One of our favorite side trips from Rome is Orvieto. It is an easy train ride out of Rome.
Italy is famous for its hill-top towns. They were built high up to protect from invaders and pirates. Some cities have two parts, one at the sea as a port and the other high up on a hill-top. As invaders were coming, the town people went to the hill-top part to protect themselves. Orvieto is a hill-top town between Florence and Rome in the province of Umbria. It is easy to get to by car or train. The train and car parking is at the base of the mountain. There is a funicular that travels up the hill to the town above.
The views are spectacular from any wall around the town. The town is made of small cobblestone streets with great shopping and dinning. If you can only do a day travel to Orvieto, take an early train and stay until after dinner. The Duomo (Cathedral) is amazing and incredibly large. It sits on a small piazza against one of the town walls. There is a small hotel and restaurant on the piazza as well. One has to marvel at how they built such a structure high up on a hill.
The town only allows local residents cars to drive up the windy road to the top. You can see residence walking up and down this road during the day. We took the train from Rome to Orvieto and returned to Rome in same day. The trip through the mountains was enjoyable. This is a city worth seeing and exploring. You do NOT need a guide! Just enjoy the city. Look at the wonderful leather goods and ceramics. Eat lunch and dinner at a restaurant, Trattoria or cafe. In the morning stop at a bar for coffee and a pastry. Don’t forget the wonderful local white wine from Orvieto.
Orvieto has a main road that leads from the fort and funicular to the wall at the back of town. In the middle at the clocktower, turn left on a street that leads to the Duomo piazza. All along the main road are restaurants, bars and shopping. On the side road to Duomo is additional shops and restaurants. Off these main roads are smaller roads with even more shops and restaurants. Orvieto has great ceramics for sale.
Enjoy your trip!
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