My hometown: Orvieto

The History of Orvieto 
"The city of Orbivieto is high and strange; it took its name from old Romans, who used to go there because the air is good”. This is what Fazio degli Uberti wrote about Orvieto in his written “il Dittamondo” in the first half of the year 300, to describe the atmosphere and attractions of the city.
The Etruscan name of Orvieto was almost certainly, “Velzna”. Some researchers have included the place name of Oinarea (the city where the wine flows), among the oldest names of the city. Its present name comes from the Medieval “Urbs Vetus” (old city) given to it when, after the Barbarians destroyed Bolsena, the population took refuge again on the top of the cliff, once abandoned because of destruction of the city by the Romans in 264 BC.


Orvieto has a unique history that dates back to over several million years ago. Learn about the origins of the city, its ancient inhabitants, and the special characteristics that make it a magical place to visit today. In the IX century, the Etruscan people take office right into the dungeons, dug through the tuff, below the level of the city, where we’re living on just now, to reign over it until the 5th century B.C., leaving the town under the Roman domain. 
During the barbarian invasions, the town was in the centre of a huge dispute between Byzantines and Ostrogotes; after the destruction of the town of Bolsena, it became an Episcopal Seat, and it was nominated as Urbs Vetus (Old Town), which is the root of its current name.

local delicatessen in central town...


Discover what to do and what to see in Orvieto

NOT EVERYONE KNOWS THAT...There are more than 440 known underground caves in Orvieto apart from the over 1200 recorded. The reason is due to the many military barracks still present in Orvieto where the access was (and still is) forbidden and consequently not recorded 




The calendar of the territorial events is quite rich in all kinds of festivals: theatre, arts, music, enogastronomy, folklore, literary and religious events.
Here is a sample of the main appointments for each season, that we suggest not to miss

In the hot season  there are so many town festivals, street markets, ‘sagre’ where you can eat  local specialities. Orvieto proposes a summer full of musical events of different genres from small concerts in the squares to ‘Orvieto in Musica’ performing chamber music or Spazio Musica. However, the biggest event that calls thousands of people is the UMBRIA FOLK FESTIVAL, ethnic folk music where you can also taste food from the different regions of Italy while listening to national and international folk bands.
TASTING NEW WINE (August/September) - Orvieto’s wine tradition has old and solid roots. Etruscans seemed to have dug wine cellars through the tuff skeleton of the town, and in those fresh dungeons, the grape fermentation was completed only after a lot of months, leaving the wine with a sugary taste that has contributed to its  big success all over the world.

From mid September to Christmas Orvieto relaxes and is completely devoted to the art of well living. The nearby communes present their specialities through local events, such as the National Exhibition of the Truffle in Fabro while the theatre season begins.
The restaurants propose autumn specialities and the soul of the CITTASLOW gets stronger. Two gastronomical appointments are the must of the period: ORVIETO CON GUSTO in October and OFF, that is Orvieto Food Festival in December where you can enjoy the mix of oenogastronomy, culture and international solidarity. Its aim: to nourish both the body and the mind...

And furthermore…

OLIVE PICKING AND TASTING (first week of November) 
Every year, in November, in the softly rolling Umbrian hills not far from the splendid city centre of Orvieto, the days devoted to the arrival of the new extra-virgin olive oil roll around. For those who wish to couple tourism and good food, it is a unique occasion to learn about the traditional picking of Umbrian olive oil.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Orvieto are really magical. The town looks different , it becomes a sort of Bethlehemme with its circuit of nativity scenes set all around the historical centre especially the popular Nativity in the Well. This latter is set in the underground archeological well of the Cava and it is made with life-size animated characters especially created by experts in special effect.
And once again Orvieto transforms itself and turns into a sort of New Orleans thanks to Umbria Jazz Winter that is held just after Christmas ending on 1st January. You are taken into a totally new reality in which streets and squares are filled with music and jazz rythms from late morning to late night.

And furthermore…

WINE CELLARS OPEN TO WINE TASTING  (end of December) - It is probably the most important event totally dedicated to Wine and it takes place  on the territory of Umbria.  More than 55 wine cellars open their doors making it the most popular event in Umbria . For those who love nature many of the cellars offer the chance to walk through the vinyards stopping now and then to have a sip of the excellent wine.
CHOCOLATE TASTING  –  In Winter Orvieto offers the opportunity of a chocolate tasting tour of the town. Tasting is far more exciting than Eating, it involves decifying all the emotions and sensations that chocolate makes us feel in the exact moment it melts in the mouth, it is far beyond saying it’s good or not. All five senses are involved in the tasting process allowing us to experience every feature of each chocolate.

In June Orvieto re-lives the splendours of the rich medieval commune, the colours of the four quarters and of the principal noble families of the town adorn the historical centre..
there are two main religious events celebrated in Spring: The Pentecost, celebrated in  La Palombella where a white dove sliding along a thin wire is the representation of the descend of the Holy Ghost, and the Corpus Christi. This latter calls people from all over the world, its procession along the streets of the town is an explosion of colour and splendor. The 400 participants, all men, dressed up in the medieval costumes recalls the authorities that in 1338 accompanied the arrival of the relic of the Miracle of Bolsena , still kept in the Cathedral in Orvieto.

And  furthermore…

  - For the last 18 years every last Sunday in May wine cellars, members of the Tourism Movement of Wine, open up the doors of their cellars not only to experts but to everyone. Year after year Cantine Aperte has turned into the event that calls a growing number of enotourists reaching a record number of one million visitors.

HONEY TASTING –  How about visiting a farm that produces honey and getting the chance to taste the many different types of honey learning how to distinguish them and combine them with both cottage and seasoned cheeses?... All this is possible in Orvieto thanks to the particular season and the blossoming of the flowers typical of Spring.

And at least…

CERAMIC (all year round) - Umbria is today famous all over the world also because of its very colourful production of ceramics, pottery and majolica, all handmade. In the old town centre of Orvieto there are workshops, laboratories, factories, exhibition rooms and a school of ceramic art. 

COOKING CLASSES (all year round) - Tradition is at the centre of the Orvietan cuisine, with dishes not always poor or popular. Little influenced from the nearby regions, it is based essentially on meat and products of the earth, that are used both for great occasions and in daily meals. It is a simple cooking, not overly complex but honours the flavours and tastes of good raw materials. The roots of the Umbrian cuisine arises from the time of the “Umbri” (the indigineous peoples preceeding the Etruscans, in the region between Perugia and Orvieto) and then from the Romans, with frequent use of legumes and cereals. We can identify three types of cuisines that roughly correspond to both cultural and dialectal divisions within the region.

SUMMER : aubergine roulades cooked in oven 
SPRING : straccetti meat with rocket, pachino tomatoes and balsamic vinegar
AUTUMN : legume soup and porcini mushrooms
WINTER : umbrichelli pasta with wild boar sauce
All rights reserved - VAT IT016336330551
All rights reserved - VAT IT016336330551