Surrounding Rome are many towns worthy of a visit. Our pick for the best day trip from Rome: Orvieto. The lazy, little town sits on top of a plateau in the Umbrian hillside. It’s only about an hour by train but it has a completely different feel than the Eternal City’s hustle & bustle. The train arrives at the bottom of the hill and a funicular quickly takes visitors up the hill to to the heart of the city. Orvieto features underground caves, a magnificent Duomo, Etruscan tombs, ceramics and white wine.
Day trip from Rome – What to do & see in Orvieto:
Underground Tour – The hill that the town rests on is full of caves and this tour visits two of them. Learn how the Etruscans lived six hundred years before Christ as well as the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. There are portions of the tour with small passageways and a fair amount of stairs.
Duomo – The cathedral represents one of the artistic masterpieces of the late Italian Middle Ages. The building took over 300 years to complete. Michelangelo is said to have taken inspiration from it for the Sistine Chapel. Be sure to check out the Cappella del Corporale that houses the blood-stained altar linen from Bolsena and features frescoes by Ugolino di Prete Ilario.
St Patrick’s Well – The 175ft (54m) deep well was built on the request of Pope Clement VII who took refuge in Orvieto during the sack of Rome. The well was completed in 1537. It features a double helix staircases – which means once you commit to going down the well the only way out is to descend to the bottom to reach the other staircase to ascend to the top.
Necropolis of the Etruscan Tombs – Explore the rectangular shaped Etruscan tombs. Visible on each grave is the name belonging to an Etruscan family. Objects discovered in the necropolis are on display in an Orvieto museum. The tombs can be reached by walking a small portion of the Orvieto Scalo, a nature path that surrounds the city walls – make sure you have good walking shoes.
Food & Wine – Orvieto is known for its white wine, cinghiale (wild boar) and truffles. Truffles are easily found in this area so the prices of dishes featuring it are relatively low. Our favorite place to dine is Al Pozzo Etrusco Ristorante, located on the quiet square of Piazza Ranieri. Like many restaurants in town, it has a well that customers are welcome to view.