Julie Italy 2 Comments

With its incredible Duomo, underground wells and caves, medieval streets to explore, viewpoints of Umbria, and museums and archaeological sites, there is plenty here to keep you busy all day. In this guide, we list the best things to do in Orvieto.

Interesting Facts about Orvieto

Orvieto is a hilltop town that is located in Umbria, Italy.

From the 9th to the 3rd centuries BC, this town was inhabited by Etruscans. At the time, Orvieto was a major Etruscan town, and one of the best things to do in Orvieto is to tour what remains from this era, including the Etruscan necropolis and underground caves.

The Romans took control in 265 BC, and in the 6th century AD, Orvieto was invaded by the Goths, and then the Byzantines, and finally by the Lombards. It became a free commune in the Middle Ages and because of its strategic position between Rome and Florence, Orvieto became one of the largest towns in the area.

With its rich Etruscan history and underground caves, Orvieto shares a lot of similarities to Montepulciano in Tuscany.

Orvieto Duomo | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

Orvieto Cathedral | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

How to Get to Orvieto

By Train

Orvieto is located along the Rome – Florence – Milan train line, so it is very easy to get here by train. The train station is located just outside of the historic city center. To get to the city center, ride the funicular (the bottom station is located next to the train station) to Piazza Cahen.

From Rome, travel times range from an hour and fifteen minutes (direct train with no transfers) to an hour and forty-five minutes.

From Florence, train times range from 1.5 hours (direct, high-speed train) to 3 hours.

By Car

If you will have a car, here are the driving distances and times from nearby towns.

Rome: 120 km, 1.5 hours
Florence: 165 km, 2 hours
Siena: 125 km, 1.5 hours
Perugia: 77 km, 1.25 hours
Assisi: 90 km, 1.5 hours
Montepulciano: 74 km, 1 hour

We parked at Parcheggio Piazza Cahen, which is located just outside of the city center, a short walk from the Well of St. Patrick, the funicular, and the Albornoz Fortress. There is also parking at Parcheggio Orvieto Campo della Fiera (on the west end of town) and at Parcheggio Funicolare (outside of town, ride the funicular to Piazza Cahen).

Best Things to Do in Orvieto

1. St. Patricks’ Well (Pozzo Di San Patrizio)

I’m putting this first (along with the Temple of Belvedere and the Albornoz Fortress) because they are all located together next to Piazza Cahen. If you are arriving by train or by car (and park at Parcheggio Piazza Cahen), your visit will start at Piazza Cahen, so you can visit these three sites together before walking into the city center.

St. Patrick’s Well is located next to Piazza Cahen.

St Patricks Well Exterior | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

Exterior of St. Patrick’s Well

This enormous well was constructed between 1527 and 1537, at the request of Pope Clement VII. He took refuge in Orvieto after the sack of Rome and was concerned that the town would run out of water.

This well was built with a double helix staircase (similar to that in the Vatican Museums). It is 62 meters (203 feet) deep. You can descend the 248 steps to the bottom of the well and gaze into the well from its 70 windows.

As you descend into the well, the temperature gets cooler and more humid. Vegetation grows on the walls, giving the well a green appearance. Legend has it that the well was named for an Irish cave where St. Patrick once prayed.

St Patricks Well

Inside of St. Patrick’s Well


St Patricks Well Orvieto | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

St. Patrick’s Well | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

A visit to St. Patrick’s Well lasts about 30 minutes. Get hours and pricing here.

2. Temple of Belvedere

Sitting next to St. Patrick’s Well is the Temple of Belvedere. This is one of the last surviving Etruscan temples in Orvieto (most of the Etruscan temples and buildings were covered by Roman buildings and Christian churches).

It takes just a few minutes to see the temple and it is free to visit. There is also a nice viewpoint over Umbria from this spot.

Temple of Belvedere Orvieto

Temple of Belvedere


View from Orvieto

The view from the Temple of Belvedere

3. Albornoz Fortress (Fortezza Albornoz)

For one of the best views from Orvieto, don’t miss the Albornoz Fortress.

Albornoz Fortress | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

Albornoz Fortress

This fortress was built in 1364 by Cardinal Egidio Albornoz at the request of Pope Innocent VI.

Visitors can stroll along the ramparts for views over Umbria. The center of the fortress has been turned into a park. It is free to visit and we spent about 15 minutes here, enjoying the view and taking photos.

Albornoz Fortress Orvieto

Albornoz Fortress | Best Things to Do in Orvieto


Orvieto Albornoz Fortress | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

View from the Albornoz Fortress

4. The Orvieto Cathedral

The Orvieto Cathedral, aka the Duomo di Orvieto and Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, is the main attraction in Orvieto.

Orvieto Cathedral | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

Orvieto Cathedral | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

This ornately beautiful cathedral shares a lot of similarities to the Siena Cathedral. Construction began 1290 and it took three centuries to finish the work.

The façade is covered with gilded mosaics which depict numerous scenes, including the Marriage of the Virgin, the Baptism of Christ, and the Assumption of the Virgin. The Rose Window by Andrea Orcagna is located above the main entrance into the cathedral. A number of bas-reliefs show scenes from the Old Testament, the New Testament and The Last Judgement.

Orvieto Cathedral Facade | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

Façade of the Cathedral

Inside, white and green marble gives the interior a striped appearance, similar to the Siena Cathedral. There are two beautiful chapels to visit, Cappella Nuova (Chapel of the Madonna of San Brizio) and Chapel of the Corporal. Frescoes adorn the side aisles and you can see the Pieta by Ippolito Salza.

Orvieto Cathedral Interior

Interior of the Orvieto Cathedral


Orvieto Cathedral Statue

Cappella Nuova Orvieto | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

Cappella Nuova


Orvieto Cathedral Fresco

Fresco in the Orvieto Cathedral

There is a small fee to enter the cathedral. Get pricing and hours here.

5. Tour the Orvieto Underground

Descend into the underground world of Orvieto, touring the Etruscan caves, tunnels, and cisterns. Some of these tunnels and caves are over 3,000 years old, making this an important archaeological site in Italy.

Orvieto Underground

Orvieto Underground | Sean Pavone/shutterstock.com

The Orvieto Underground can only be visited on a tour. Book your tour in advance. Tours were sold out by mid-morning on our visit so you may not be able to show up and book your tour on the same day.

If you can’t get a spot on a tour, you can still visit Etruscan caves and tunnels by visiting Pozzo della Cava or at Il Labirinto Di Adriano.

Learn more about the Orvieto Underground and make your reservation on the official website.

6. Museo Claudio Faina

Sitting across Piazza del Duomo from the Orvieto Cathedral is Palazzo Faina. Inside of this palace is a museum containing more archaeological treasures.

Orvieto Museum

Museo Claudio Faina contains the private collection of Count Mauro Faina. On display is Etruscan pottery, cremation urns, coins, and jewelry.

The first floor of Palazzo Faina houses Museo Civico, which contains artifacts collected by Eugenio Faina, including artifacts from the necropolis of Cannicella, as well as antiques collected by the City of Orvieto.

From the upper floors of the museum, you also get a very nice view of the Orvieto Cathedral.

Get hours and pricing here.

7. Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Orvieto) sits next to the Orvieto Cathedral. This museum contains artifacts from archaeological digs in the area around Orvieto. On display are a number of Etruscan and Greek vases and a full-sized reconstruction of the Golini I chamber in the Settecamini necropolis near Orvieto.

Get hours and pricing here.

8. Pozzo della Cava

Pozzo della Cava is another well that was constructed at the behest of Pope Clement VII in 1527. This well enlarged an Etruscan shaft that already existed at this site.

On a visit to Pozza della Cava, you get to look down into the well and tour a series of tunnels, tombs, and a cistern, which date back to Etruscan times and were used during the Middle Ages.

Pozzo della Cava

Pozzo della Cava

9. Enjoy the View from Torre del Moro

Torre del Moro is the clock tower that can be seen as you stroll along Corso Cavour, the main thoroughfare through Orvieto.

Torre del Moro Orvieto | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

Torre del Moro

For the best view over Orvieto, climb the 250 steps to the top of the tower for 360° views.

Get hours and pricing here.

Orvieto | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

View from Torre del Moro (hopefully when you visit this giant crane will be gone)

 Torre del Moro View Orvieto | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

Orvieto View

Another view from Torre del Moro

10. Piazza della Repubblica

Piazza della Repubblica is one of the main squares in Orvieto. It is believed that this is the site of the Etruscan and Roman forums. Today, this square is lined with several important buildings, including Palazzo Comunale and the Church of Sant’Andrea.

Piazza della Repubblica | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

Piazza della Repubblica and the Church of Sant’Andrea

11. Church of Sant’Andrea

This church was founded in the 6th century. It was built on top of an Etruscan temple and part of the forum. Remains of the Etruscan temple can be seen in the crypt that sits below the church.

Since the 6th century, the church has been enlarged several times. It is famous for its twelve-sided bell tower.

Church of Sant’Andrea

Inside of the Church of Sant’Andrea

12. Il Labirinto Di Adriano (Hadrian’s Labyrinth)

This is another place where you can journey underground into the Etruscan tunnels and caves.

Rita and Adriano were renovating the floors of their pastry shop when this series of underground tunnels were accidentally discovered. After 20 years of renovation, the tunnels opened to visitors.

There are two ways to visit Il Labirinto Di Adriano: book a time slot or make a reservation for lunch and dinner. Not only is this place an archaeological site, it is also a highly rated restaurant in Orvieto. If you have lunch or dinner here, your visit to the underground tunnels is included.

Learn more on the official website. Make your reservation for lunch or dinner in advance because this is a small restaurant and seating is limited.

Il Labirinto Di Adriano Restaurant | Best Things to Do in Orvieto

Il Labirinto Di Adriano Restaurant


Il Labirinto Di Adriano

Il Labirinto Di Adriano


Il Labirinto Di Adriano Statue

Statue in Il Labirinto Di Adriano

13. Explore the Side Streets of Orvieto

One of the best things to do in Orvieto is to stroll along the side streets. Wander off of Corso Cavour to explore narrow, winding lanes that lead to viewpoints over Umbria and the surrounding countryside.

Exploring Orvieto

Orvieto Umbria

14. Etruscan Necropolis

The Etruscan Necropolis, also called Crocifisso del Tufo, lies the remains of ancient Etruscan tombs. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in Umbria.

Etruscan Necropolis

Etruscan Necropolis | Paolo Tralli/shutterstock.com

The necropolis is located outside of the city center, to the north of town. To get here, it is a steep walk downhill from the city center, or, if you have a car, you can drive here.

Get hours and pricing here.

Italy Travel Guide

15. Go Shopping

Another wonderful thing to do in Orvieto is to go shopping. Ceramics are a popular item for sale, as are items carved from olive wood. You can also visit boutique clothing shops, or visit shops selling antiques, jewelry, and local foods.

Shopping in Orvieto

Olive Wood Spoons

Olive wood spoons

Things to Do in Orvieto: On a Map

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

The Orvieto Card

The Orvieto Card (Orvieto Carta Unica) is a card that covers your entrance fees into many sites in Orvieto. It includes the Duomo, Pozzo della Cava, St. Patrick’s Well, the Etruscan necropolis, Torre del Moro, the Orvieto Underground, and several museums. It costs €25 and is worth it if you plan to visit all of these sites.

There are also “Thematic Cards” which include a smaller list of sites, but also comes with a smaller price. This is a better deal for those who only plan to visit a few places in Orvieto.

For pricing, to get the full list of what is included, and to see the various Thematic Card options, visit the official website.

Orvieto Walls

View from the Albornoz Fortress

Where to Eat in Orvieto

Il Labirinto Di Adriano was mentioned earlier. In one visit, you can tour underground Etruscan tunnels and have lunch or dinner at one of the highest rated restaurants in Orvieto.

We had a wonderful lunch at Bartolomei Oleoteca & Cucina. This small restaurant is located on Corso Cavour. The menu is limited and focused on pairing foods with their olive oils and wine. We dined on bruschetta, local meats, and had an amazing homemade pasta dish. You can taste olive oils during your meal and then purchase some as a souvenir. We loved this entire experience from start to finish.

Where to Eat in Orvieto

Lunch at Bartolomei Oleoteca & Cucina

Ristorante Il Giardino da Giovanni gets rave reviews, as does Trattoria La Palomba and Trattoria del Moro – Aronne.

How Much Time Do You Need in Orvieto?

To do everything listed above, you will need one full day in Orvieto. With less time, you can pick out a few places to visit.

If you have a half day in Orvieto, we recommend visiting St. Patrick’s Well, the Albornoz Fortress, the Orvieto Cathedral, Torre del Moro, visiting an underground site (either Pozzo della Cava, the Orvieto Underground, or Il Labirinto Di Adriano), and strolling the side streets.

Helpful Tips for Visiting Orvieto

To check the weather forecast, we used Meteo Italy and the forecast was relatively accurate. There is also an app that you can download onto your phone.

If you plan to visit the Orvieto Underground, make your reservation several days in advance.

If you plan to have dinner in Orvieto, make your reservation in advance. In our experience in Italy, you will need to have a reservation for dinner at the highly rated restaurants.

One Day in Orvieto

Tours of Orvieto

Here are several tours of Orvieto, including day trips from Rome and walking tours of the town.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is Orvieto worth visiting?

With its beautiful cathedral, labyrinth of underground Etruscan tunnels and tombs, boutique shops, and views over Umbria, Orvieto is worth the visit. You can visit Orvieto while traveling between Rome and Florence or day trip here from Tuscany or other towns in Umbria.

How much time do you need in Orvieto?

To see the main sights in Orvieto, plan to spend at least a half of a day here. You will need one full day to visit the long list of archaeological sites, underground tunnels, museums, and churches, and to stroll the picturesque side streets and viewpoints over Umbria.

What is special about Orvieto?

Orvieto’s history dates back to Etruscan times. Touring the underground Etruscan tunnels and the necropolis is one of the best things to do in Orvieto. It is also famous for its beautiful cathedral and hilltop setting in Umbria.

If you have any questions about the best things to do in Orvieto, or if you would like to share your experience, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Italy

ASSISI: In our article Best Things to Do in Assisi, we cover the top experiences to have, plus where to eat and where to stay. In our One Day in Assisi Itinerary, we have a detailed walking tour of the historic city center.

TUSCAN HILL TOWNS: Check out our detailed guides to Siena, Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Lucca, Volterra, Arezzo, and Cortona. For a full list of things to do, read our article Best Things to Do in Tuscany.

FLORENCE: For a list of things to do, take a look at our Florence Bucket List and learn how to plan your time with our 2 Day Florence Itinerary. We also have information about how to visit the Florence Cathedral, about the best rooftop bars in Florence, the best viewpoints in Florence, and where to stay in Florence.

ROME: For a list of the top experiences in Rome, read our article Best Things to Do in Rome. Learn how to put these together in our 2 Day Rome Itinerary, where to eat in our Rome Restaurant Guide, how to visit the Colosseum, and where to stay in our Rome Hotel Guide. And don’t miss our guide to the Best Rooftop Bars in Rome.

BEST OF ITALY: In our guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 25 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy.

We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, Basilicata, and Puglia.


Best Things to Do in Orvieto


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Comments 2

  1. Avatar for Laura Sullivan
    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We visited the Albornoz Fortress at the beginning of our time in Orvieto (we visited St. Patrick’s Well and then walked over to the fortress for photos so this was probably around 11 am). From there, we walked to the city center and visited the bell tower for views over Orvieto about midday. I hope this is what you were looking for! Cheers, Julie

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