O is for Orvieto
Orvieto is a lovely town, about 90 minutes north of Rome, that deserves more than a visit of a few hours.
Unfortunately, when we visited Orvieto in 2013, my father-in-law was with us and he’s pretty much a grump when it comes to sightseeing. I could happily spend all day wandering the narrow lanes, exploring and take photographs of the historic architecture, local markets and daily life in any town. Granted we had rented a very nice double suite at nearby Altarocca Wine Resort with an outdoor pool, so the idea was to bask in the Italian summer sunshine.
One of the main highlights of visiting Orvieto is seeing the gorgeous façade of Duomo di Orvieto, a 14th-century Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Although the cornerstone was laid in 1290, construction took more than 100 years to complete.
Visitors to Orvieto are greeted by the ornate façade of the church, which was designed in the so-called Italian Gothic style which blended elements of Byzantine and northern European architecture together. Still, as so often happens in Italy, no one is entirely certain who the architect was. The prevailing local opinion is that it was a rather obscure monk named Fra' Bevignate da Perugia, but many scholars think he merely executed plans drawn up earlier by the great Florentine architect Arnolfo di Cambio. Whomever designed this historic structure did so wonderfully!
The cathedral soars seven stories into the sky and features internal columns made form horizontal stripes of black and white marble. The intricately-carved rose window up top is surrounded by life-sized sculpted figures set in the gothic niches.
For this month’s A-Z Guide, I couldn’t decide which “O” destination to go with – whether it should have been O for Olympos, Ortaköy or Orvieto. Hopefully you enjoyed getting a small taste of the Umbrian town of Orvieto.
I’m linking this post to the monthly travel guide link up organized by Fiona, a fellow Australian blogger, at Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures. Each month features a new letter of the alphabet. This month is the letter “O.” Please pop on over to Fiona’s blog to read more travel stories or feel free to link up your own!