Orvieto, Italy – If these walls could talk…


Just a one-hour train ride from Rome and you arrive at the charming hill town of Orvieto.  The village sits on top of a precipice high above the rolling countryside. This is a walled village with ancient streets and buildings that have narrow alleys and walkways. It’s easy to get lost in this village maze which this is half the fun.

Orvieto Hillside Village
High above it all in Orvieto

Our visit to Orvieto brought us here to pick up our daughter from a semester abroad.  We stayed inside the village, in an apartment just off the Corso, i.e. Main street.  Our apartment was furnished with all the modern-day conveniences but some of the interior walls were exposed to remind you that we where staying in a village that was a thousand years old.  Most of the village is made from local stone block and our apartments interior design has tried to keep these walls exposed, as a tribute to history.

Stone walled Apartment – Orvieto

Orvieto was established by the Etruscan people for, for a long time, until it was taken over by the Romans in 3 BC.  The walls around the village are made from volcanic origin and are dense and textured. 

The Etruscan’s developed a tunnel and well system beneath the village which helped maintained their long occupation in Orvieto, unfortunately many of the Etruscan buildings were later destroyed by the Romans. History also tells us that Pope Urban IV lived in Orvieto, during unrest in Rome.   Today Orvieto is still a fortified walled city with hints of modernism intermingled.  As you meander the tight streets you can see evidence of stone under your feet as well as homes that have been around for hundreds of years.  Mixed into these stone walled homes and apartments are grocery stores, shops and the main tourist attraction, the towns cathedral know as the Duomo.

Loose yourself in Orvieto
One of the many Piazza’s in Orvieto

Gothic and Romanesque architecture abound in the “crowning” glory that is the Duomo. The glass windows in the Duomo are made of alabaster which is found in the local area and is still crafted in a nearby town for sculpture and design. The church has 2 chapels with famous frescos by Luca Signorelli, one being the famous Dante’s Inferno.  On the outside of the church you can see multiple columns with various style designs. Mosaics adorn the top of the church with golden inlay.

Orvieto Duomo
Alabastar Windows
One of the Duomo Chapels
Nuns Visiting the Duomo – Orvieto

Taking a visual journey in our little village before dinner provided me with time to soak in the pathways and patinas hidden off the beaten path.

Decorate anything with flowers!

As I see cream colored and grey toned walls, with a mix of red, purple, and white flowers a color pallet in my mind is being created.  Here is an example of this palette. (Note a variation of the red/purple)


For those of you who want to take home a little of Orvieto, here are my 3 levels for doing so.

1). Buy a piece of pottery (small enough to fit in your suitcase). Place this item in a obvious location as a reminder of your visit to Orvieto and fill it with flowers from the color palette. ( See above)

Pottery for Sale in Orvieto

2).  Create window boxes that accent the above color pallet. Consider using an old basket and insert a floral plastic base and hang it under your window or find some old wood and create a wall hanging as seen below.

Make your own window box or wall art with flowers from our color palette.

3). Take on a bigger project by adorning one of your walls in your home with stone. (Houzz.com)

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4 thoughts on “Orvieto, Italy – If these walls could talk…

  1. Your blog & photographs are wonderful Janet! Rob & I are excited for you & proud that you jumped in with both feet!

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