All photos (8)Orvieto Underground
Orvieto Underground
Orvieto Underground

Orvieto Underground

9.328 reviews
Sights and Museums, Historic Site
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  • 8.0
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  • 7.0
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  • 6.5
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Piazza del Duomo, 23, 05018 Orvieto TR, Italy
+39 347 383 1472
http://www.orvietounderground.it/
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Description
Orvieto’s underground world was carved out and created by its ancient inhabitants over a period of 2500 years of uninterrupted digging. An hour-long tour takes you through this “Underground City”.

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Do not hesitate to embark on this extraordinary journey back in time: The route itself is an easy walk and all you need are comfortable shoes. Tickets can be purchased in Piazza Duomo, near the Tourism Office. Specialized guides will accompany you to the route access, inside the nearby "Parco delle Grotte", a large green area provided with picnic facilities that, amongst breath-taking scenarios, gently slopes down along Orvieto’s cliff. Once you complete your tour you can stop and have your picnic here, if you like. Before you venture to the dark depths of the earth, take a moment to observe the gentle and sinuous skyline of the surrounding hills, the varied sequence of cultivations of the hill terraces and the fascinating silhouette of the ancient Badia dei Santi Severio e Martirio (the Abbey of Saints Severus and Martyrius) surrounded by cypresses and olive trees.

Walking across the large criss-cross of tunnels of cave 536, you will admire the remains of a large and well preserved olive press and some grindstones, one of which dating back to 1697, even though its structure could be dating back to as early as the second half of the fourteenth century, a chamber located facing the press, that could be one of the tubs where the olive residues were left before processing and a number of surrounding areas as well as structures that served the mill such as other tubs, cellars, stables, a fireplace and a water channel. In the articulated array of sections of this large cave, extending for over 850 square metres, you will notice a mysterious and irregular sequence of chambers connected to each other. This is a large pozzolana quarry, offering an interesting example of how excavations were carried out: that is, in a completely disorganized way, without even worrying about stability, following not a pre-ordered spatial plan, but the veins of material. According to the documents in the archives the opening or re-opening of the quarry date back to 1882. Amongst the findings that were brought to light, there are three vertical channels with notches for footboards dating, much further back, to Etruscan times.

Venture down the fascinating and interesting cave No. 6, that, through an array of ravines, small flights of stairs and narrow tunnels, will lead you to amazing examples of colombari located on different levels. The rectangular openings so close to each other along a line in the dug out tufa, that fascinated archaeologists for a long time with regard to the nature of their origin, have at last revealed themselves to be an extremely rational system of cells used to breed pigeons and give them nesting places, used since Etruscan times; this function is also confirmed by the presence of tubs supplying water and by openings located on the side near the edge of the cliff, that were needed in order for the birds to be in touch with the outside world. By reading some ceramic fragments found in the vicinity, experts have come to the conclusion that the tubs were also needed for the activity of two kilns where clay vases were baked in two different periods during the eighteenth century.

Once you have spent approximately an hour visiting the underground and come out to daylight, the Duomo will seem even more bold and shining.

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Orvieto stands on a platform to peak between 20 and 50 meters; for this there was a water problem; It needed to reach the deep waters left by prehistoric seas. The first were the Etruscans with tunnels 70 cm wide and as tall as a man who ended up in small tanks each one for every home. But the Architectural masterpiece is the well of St. Patrick built between 1527 and 1557 and commissioned by Pope Farnese to Antonio Sangallo the Young. It can be reached on foot with a double helical ramp with steps wide and with a slight slope where the beasts of burden could walk; there are 72 large windows to flood the well of light, a bridge across the pit that bring to the other ramp. And recently they opened the “underground town” entrance not far from the cathedral, Tourist office in Piazza Duomo 24, times 11 to 12.15, 16 to 17.15 entrance € 5.5.
1200 through caves, tunnels, wells and cisterns Etruscans. In one of these wells have opened a restaurant: The restaurant Sciarpa (Via della Cava 28, phone 0763 342 373).
For visits we recommend to leave the car to the funicular and take the ticket (€ 18)which gives the right to the parking, the funicular, all visits and last but not least the shuttle service within the visit.

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Rome, Italy

a step into histrory, don't miss this visit and check opening before going.
Sometimes in winter they are closed

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Capitola, California, USA

The Orvieto Underground tour is really cool, is certainly something you must do while visiting the city. The hour long guided walk (they have guides that speak english and other languages) around the caves is really interesting and will impress you with some facts from medieval times. The feeling of walking around tiny corridors and stairs will transport you back in time, really cool.

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Santa Cruz, California, USA

This place is really amazing. Basically there is a whole city of caves underneath Orvieto that was used through different centuries for different purposes. A must see if you go to this city.

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Durham, North Carolina, USA

The coolest place in Orvieto, literally. Although I'm a bigger fan of the Narni Underground in little-visited Narni (about 20 minutes away -- it's an Inquisition torture museum, and who doesn't love the Inquisition?), the Orvieto Underground is far, far easier to experience. And, really, it is pretty dang cool. Literally. (In summer, book their 12.15pm tour; everything in town closes and you'll avoid the heat of the day.)

You'll find out all sorts of cool stuff about what it was like to live in Orvieto in medieval times. Like, that they ate not much else other than pigeon for days, weeks or months on end when they were under siege. You'd think they'd be sick of it by now, but you'll find pigeon on almost all of the menus in town. Besides wild boar, it's one of my favorite foods in all of Umbria. (Seriously.)

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New York City, New York State, USA

The Orvieto Underground seems to be the most under-appreciated attraction in Orvieto. The hour-long tour of the medieval caves gives you can idea of how people used to live, survive, and defend themselves in this hilltop city. And during a scorching summer day, it may be the coolest place in Orvieto.

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Moss Beach
First to Review

My old college pal and I took this tour into the caverns carved out of a relatively soft tufa stone. These caves run through the hill on which Orvieto was built, and lie directly under the famous (and heavy) cathedral. The tour was wonderful and took us back to the ages of the early inhabitants of the area on into the current century. The caves really highlight the cleverness and the short-sightedness of our kind.

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London, United Kingdom

intersting

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Local from Terni, Italy

Absolutely interesting!

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Paciano, Italy

step in to our history !

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Mantignana di Corciano, Italy

History at its best

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Magliano Sabina, Italy

Milleduecento sono le gallerie che sinuose si snodano sotto Orvieto, rosicchiandolo come una stupenda groviera di tufo e pozzolana, tufo e pozzolana che fin dall'antichità venivano utilizzate per costruire, soprattutto l'Orvieto emersa in superficie. Nei tempi utilizzate come deposito per vini, come frantoi, come colombaie. Due si possono visitare pagando un biglietto di sei euro, vale davvero la pena. Affascinanti, atipiche, una scoperta tutta umbra.

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Milan

A metà tra lo storico e l'avventuroso, il tour della Orvieto Underground è un viaggio nelle grotte e cunicoli medievali sotto la città di Orvieto, dove i cittadini vivevano durante i periodi di assedio. Molte altre città dell'Umbria e della Toscana offrono esperienze simili ma Orvieto è una delle poche che ha orari di apertura e tour regolari. Consigliato soprattutto d'estate quando il freschino delle grotte sotterranee è molto piacevole!

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Recommended for:History Buffs
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Rome, Italy
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Orvieto Underground

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