Orvieto is a popular day trip from Rome, as well as a convenient stop when traveling between Italy’s capital city and Florence. With its magnificent cathedral (Duomo), historic underground tunnels, and surrounding wine country, this Umbrian hill town has plenty to keep you occupied. Here’s how to get the most out of one day in Orvieto.
Morning: Historic Highlights
Get your bearings with a morning walking tour of Orvieto’s historic center. Take in its glorious Gothic cathedral, which soars high above the city rooftops and is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy. Head below the city streets to explore its network of hidden tunnels and caverns, dug over the millennia by everyone from the Etruscans to 20th-century Orvietani and now open as Orvieto Underground. Finally, descend into Pozzo di San Patrizio and Pozzo della Cava, two medieval wells dug to provide water in times of siege, and take a few minutes to admire the sweeping views from their clifftop perch over the surrounding rolling countryside.
Afternoon: Food and Wine
Once you’ve explored the cultural highlights, turn your attention to the local cuisine. Orvieto has been known for its white and red wines for centuries, produced in the vineyards lining nearby Lake Corbara. Join a wine tour to sample the best vintages paired with artisan cheeses and other local specialties. Passionate cooks can instead opt to join a cooking class to learn how to prepare classic dishes from Orvieto and the surrounding hills. Another fun foodie option is a truffle hunt through the wooded hills with a local forager and his dogs. Alternatively, take the afternoon to visit the tiny clifftop hamlet of Cività di Bagnoregio, linked to the outside world only by a footbridge.
Night: An Underground Aperitivo
End your day in Orvieto by combining two of the city’s most unique features: its local wines and famous underground warren of tunnels. Relax with an aperitivo in one of the historic caverns dug into the soft volcanic stone of Orvieto’s towering cliff, including wine and a buffet of savory finger foods and traditional sweet biscotti. Afterwards, stroll through town for one final glimpse of the Duomo’s dramatic facade, theatrically illuminated at night.