Key to Umbria: Orvieto

Orvieto Underground

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Guided tours organised by the Tourist Office (in Palazzo dell' Opera del Duomo) visit two of the many underground grottoes of Orvieto.  These were quarried for tufa blocks and then used for various purposes from Etruscan times and into the Renaissance period. 

  1. The first grotto that you visit contains two Etruscan shafts that were probably used as wells, as well as a number of medieval artisan premises used for making ceramics and pressing olives.  (The  constant temperature of 14 degrees has been exploited for centuries for activities such as the processing of olives to obtain oil).

  2. The rooms in the second grotto communicate with the houses above and a number of them functioned as dovecotes.  (Doves provided a means of communications and also food during sieges of the city).

For more information, see this site on Orvieto Underground.

Return to Museums in Orvieto.

Return to Walk I.