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written byFoodTripGo

Orvieto, Bomarzo Monster Park and Ariccia: from Architectural Art, to Sculpture, to Culinary

Jan 12, 2024 | Italy

An itinerary between Umbria and Lazio, where you can admire art of different forms and different eras

Orvieto

Orvieto is a small town in Umbria that stands on a tuff cliff. It is very characteristic and rich in artistic and architectural wonders. The Cathedral of Orvieto certainly stands out among them, but the city is full of places to discover and it is pleasant to stroll through its streets in the historic center.

A walk through Orvieto’s historic center built on the cliff

Here’s what to see in an itinerary through Orvieto’s historic center:

Quarry Well and St. Patrick’s Well

The Pozzo della Cava and the Pozzo di San Patrizio are the gateways to the underground Orvieto that winds its way through the tuff beneath the medieval quarter. The Pozzo della Cava, of Etruscan origin, is more than 30 meters deep and at the bottom is water.

St. Patrick’s Well dates back to the 1500s and was desired, following the Sack of Rome, by Pope Clement VII to protect himself in case of siege. The well, about 50 meters deep, is dug into the tuff and has a cylindrical shape.

Collegiate Church of Saints Andrew and Bartholomew in Republic Square and the Palaces

Entering the streets of Orvieto’s historic center, one passes through Piazza della Repubblica where, at one end of it, are the Collegiate Church of Saints Andrew and Bartholomew and its distinctive tower.

Continuing on the itinerary, we come across the Torre del Moro, from which there is a beautiful view of Orvieto and the surrounding hills, and the Palazzo del Popolo, which was built in 1300 for the functions of the Capitano del Popolo.

Orvieto Cathedral and Chapel of San Brizio

The real gem of Orvieto is definitely the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, the Duomo of Orvieto, a masterpiece of Italian Gothic architecture dating back to the late 1200s. The facade is very rich with spires, statues, bas-reliefs and mosaics telling stories from the Old and New Testaments and the Last Judgment. In the center is a Rose Window dating back to the 1300s.

Inside, Orvieto Cathedral is equally rich, with circular columns and statues of the 12 prophets. What is breathtaking is the Chapel of San Brizio, begun by Beato Angelico in the 1400s and one of the cornerstones of Italian Renaissance painting.

Park of the Monsters of Bomarzo

Not far from Orvieto, there is a very special natural park where there are several statues and sculptures depicting monsters, gods and mythological animals. The Monster Park of Bomarzo, also called Sacro Bosco, dates back to the 1500s and surprised even Salvador Dali when he visited it.

In the park are giant statues such as the sphinxes, the fight between Hercules and Cacus, Turtles, the Whale, the Elephant, the Orc, Echidna, and the Leaning House, where one can also enter and experience the feeling of bewilderment caused by the deliberately uneven walls.

Ariccia and the Typical Dishes of Latium

After all this walking through the historic streets of Orvieto and into the mysterious Monster Park of Bomarzo, a greedy appetite will surely have grown. Continuing a little further toward Rome is Ariccia, a small town on a cliff with the distinctive Monumental Bridge, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo, and Palazzo Chigi. But Ariccia is world-renowned for its specialty: Porchetta di Ariccia.

Porchetta di Ariccia and other Lazio specialties can be savored wonderfully in a typical Fraschetta. The typical checkered tablecloths are always indicative of eating well and in abundance. Eating in a Fraschetta is an experience to be had and you can enjoy local specialties such as Porchetta di Ariccia, Carbonara, Amatriciana, Cacio e Pepe and Coppiette (dried meat with salt and chili). Of course, wine should not be missed.

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