Urban trekking

Orvieto Underground

The geological nature of the cliff allowed to dig, over time, an incredible tangle of underground cavities.

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Tourist information and welcome office
Piazza Duomo 24 - 05018 Orvieto
info@iat.orvieto.tr.it
You can see the beauties of Orvieto from far away, when you reach the city from one of its doors: the spires of the beautiful Cathedral rise skywards such as the Tower of Moro and the bell towers of the historical centre.
But we want to show you a side of Orvieto that not everyone knows and that is located below the citizens’ feet: are you ready for a journey through the underground Orvieto? It’s not just an underground excursion, but also a real itinerary that will lead you to discover the historical phases of Orvieto starting from the Etruscan “Velzana” until the medieval and Renaissance epochs. Indeed a real town made up of countless tunnels is hidden in the depths of the Orvieto’s cliff: about 1200 cavities and two significant underground complexes.
Wear a pair of comfortable shoes and head for piazza Duomo, where you can find the Info Point, you can buy the ticket for the excursion: you will find the access in the “Park of Caves”, an area offering a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape.
Start your tour into the dark area of Orvieto and observe the remains of a wide oil mill probably dating back to the second half of the 1300: you will see the oil press and some grindstones, one dated 1697; in front of the oil press you will see a compartment that could have been one of the tubs once containing olive residues after the first pressing. Continue your itinerary and you will see some structures that served the mill and then again stables, a fireplace and a water line. Furthermore you could be able to see three vertical ducts with footholds, dating from the Etruscan period.
Walking through the Orvieto undergrounds, you will also see a series of tanks, including the Etruscan ones dating back to the 5th century B.C. (particularly the one made with the “frame” technique), the medieval ones and the biggest ones of a Renaissance origin. Furthermore there is a 30 metres long Etruscan tunnel that has been dug out for the water harnessing and it is open and practicable.
Further on, go on into the tunnel bearing the number 6 that, through a series of ravines, ladders and narrow tunnels, will lead you to observe some rooms used during the Medieval time for the pigeon breeding. Probably the tanks housed some furnaces used to cook clay pottery in the 18th century. Different ceramic vases were found in the wells you saw: the tradition for the production of ceramics in Orvieto arose from these findings. 
After this walk that lasts around one hour, follow the directions towards the Well of St. Patrick: an hydraulic work that takes its name from the belief according which the well would have been used as the “Purgatory of St. Patrick”, a place where anyone who had ventured to reach its bottom would have obtained the entrance into Paradise. While you descend along the itinerary of the well you could take some beautiful snapshots showing the games of lights and colours that the intriguing well can give it to you.
 


In the surrounding area