Key to Umbria: Orvieto

Museums and Excavation Sites of Orvieto

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Orvieto has an unusually large number of interesting museums and accessible excavation sites.  If you are going to visit many of them, it is wise to invest in a “Carta Unica”, which is on sale at the Tourist Office.   It provides access to the museums and other sites marked with an asterisk below, and to:
  1. the Duomo; and

  2. the Torre del Moro.

Archeological Museums and Excavations

Three museums in Piazza del Duomo exhibit artefacts from the city's Etruscan temples and necropolises:

  1. Two museums in Palazzo Claudio Faina:

  2. Museo Claudio Faina*; and

  3. Museo Civico*; and

  4. Museo Archeologico Nazionale*, which is in the Palazzi Papali.

There are plans to consolidate the civic collection in Palazzo Crispo Marsciano.

A new walk around the cliff of Orvieto provides access to:

  1. the Etruscan necropolis of Crocifisso del Tufo*; and

  2. the sites of the temple and necropolis of Cannicella (although these were still poorly signed during my last visit in September 2007).

Three other important excavation sites can be visited:

  1. the site of the Tempio del Belvedere (ca. 500 BC);

  2. the excavations under Sant’ Andrea (9th century BC - 6th century AD); and

  3. the site of the excavations at Campo della Fiera, the probable site of the federal Etruscan sanctuary of Fanum Voltumnae.

Orvieto Underground

There are now three ways of seeing the areas excavated under the city that were used to provide cisterns, workshops and storage areas from Etruscan times and throughout the middle ages:

  1. with Orvieto Underground*, a guided visit arranged at the Tourist Office in Piazza del Duomo;

  2. at the private Museo del Pozzo della Cava*, which has the bonus of a nice café for lunch; and

  3. the newly-opened Museo delle Maioliche Medievali e Rinascimentali, which I have yet to visit. 

Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo

Palazzo Soliano was restored in 1887-98 by Paolo Zampi as a home for the nascent Museo dell' Opera del Duomo, as evidenced by the inscription on its west wall.  However, the museum closed in 1989 and the upper room has been awaiting yet another restoration since that time. 

Orvieto's civic art collection was put into storage for nearly twenty years from 1989.  However, an exhibition in 2007 entitled "Towards a new Museo dell' Opera del Duomo di Orvieto" led the way towards the gradual organisation of the collection in new premises.   At the time of my last visit (September 2007):

  1. the main part of the collection was exhibited in the Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo* in the Palazzi Papali; and

  2. sculpture from the Duomo was exhibited in the ex-church of Sant' Agostino*

Palazzo Soliano

Palazzo Soliano houses:

  1. the Museo Emileo Greco* on the ground floor; and

  2. number of mostly Roman objects arranged somewhat haphazardly under its loggia

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