This is ORVIETO one of the most interesting cities in Italy, unique for its position, for its mixture of Etruscan, medieval and Renaissance cultures and the remarkable preservation of its ancient atmosphere, and for its Cathedral, an architectural jewel and another of the sanctuaries of Italian painting, as it contains the great frescoes of Luca Signorelli.
Here too, one can spend the evening in a first walk round, before seeing the city thoroughly the next morning... the Piazza del Duomo, the narrow streets, the wonderful, view over the plain. Sightseeing the next morning should begin with the Cathedral, a stupendous monument whose building took from 1290 to the seventeenth century, with a legion of architects, decorators, sculptors, painters and mosaic workers. The magnificent facade takes the form of a Gothic triptych in which there is a fusion of architecture, marble sculpture, bronze and mosaic. Here the Sienese architect Maitani began in 1308. The interior is a harmonious Romanesque Latin cross plan. The south transept opens into the Chapel of San Bruin with Luca Signorelli's epic painting of the Last Judgment. This was the largest Italian paint ing on a single theme until Michelangelo's Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. Signorelli worked uninterruptedly for four years on this immense work.
Next to the Cathedral is the fine Bishop's Palace with its elegant windows and the severe Papal Palace which houses a museum rich in Etruscan exhibits (Polychrome sarcophagus of the 4th century BC) and an exceptional Madonna by Simone Martini (1320), as well as sculpture by Giovanni and Nino Pisano. From Piazza del Duman to Piazza del Popolo an the impressive Palazzo del Popolo (12°-13° centuries) with its fine Romanesque windows and sturdy arches. Going from here along Corso Cavour we arrive at Piazza della Repubblica, the city centre, on the site of the ancient Forum, with the Palazzo Camomile (Renaissance, by Scalza, 1581) and the 13° century Church of Sant'Andrea, with its battlemented bell-tower. A pleasant stroll takes us into the enchanting Old Quarter, which stretches beyond the Piazza bounded by the two gates, Porta Maggiore and Porta Romana. Before leaving Orvieto it is worth while visiting the rugged asymmetrical church of San Giovenale, with its massive tower and, lastly, a curious menument, unique of its kind, the Pozzo di San Patrizio (St Patrick's Well) which Clement VII on which the city stands, the Abbey of SS Severe e Martirio and, 5 miles from Orvieto picturesque Lake Corbara.
Leaving Orvieto by Porta Romana, one goes through a wonderful landscape of woods and gorges towards Bolsena. The rock of Orvieto fades into the distance with its towers and pinnacles; leaving the Via Cassia, we arc soon in sight of the lake, and go down to Bolsena, (14 km. - 8 3/4 mi.) the Velsina of the Etruscans, which dared to defy Rome in the 4° century BC. Etruscan exhibits in the Communal Museum; of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Church of Santa Cristina (Madonna by Sara di Pietro, and the gentle reclining statue of the Saint), Medieval Castle. Running west through a marvellous landscape of trachitic rock interspersed with woods, we pass San Lorenzo Nuovo and Grotte di Castro, an ancient and picturesque little place carved out of the living rock. We skirt the lake and arrive at Valentino (fine medieval castle) taking the road through Capodimonte to the pretty village of Maria, where we turn to the right for the road to TUSCANIA (71 kms.- 44 mi. from Orvieto).