Orvieto sits on a volcanic tufa-rock plateau, an impregnable position cleverly selected by the Etruscans, probably its first inhabitants.
After exploring the Etruscan tombs outside the city, a funicular up the tufo plateau takes you to the centro storico of Orvieto. A walk up one of the main streets takes you past the workshops of many an artisan, winding past the 13th-c. municipal palace.
You’ll want to take in the wonders of Orvieto’s zebra-striped Gothic Duomo, famous not just for the splendid Renaissance fresco cycle of Luca Signorelli.
A fresco masterpiece of the “international Gothic” style reigns in the cathedral and 13th-century relics fascinate the visitor, as well as one of the finest existing examples of Sienese goldsmith/inlay work of the 14th c.
Michelangelo’s Pieta’ is the most famous. The 16th-century Pieta’ of a local artist in Orvieto’s cathedral rivals.