A Train Trip to Orvieto, an Ancient Hill Town

My last full day in Italy had arrived. I had already done several rounds of sightseeing, starting with a double-decker bus ride, two guided bicycle tours and an extensive walking tour. The weather in Rome was absolutely gorgeous, and I felt it was time for another out-of-town excursion.

Everywhere you turn, there are ancient monuments in Rome…

Last night I had done a bit of research and I was actually to go on a train trip to Florence. But the three hour train ride each way scared me off a little bit, so I decided on a closer destination. My research revealed one popular getaway destination from Rome: the ancient hill town of Orvieto, and that’s what I decided to explore today.

A view of the Tiber Rivr in Rome

So I made my way over from my Rome bed and breakfast to the Roma Termini Railway Station and bought a ticket to Orvieto. The return ticket came to about 17 Euros and by 8:45 I was riding in the train. During the ride I had a chance to talk to a nice young couple from Nova Scotia who were here on a European journey for three weeks. They were headed to Florence today.

Archeology is everywhere in Rome

I occasionally glanced out the train’s window and saw the hills and fields of Umbria passing by. And every once in a while a high-speed train would boom by, on another specially built track that ran parallel to our train tracks. Deep inside I was regretting my decision not to have gone to Florence because I missed out on the high-speed train ride, something I have never experienced and have always wanted to do. Oh well, Orvieto was going to be a beautiful destination as well, despite the slow-speed train ride…

 

The aggressive nose of the Frecciargento high-speed train

By 10:30 I had arrived in the train station of Orvieto and I was looking up at the old town, built on a hill of tufa, or tuff, a type of volcanic rock. Orvieto goes back a long time to the ancient Etruscans where it was a major center of civilization. The town was taken over by the Roman Empire in the third century BC, and after the empire’s collapse the hilltop town fell into the hands of the Goths and Lombards. During Medieval times Orvieto was also used as a place of refuge by various popes.

The funicular whisked me up to the hill top town of Orvieto

Upon arrival at the train station at the base of the hill, I took the funicular railway up into town which has very little traffic. The funicular station in the eastern section of the hilltop town is surrounded by a beautiful park with gorgeous views over the surrounding landscapes. I walked up the Via Postierla and occasionally peeked out at some the lookout points to take in the rural views of Umbria.

The hilltop location of Orvieto provides for some amazing views

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