Driver will pick you up at your hotel and he’ll drive you to the town of ORVIETO where you can enjoy the visit of this town and the magnificient cathedral.
The ancient city (urbs vetus in Latin, whence "Orvieto"), populated since Etruscan times, has usually been associated with Etruscan Velzna, but some modern scholars differ. Orvieto was certainly a major centre of Etruscan civilization; the archaeological museum (Museo Claudio Faina e Museo Civico) houses some of the Etruscan artefacts that have been recovered in the immediate neighbourhood. An interesting survival that might show the complexity of ethnic relations in ancient Italy and how such relations could be peaceful, is the inscription on a tomb in the Orvieto Cannicella necropolis: mi aviles katacinas, "I am of Avile Katacina", with an Etruscan-Latin first name (Aulus) and a family name that is believed to be of Celtic ("Catacos") origin.
Orvieto was annexed by Rome in the third century BC. Because of its site on a high, steep bluff of tufa, a volcanic rock, the city was virtually impregnable. It was last conquered by Julius Caesar. After the collapse of the Roman Empire its defensible site gained new importance: the episcopal seat was transferred from Bolsena, and the city was held by Goths and by Lombards before its self-governing commune was established in the tenth century, in which consuls governed under a feudal oath of fealty to the bishop. Orvieto's relationship to the papacy has been a close one; in the tenth century Pope Benedict VII visited the city of Orvieto with his nephew, Filippo Alberici, who later settled there and became Consul of the city-state in 1016. By the thirteenth century, three papal palaces had been built.
Orvieto, sitting on its impregnable rock controlling the road between Florence and Rome where it crossed the Chiana, was a large town: its population numbered about 30,000 at the end of the 13th century. Its municipal institutions already recognized in a papal bull of 1157, from 1201 Orvieto governed itself through a podestà, who was as often as not the bishop, however, acting in concert with a military governor, the "captain of the people". In the 13th century bitter feuds divided the city, which was at the apogée of its wealth but found itself often at odds with the papacy, even under interdict. Pope Urban IV stayed at Orvieto in 1262-1264.
Some of the families traditionally associated with major roles in Orvieto’s history are: Monaldeschi, Filippeschi, Alberici and Gualterio, of whom only the Alberici and the Gualterio have survived to the present day.
The city became one of the major cultural centers of its time when Thomas Aquinas taught at the studium there. A small university (now part of the University of Perugia), had its origins in a studium generale that was granted to the city by Pope Gregory XI in 1736. After teaching in Orvieto Aquinas was called to Rome in 1265 to serve as papal theologian to the newly elected Pope Clement IV, and as Regent master of the Santa Sabina studium provinciale, the forerunner of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum.
The territory of Orvieto was under papal control long before it was officially added to the Papal States (various dates are quoted); it remained a papal possession until 1860, when it was annexed to unified Italy
After the visit of ORVIETO we’ll move to CIVITA DI BAGNOREGIO, an amazing town located at the top of a very friable tuff hill and it’s well known as the dying village.
Visiting this town you will help the economy and so you will help the village to survive.
NOTE: THE WALKING FROM THE PARKING TO THE HISTORICAL CENTRE IS NOT EASY AND SO IT’S NOT SUGGESTED TO PEOPLE WITH MOBILITY PROBLEMS
Civita was founded by Etruscans more than 2,500 years ago. Its population dwindled to just 6 residents over the course of the 20th century. Civita was the birthplace of Saint Bonaventure, who died in 1274. The location of his boyhood house has long since fallen off the edge of the cliff. By the 16th century, Civita was beginning to decline, becoming eclipsed by its former suburb Bagnoregio.
At the end of the 17th century, the bishop and the municipal government were forced to move to Bagnoregio because of a major earthquake that accelerated the old town's decline. At that time, the area was part of the Papal States. In the 19th century, Civita's location was turning into an island and the pace of the erosion quickened as the layer of clay below the stone was reached in the area where today's bridge is situated. Bagnoregio continues as a small but prosperous town, while Civita became known in Italian as il paese che muore ("the town that is dying"). Civita has only recently been experiencing a tourist revival.
The town is noted for its striking position atop a plateau of friable volcanic tuff overlooking the Tiber river valley, in constant danger of destruction as its edges fall off, leaving the buildings built on the plateau to crumble. As of 2004, there were plans to reinforce the plateau with steel rods to prevent further geological damage. The city is also much admired for its architecture spanning several hundred years. Civita di Bagnoregio owes much of its unaltered condition to its relative isolation; the town was able to withstand most intrusions of modernity as well as the destruction brought by two world wars. The population today varies from about 12 people in winter to more than 100 in summer.
The town was placed on the World Monuments Fund's 2006 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites, because of threats it faces from erosion and unregulated tourism.