If you’re looking for a break from the crowds and hustle and bustle of Rome, why not take a day trip to Orvieto? That’s exactly what I did! And, I loved it!
Wondering how to take a day trip to Orvieto from Rome? Curious about what there is to see in Orvieto Italy? You’ve landed in the right place!
This charming hilltop town offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, as well as an impressive array of historic and cultural attractions. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient Etruscan ruins, admiring Gothic architecture, or simply soaking up the laid-back Italian lifestyle, Orvieto is the place to go!
On a solo, week-long, return trip to Rome, I knew I wanted to squeeze in a day trip. Beyond the obvious choices of day trips to Pompei or a whirlwind day to the Amalfi Coast, I yearned for a much more relaxed and quieter area to explore. Seeing that I enjoy the laid-back vibes of Tuscany having spent a week there visiting gorgeous hilltop Tuscan towns, I looked to the Umbria region. That’s when I stumbled upon Orvieto.
So sit back, relax, and let’s explore this hidden gem just a stone’s throw away from the busy and crowded Rome. I will share my one perfect day in this beautiful town surrounded by stunning Italian countryside.
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Is Orvieto Worth Visiting
YES! Orvieto Italy sure is one beautiful hilltop town that is worth visiting! This hidden gem located in central Italy, in the Umbria Region, is often overlooked by tourists in favour of its more famous neighbours like Perugia and Assisi. But let me tell you, Orvieto is definitely worth a visit.
First, the town’s location is breathtaking. Perched atop a volcanic rock plateau overlooking the valley below, the views from Orvieto are simply stunning. You can see for miles around and on clear days even see as far as Mount Amiata.
Orvieto has a rich history that dates back to Etruscan times. The town’s narrow streets and alleys are lined with medieval buildings and ancient churches that have been beautifully preserved over time.
But what sets Orvieto apart from other Italian towns is its unique underground city. Beneath the surface lies a labyrinth of tunnels and caves carved out of tuff rock that was used as storage areas, cisterns, and even chapels during ancient times.
And if all this culture gets too much for you, there are also plenty of opportunities to indulge in some delicious Italian cuisine while you’re here. The region around Orvieto produces excellent wine (particularly white wine), olive oil, and truffles.
Even if you have one day, Orvieto makes for one of the best day trips near Rome!
The How-To: Day Trip from Rome to Orvieto
The easiest way to reach this beautiful hilltop town is by train. Head over to Rome’s Termini station and look for the regional train line that goes towards Florence.
I didn’t pre-book my tickets only because I was travelling at a low tourist time of the year. However, I do recommend that you book online and in advance to ensure you get the train arrival/departure that works best for you. I selected an early morning arrival and a late afternoon departure maximizing a full day in Orvieto.
Insider tip: get to the train station early as the Rome to Orvieto train departure track is a good 5-10 minute walk.
Hop on the train and enjoy the scenic ride that takes approximately one hour. Once you arrive at Orvieto’s train station, you can catch a funicular, a cool inclined railway, that will take you up to the historic town center. It’s a quick and fun ride!
Another way to see Orvieto is through a group tour. Actually, this was my intended way to get to Orvieto but the tour was booked for the day I wanted to go. When I researched day trips from Rome by train, this is how I found out about Orvieto.
Day tour from Rome to Assisi and Orvieto – includes a 2-hour tour of Assisi ⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 10 hours
Best Things to Do in Orvieto Italy
1. Albornoz Fortress (Fortezza Albornoz)
After hopping off the funicular, it’s the first site you’ll come across, so you can’t miss it. The Fortezza is a historical fortress that dates back to the 14th century, and it’s totally worth exploring.
You can stroll around the well-preserved walls, stroll the winding paths of the public garden and climb up the towers for breathtaking views of the town and surrounding countryside. Hope you brought your camera, as there will be plenty of Instagrammable moments.
- Opening hours: 24/7 | Cost: Free
2. War Monument (Monumento ai Caduti)
Because you can never tire of those Orvieto views, check out the War Monument, which is conveniently located next to the Fortress. Not only is it a significant historical site, but it also offers another fantastic vista for panoramic views of the countryside. The monument commemorates the sacrifices made during World War I and World War II and stands as a tribute to the brave souls who fought for their country.
- Opening hours: 24/7 | Cost: Free
3. St. Patrick’s Well (Pozzo di San Patrizio)
Oh, you absolutely have to visit St. Patrick’s Well in Orvieto! You’ll find it on the other side of the funicular (to the left, whereas Fortezza is to the right).
It’s a unique attraction built in the 16th century. Its intricate double-helix staircase is a sight to see and reminds me of the Initiation Well in Quinta de Regaleira in Sintra. As you descend the spiral staircase about 53 m deep and about 200 steps, you’ll notice the atmospheric play of light and shadow, like you’re stepping into a different world!
Opening hours: Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec: 10am – 4:30pm, Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct: 9am – 6:30pm, May to Aug: 9am – 8pm | Cost: €5
4. Stroll the Streets of Orvieto
When it comes to strolling through the charming streets of Orvieto, get ready to be enchanted!
This town is a hidden gem, and every corner you turn will unveil something delightful. Take your time and let your curiosity guide you as you explore the narrow cobblestone streets lined with inviting cafes, and quaint shops. The atmosphere is so picturesque and peaceful that you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a postcard.
Don’t forget to look up, as medieval architecture and ornate facades will leave you in awe. Take breaks along the way to indulge in some gelato or sip a cappuccino at one of the cozy outdoor cafés. It’s the perfect opportunity to people-watch and soak up the atmosphere.
Join an Old Town Guided walking tour where a local guide will share all the secrets and stories of Orvieto ⭐️ RATING: 4.6/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 1.5 hours
5. Orvieto Cathedral (Duomo di Orvieto)
Now for the showstopper! You absolutely can’t miss the Duomo in Orvieto! It’s an architectural masterpiece that will leave you speechless.
This stunning cathedral is a true gem. As you approach the Duomo, you’ll be mesmerized by its intricate façade adorned with intricate sculptures and vibrant mosaics. Insider tip: take the street called Via Lorenzo Maitani, as it offers the best awe-struck view as you walk towards it!
Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking interior filled with beautiful frescoes and beautiful stained glass windows.
Don’t forget to visit the Chapel of San Brizio, where you’ll find magnificent frescoes by Luca Signorelli that depict scenes from the Last Judgement. It’s truly a sight to behold!
- Opening hours: Nov to Feb: 9:30am – 5pm (Sundays 1pm– 4:30pm), Apr to Sep:
9:30am – 7pm (Sundays 1pm – 5:30pm), Mar to Oct 9:30am – 6pm (Sundays 1:30pm – 6pm) | Cost: €5
A local guide will take you on a walking tour through the Old Town streets with a private tour of the Duomo (includes entry ticket) ⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 2.5 hours
6. Orvieto Underground
Close to the Duomo, did you know that Orvieto has an underground? It’s a hidden world beneath the surface that’s waiting to be explored! This top thing to do in Orvieto offers a cool glimpse into the ancient history of the town.
The underground network consists of tunnels, caves, and chambers that date back thousands of years. As you descend into this subterranean labyrinth, you’ll uncover a whole new perspective on Orvieto’s past. Marvel at the well-preserved Etruscan artifacts, ancient wells, and even an underground olive mill. It’s like stepping into a time capsule!
- Hours of Tours: Everyday: 11am – 12:15pm, 4:00pm – 5:15pm Cost: €8
7. Orvieto Tower (Torre del Moro Orvieto)
Now for my favourite thing to do in Orvieto – a visit to the Orvieto Tower! You can easily find the tower as it stands in the heart of the city at the crossroads of Corso Cavour, Via del Duomo and Via della Costituente. Get ready for some stunning views! This 47 m tower from the 13th century has a viewing platform at the top with a massive bell dating back to 1866 that chimes on the hour.
Take the elevator to the second floor and then be prepared to climb 250 steps to the top where you’ll be rewarded with the most amazing 360-degree panoramic views. You’ll see the red-tiled roofs of Orvieto, the rolling hills, and the picturesque countryside stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s an experience that will leave you in awe and make you appreciate the beauty of this charming town from a whole new perspective.
I, unfortunately, got caught up in the moment to forget what time it was. I happened to be there just before noon, and little did I know what awaited me. As the clock struck twelve, the deafening ringing of the bell resonated through the air. It was a thunderous symphony that echoed throughout the town. Despite the surprise, it was an unforgettable moment that added a touch of excitement to my visit. And, I would do it all again; trust me, the view from the top is absolutely worth it!
Opening hours: Mar-Apr, Sep-Oct: 10am – 7pm, Nov-Feb 10:30am – 4:30pm, May-August 10am – 8pm | Cost: €3.80
8. Piazza del Popolo
You can’t miss the vibrant Piazza del Popolo! This lively square is the beating heart of Orvieto and a perfect spot to soak up the local atmosphere.
Right in the center of it all sits the magnificent Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, a historical palace that looks like a grand Medieval castle. Although the palace is closed, you can still admire its grandeur exterior. Take a leisurely stroll around the square and admire the charming buildings, cafes, and shops that surround it. Find a cozy outdoor table, order a gelato or a drink, and simply enjoy the bustling energy of the place.
Piazza del Popolo is also a popular spot for events and markets, so you might stumble upon a lively festival (like their Christmas Market) or a bustling market day as I did!
9. Piazza della Rupubblica
A smaller, yet still picturesque square Piazza della Repubblica exudes an old-world charm. One of the notable landmarks on the square is the beautiful 12th-century Chiesa di Sant’Andrea. What makes this church unique is its distinctive decagonal bell tower.
Another notable building on this square is Palazzo Comunale with its striking Renaissance architecture. Today this palace serves as the Town Hall and houses various administrative offices.
10. Ceramic Shops
As you wander through the streets, you’ll come across numerous shops showcasing an array of beautiful ceramics. Unbeknownst to me, this charming town is renowned for its pottery and has a long-standing tradition of making ceramics. From intricately painted plates to colourful tiles, vases, and decorative pieces, there’s something for every taste and budget.
Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with the friendly shopkeepers, who are so passionate about their craft and happy to share insights into the ceramic-making process. Some are traditional, while others are contemporary designs, either way, what a great souvenir to take home and know you are directly supporting a local artist.
11. Church of San Giovenale (Chiesa di San Giovenale)
Now let me tell you about the oldest church in Orvieto – the Church of San Giovenale! This historical gem is a must-visit for history buffs and those seeking a glimpse into Orvieto’s ancient past.
As you step inside, you’ll be transported back in time to the 11th century when this church was constructed. The simplicity of its Romanesque architecture is striking, with its sturdy stone walls and graceful arches. Despite its modest size, the Church of San Giovenale holds a certain charm. Take a moment to admire the beautiful worn frescoes that adorn its walls, depicting religious scenes that tell tales of devotion and faith.
- Opening hours: Open daily 9am – 12:30pm, 3:30am – 6:30pm | Cost: Free
12. Town Walls
Take a walk along the impressive town walls of Orvieto! These ancient fortifications are a testament to the town’s rich history and offer a glimpse into its past as a strategic stronghold.
As you stroll through the streets, you’ll notice the sturdy stone walls that encircle the town, creating a sense of protection. There were two notable entrances that I found (although I’m certain there are more) – Porta Maggiore and Porta Romana. These grand Medieval archways welcome you as you enter or leave the walled city.
Walking along the town walls, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and the rooftops of Orvieto. It’s a perfect vantage point to capture some memorable photographs.
13. Visit a Museum
When it comes to museums, Orvieto has a couple of real gems that are worth exploring! First up, there’s the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, located near the Duomo. Here, you can admire a remarkable collection of religious art and sculptures, including masterpieces by renowned artists.
For all art enthusiasts out there, don’t miss the Museo Emilio Greco, dedicated to the works of the esteemed sculptor Emilio Greco. Lastly, there’s the Pozzo della Cava, an archaeological museum which houses an extensive collection of Etruscan artifacts, providing insights into the ancient civilization that once thrived in the area.
If it were a rainy day, I just might have preferred to visit these museums, instead, I explored more of the streets and hidden gems of Orvieto. I would love to return to this city, and when I do, I will definitely want to check them out.
14. Mancinelli Theatre (Teatro Mancinelli)
A cultural gem that shouldn’t be missed is this charming theatre. If I were spending a night, this would be top of my list of things to do in Orvieto! The architectural structure is a beautiful Neoclassical style from 1863.
From live theatre productions to musical concerts, the Teatro Mancinelli hosts a range of performances. A way to possibly sneak inside is by visiting Caffe del Teatro Mancinelli– serving coffee during the day and cocktails at aperitif time.
15. Hiking Trails
This would be another reason why I would love to return to Orvieto and stay a little longer – the scenic hiking trails. I saw the signs pointing in the direction of footpaths for hiking.
In speaking with a local, they raved about the hiking trails that lead out of the walled city into the countryside along the base of the fortified wall.
Where to Eat in Orvieto
I saved the best for last – the food! Orvieto has endless choices of places to dine. Another reason why Orvieto would make for a great weekend break.
My sweet tooth brought me to La Nostra Terra – Panificio Biscotteria, one of the few bakeries I noticed in Orvieto. I had a delicious pastry of black cherry and creamy ricotta filling with sugared almonds to start my day. Yum!
- La Palomba: a Michelin-star restaurant I had planned on dining at, only to my surprise they are closed on Wednesdays (the day I visited). Yet, another reason to return to Orvieto! This can be a great restaurant for either lunch or dinner (just not on Wednesdays!)
- Trattoria del Moro Aronne: tucked away down a quiet side street was this little gem. Unfortunately, they were closed for lunch the day I was there, but they were doing a photo shoot of a cute table and had 2 dishes prepared and it looked and smelled delicious. The menu is authentic, rustic Umbrian cuisine of mostly homemade pasta dishes.
- Osteria da Mamma Angela: serves traditional Italian dishes in a quaint Osteria with red and white checked table clothes and rustic white tables and chairs. The service was great as was the pasta.
Dinner Restaurants: (I didn’t stay for dinner, but I did take stock of places I would have liked to dine at)
- La Pergola: a classic trattoria whose menu serves refined traditional Italian dishes with a great wine list, but the best part is the romantic outdoor seating secluded under a vine pergola
- I Sette Consoli: a modern, elegant Michelin-star restaurant near the Duomo perfect for a special, romantic evening in Orvieto (note, they are closed on Wednesdays)
- Ristorante Il Cocco: a casual yet refined restaurant with a menu inspired by seasonal ingredients and flavourful profiles.
Where to Stay in Orvieto
When I return to Orvieto, I know where I will be staying! Check out this dreamy vacation rental property.
Recommended Place to Stay
A renovated 16th-century Umbrian tower offers a sophisticated stay. From its floor-to-ceiling windows, you can admire the views of Orvieto’s town, along with picturesque hills. A 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom with a terrace includes a barbecue and a wrought-iron table for dining. The property includes a vegetable garden, fruit trees, and a swimming pool converted from an agricultural fountain.
FAQ: Orvieto Day Trip
Is Orvieto worth visiting on a day trip from Rome?
Absolutely, Orvieto is worth visiting on a day trip from Rome. Surprisingly you can see a lot of Orvieto in just a day – from the Duomo to the underground tunnels to the charming streets and enjoying a delicious meal.
How do I get from Rome to Orvieto?
Getting to Orvieto from Rome is easiest by train. The Rome to Orvieto train departs regularly from Rome’s Termini station to Orvieto, and the journey takes approximately 1-1.5 hours.
What is the distance from Orvieto to Rome?
The distance from Orvieto to Rome is 119 km. That makes a Rome to Orvieto day trip one of the best destination to do in a day.
Is a day trip to Orvieto from Rome feasible?
Yes, it is! Orvieto is a perfect destination for a day trip from Rome. The train journey is relatively short, allowing you ample time to explore the town’s main attractions, enjoy a meal, and soak in the charming ambiance.
What are the must-visit attractions in Orvieto?
Some of the must-visit attractions in Orvieto include the stunning Duomo, the Orvieto Underground, the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, and the picturesque Piazza della Repubblica. Don’t forget to explore the charming streets and sample the local cuisine.
Is Orvieto Italy a great place for wine lovers to visit?
Yes, Orvieto Italy is a great place for wine lovers. Visit Enoteca la Loggia del Consorzio for an exceptional wine bar experience.
Rome Travel Resources
How many days are you planning on spending in Rome? Check out my ideal itinerary that is completely flexible to 2, 3, 4 or 5 days in Rome. And, if you’re considering a Rome to Orvieto day trip that must mean you’ve exhausted all of Rome’s top sites. If that’s the case, here are some off the beaten path things to do in Rome.
From exploring the city’s best streets, wander through Via del Corso and Via dei Condotti for high-end shopping or venture into the charming lanes of Trastevere. Rome is also home to beautiful gardens like Villa Borghese and the Orto Botanico, offering serene retreats amidst the bustling cityscape. To experience non-touristy activities, explore the lesser-known Quartiere Coppedè with its unique architecture. And what’s a visit to Rome without visiting some of the best restaurants? Trastevere is known for its culinary delights, but don’t get caught by the tourist traps. Instead, check out these 25 authentic dining choices including Da Enzo al 29 and Roma Sparita.
For a taste of Jewish Roman cuisine, explore the Jewish Ghetto and try renowned eateries like Nonna Betta. Lastly, a visit to Rome would not be complete without exploring the Vatican City, where you can admire the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, home to the Sistine Chapel.
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As a Holidaymaker
A day trip from Rome to Orvieto is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed. From the stunning views of the Umbrian countryside to the rich history and culture of this charming town, there is something for everyone in Orvieto.
Best of all, Orvieto offers a peaceful escape from the crowds and hustle and bustle of Rome. Taking a day trip to Orvieto has only made me want to return and spend a couple of nights, it was that charming.
So why not take a break from the city and explore one of Italy’s hidden gems? Trust me, you won’t regret it!