Subterranean Romans.

Trip Start Apr 10, 2010
Trip End Apr 10, 2011

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Flag of Italy  , Umbria,
Thursday, September 2, 2010

In the morning we finally left Tuscany and went into the Umbria region, heading about 70km to a place called Orvieto, wanted only by us because of the little highlighted place-name on our huge EU map. We really had no expectations.

When we got there, before us stood an epic old city on top of a really tall plateau with cliffs all around. We had no idea how to get up the darn thing!
Eventually when we finally got to explore Orvieto, it revealed itself to be an ancient Etruscan village which was later conquered by the Romans (it had catacombs from the 5th C BC!) The elevated plateau is a wondrous honeycomb of tunnels and chambers. There is also an underground water system that is connected to an adjoining aqueduct that spans the whole valley.
Truly remarkable!

The medieval sectors were so interesting with way too many churches than deemed necessary (one as old as 1004AD). The one that really stuck out though, (and boy did it stick out!) was the gigantic gothic catherdral 'Duomo Di Orvieto' with its classic black and white stripes.
This one though was finished all over the fašade with amazing mosaics, not just beautiful scenes, but tiny patterns that swirled in and around the whole thing. The gold tesserae shone in the sunlight, making this church a real luck find.
Inside, after we paid a small fee we got to see the wonderful gothic art. It was astonishing! We paid a little extra to enter the side chapels which were gloriously decorated with frescoes all over. Spectacular scenes from the bible and Dante’esque scenes of the final judgment. A lot of it was very powerful, leaving you speechless.

The rest of the day had us eeking out all the little alleys, and churches. The lookout over the valley was very grand and we followed the parameter to see the whole region, each view with its own look at ancient ruins. The age of this area is blowing our minds.
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