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Come and discover with us a really special town … Lingua Sì would like to introduce you to Orvieto, an Umbrian town located in central Italy, near Tuscany and Latium. No matter which direction you reach Orvieto from, the view you enjoy is always amazing: a town lying on a tufaceous cliff.
Orvieto is a marvellous place to study the Italian language and culture.
It's a small and charming town, on a human scale, ideal to study and, at the same time, spend a very relaxing holiday, a long way from the chaos and frenetic rhythms of big cities. Coming directly into contact with the local people and thus learning a lot about the way of life, the culture and the history of Orvieto is easy, and our school arranges also activities that help the students come into contact with the inhabitants of the town.
Have you become curious to get to know more? Go for a walk with us …
Walking through Orvieto, you will encounter traces of three thousand years of history.
The earliest evidence of life dates back to the Iron Age. Then the Etruscans founded the town of Velzna which developed between the 7th and the 3rd century B.C.. Velzna was a very important city of the Etruscan kingdom and experienced a period of utmost splendour until its invasion and destruction by the Romans in 264. B.C.. The inhabitants who survived were transferred to Volsinii Novi, now known as Bolsena. Not only the necropolises and temple ruins testify Orvieto's Etruscan roots.
A subterranean world replete with wells, caves and tunnels (over 1,300 of which have been discovered to date) invites us to approach Orvieto's history from a completely different perspective. Some of these mysterious subterranean sites, such as, for example, the most ancient part of the Pozzo della Cava, were excavated by the Etruscans.
The historical centre is home to a number of churches from various eras and charming narrow alleys that enchant those who take the time to discover them. The Cathedral (1290 - 1590), with its wonderful façade and the recently restored frescoes by Luca Signorelli and Fra Angelico in the Chapel of San Brizio, is undoubtedly the most famous and spectacular building in the town.
At the end of the 13th century, the period of greatest economic power and political stability in Orvieto, numerous important buildings, such as for example the Palazzo del Popolo and the Torre del Moro, were erected. Finally there is a real jewel hidden underground in an outlying area of the historical district: the well, known as Pozzo di San Patrizio, featuring two spiral staircases designed by Antonio Sangallo the younger, an architect from Florence.
The link between Orvieto and its wine is very old and dates back to the Etruscan period, when the inhabitants of the town called Orvieto Oinarea, a Greek name meaning "the town where wine flows". It seems that painter Luca Signorelli asked for 1,000 liters of wine per year for him and his colleagues to fresco the Chapel of San Brizio.
Orvieto in the centre of Italy
Besides the numerous discoveries which can be made in the environs of the town (like Civita di Bagnoregio, a unique town, also known as The Dying City because of its perpetual fight against erosion), Orvieto is also an ideal starting point for trips of cultural and environmental interest thanks to its very central location: Rome (55 min.), Florence (70 min.), Perugia (40 min.), Todi (20 min.), Siena (90 min.), Lake Trasimeno (40 min.), Lake of Bolsena (15 min.). The mountains and the Tyrrhenian coast are rather near too.
Festivals and Cultural Events
In every period of the year Orvieto offers various cultural events, popular celebrations and national and international festivals, of which the most famous is certainly "Umbria Jazz Winter" taking place around New Year (until the first days of January) and including performances of outstanding international artists. During this festival a huge number of jazz fans and tourists, fascinated by the atmosphere of Orvieto, crowd the town.
Besides, the town hosts numerous folkloric events, religious celebrations (like the famous Corpus Domini including a parade of people wearing historical costumes), theatrical performances, a lot of concerts - even out of season - and also the delicious "Slow Food" Festival, which takes place every year. For fans of movies Orvieto offers two cinemas and in summer there is also an outdoor one.
Orvieto and its environs offer also many other opportunities to play sports, from gyms to trekking excursions, horse-riding and cycling. Besides, there is a swimming pool and about one hour from Orvieto it's possible to play rafting and canyoning at the famous waterfalls Cascate delle Marmore.
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