Rome is a majestic city, but can get tiring after a few days. If you’re in need of a break from the crowds and bustling city life, Orvieto is the perfect day trip.
Trains leave from Rome Termini station every half hour, and are only about 7 Euros. (Find the schedule here).
You’ll be whisked across picturesque pastures, and in a little over an hour brought to Orvieto, a charming hill town in Umbria known for wine and a gorgeous Duomo.
There’s not a lot to do in Orvieto, but that’s the point. Take the day to relax, strolling through the town and stopping in shops for pottery, lavender and wine.
The Duomo in Orvieto is truly stunning and known as one of the most glorious examples of Gothic style architecture. Vivid colors tinted in gold make it unique, and it towers unexpectedly in this quiet town. You can visit the church free of charge from 7:30am to lunch and 2:30pm-5pm (winter) or 7pm (summer). Museum tickets are available inside the church if you’re interested in more extensive history. Personally, I think the town is equally enjoyable without the museums, as they don’t hold many artifacts and seem to be put up just for the sake of having them there.
There is a small flea market in the center of the city, with a delicious gelateria across the street. If you’re looking for entertainment, visit the Wizard of Oz shop. The owner is delightful and tries to convince you you’re magical by telling you to point to things as he flips a switch to make them move or light up. Worth a visit for the mix of tacky and antique goods.
While in Orvieto, you obviously have to try Orvieto wine. (A crisp, light, slightly fruity white wine). There are numerous wineries and varieties, so ask a shop owner for tastes and their opinion, (same goes for ordering the wine at a restaurant). Winery tours are also an option, but will be easier if you have a car, as they’re not walking distance from the town and taxis are scarse and can be pricey.
Orvieto also has fantastic local food. Umbricelli is a traditional pasta in the Umbrian region, and they’re also known for truffle production. My favorite restaurant in Orvieto–La Palomba, has a homemade umbricelli in a creamy truffle sauce with fresh black truffle grated at the table. It is by far one of the best dishes I’ve had in Italy. The fresh pasta and perfect amount of seasoning will have your mouth watering just thinking of it, (as mine is now). Plus, it goes perfectly with a nice glass of Orvieto-especially after a day of walking around in the heat!
Orvieto has the perfect amount of history, charm and beauty. It’s the type of place that you dream about when you dream of Italy. The little towns, the cute old shopkeeper, home cooked meals in tiny restaurants, scenic views and ornate churches. Sightseeing in Rome IS all it’s cracked up to be. The city is extraordinary. But on vacation you need a day to relax and forget about time and sights and your agenda and just be. Orvieto is the perfect place to kick back with a glass of wine and a scenic view and indulge in il dolce far niente, the sweetness of doing nothing.