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Orvieto [orˈvjɛːto] is a city and comune in the Province of Terni, southwestern Umbria, Italy situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff. The city rises dramatically above the almost-vertical faces of tuff cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built of the same stone called Tufa.
Orvieto is situated on a plateau of tuffa stone which comes from volcanic eruptions and is very porous and easily (relatively) excavated so when the city became overcrowded many centuries ago the people dug down to make room for businesses, storage, and food in some instances. There are thousands on man made caves underground, most privately owed. Graziella took us on an interesting tour through several caves along the cliff's edge that were mainly used for businesses, though one was utilized as a bomb shelter in the world wars, and another is believed to be a place of worship dating back to the etruscans. There are several sets of stairs, the majority of which are narrow and low, so keep that in mind. If you're staying in Orvieto for several days I recommend purchasing the Carta Unica ticket for about 17 euros which gives you entrance into 11 places including the Orvieto Underground tour.
Worth the hour and 6€ when in Orvieto. English tour guide was friendly and accommodating.
Amazing to think this was all built by hand at the top of a hill. Breathtaking striped stone masonry
This is really interesting and shouldn't be missed. Sadly, it involves but a tiny fraction of the extensive underground network that chacterizes this fascinating city.
Amazing network of man-made caves under the city. The Etruscan well was a highlight. Our guide was very informative.