it’s a secret world

    Hidden underneath Orvieto lies an intriguing underground city that winds its way beneath the main monuments. This secret city is dotted with man-made caves and a maze of Etruscan tunnels, wells, quarries, cisterns and cellars, all carved into the tufa-stone. The major noble palaces were equipped with secret escape routes from the upper city, allowing the aristocratic owners to flee if Orvieto were besieged. The tunnels took them to safety via exits that emerged some distance beyond the city walls.

    The route winds through 2,500 years of city history, focusing on the Etruscan, medieval and Renaissance periods, all spread out between two different underground settlements. Carved into the cliff-face are countless tunnels and around 1,200 chambers. The underground world had numerous practical uses over the ages – including transporting water in Etruscan times, through aqueducts and water cisterns which are still functioning. In medieval times, the underground tunnels, nooks and crannies were used for pigeon-breeding, olive-pressing and even as stabling for horses. The tour begins with the remains of a medieval oil mill, with further oil presses and grindstones dating back to the 17th-century, proof of how long the olive oil industry was ensconced underground.

    Don comfortable shoes and head for piazza Duomo for the start of the tour. If taken with the setting, you can come back and book your wedding in one of the Etruscan chambers or dine in a converted well.

    Address: 23 Piazza del Duomo, Orvieto
    Web: www.orvietounderground.it

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