Orvieto

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This charming medieval hill town is perched on a high, flat summit of a large butte overlooking a breathtaking Umbrian valley.

The site of the city is among the most dramatic in Europe, rising above the tuff cliffs and defensive walls built of the same stone.

Orvieto is noted for its Gothic cathedral, or duomo. The church is striped in white travertine and greenish-black basalt in narrow bands; its design has often been attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, but the prevailing modern opinion is that its master mason was an obscure monk named Fra' Bevignate from Perugia.

In any case, construction began in 1290, and it now holds some extraordinary examples of Romanesque Gothic art, including the façade itself.

Tourists flood into the town, drawn by the duomo, the scenery and perhaps its renowned wine. Orvieto is likable – the setting superb, the duomo unmissable, and the rest of the town good for a little enjoyment.

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