Orvieto is an ancient, compact city that takes the definition of ‘quaint Italian hill-town’ to a whole other level. Resting on a dramatic plateau of volcanic rock, Orvieto towers above the Tiber Valley in Southern Umbria. Not only does it offer breathtaking panoramic views of the softly undulating countryside, but the city itself is also a pretty unforgettable sight to behold as you approach from the valley below. It is home to one of the country's most mesmerizing cathedrals — the ‘Golden Lily’, which crowns Orvieto’s skyline — and is the ideal base for exploring the treasure trove of Etruscan ruins in Italy’s ‘Green Heart’.
Our luxury villas in Orvieto range from private stone farmhouses to lavish hilltop retreats with stunning views of the timeless Umbrian landscape. Sleeping 2 to 14 people, all of our luxury villas are air-conditioned, offering the ideal refuge from the hot summer sun.
Every Tuscany Now & More villa has a private swimming pool, free use of our concierge service, for pre-trip arrangements and an emergency number available 24/7 while you are in-destination. Your concierge can arrange a private chef, daily maid service, or shopping delivered to your villa, and memorable experiences like Umbrian cookery classes in your holiday rental’s kitchen.
At Tuscany Now & More we take pride in our service. We have 30 years experience matching every guest to the right villa. Someone from our small team visits or stays in every Orvieto villa we list and knows the area. This is why we keep our portfolio small — and probably why the world’s leading luxury travel magazine says we’re one of Italy’s top five villa rental companies.
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Situated in Southern Umbria, Orvieto lies on the border with Tuscany and Lazio, making it an ideal base for day trips between all three central Italian regions. The city is possibly best known for its Grechetto and Trebbiano white wines, however, it is also one of the best places to go for ancient Roman and Etruscan history.
Ancient Etruscan tombs, temples and countless artefacts can still be glimpsed in and around the city. From around the 6th-century BC, Orvieto was one of the most important political and religious centres of Etruscan civilization and is often conflated by scholars with the ancient city of Velzna. Orvieto’s sheer, almost impregnable, natural cliff walls made it an important strategic and defensive site for the Etruscans. However, without a main water supply within the city, they relied on wells built deep into the volcanic rock in case of a siege. This evolved into an impressive network of tunnels, a second city underneath Orvieto made up of grottoes, cellars, shelters and quarries. Nobles built underground escape routes from their grand houses, artisans built kilns to fire their pottery, even olive presses were erected beneath the city’s foundations, which can still be visited today.
Despite this extraordinary network of tunnels and wells, the city fell to the Romans in the 3rd-century BC. Since then it has been the seat of the Lombards, home to several papal palaces, a Tuscan countship and its independent commune. In the 13th-century, Saint Thomas Aquinas taught in the city’s dedicated school of Theology. When Rome was sacked in 1527, Pope Clement VII fled to Orvieto, where he ordered the construction of a deep freshwater well of his own. The result? An exciting blend of ancient necropoli and grand medieval and Renaissance architecture all in one city.
Built in the 13th-century, the Romanesque-Gothic Duomo di Orvieto — the “Golden Lily of Cathedrals” — is one of the most beautiful in Italy and one of the main reasons to visit Orvieto. It took over three centuries to construct and its marble facade is intricately adorned with bas-reliefs, sculptures and glittering gilt mosaics. The interior of the cathedral is equally rich in decoration, with frescoes by Fra Angelico in the Cappella Nuova and a menacing Last Judgement scene by Luca Signorelli, which supposedly inspired Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel.
Sitting opposite the cathedral, the Etruscan Museum — the Museo Claudio Faina — houses a wealth of ancient artefacts and offers some of the best views across the Piazza del Duomo.
Alongside the Duomo, a guided tour of Orvieto’s underground tunnels, grottoes and cellars is probably one of the most unique and remarkable things to do in the city. Be sure to also pay a visit to Pope Clement VII’s masterpiece of Renaissance engineering, the Pozzo di San Patrizio (“St. Patrick’s Well”), which he had built while besieged in Orvieto. Twin staircases wind all 62m to the well’s bottom, which you can still wander down today.
As not to risk spending all your time in Orvieto underground, climb the Torre del Moro in the heart of the city’s historic centre. This 47-metre high tower dates back to the 13th-century and offers panoramic views across the city and surrounding hills.
For more ideas on what to do in Orvieto, read our Orvieto travel guide.
It’s difficult to picture Orvieto without first thinking of its white wine; it is easily among the best-known appellations in Umbria. Grechetto and Trebbiano vines swathe the hills to the northwest and southeast of the city, producing Orvieto Classico DOC and Superiore wines. However the region also produces some fine red wines, including the full-bodied Rosso Orvietano DOC and the fresh Umbria IGT, both made using Sangiovese grapes.
Travellers with a passion for wine should consult our award-winning concierges, who can arrange a wine tour of some of the finest local vineyards or a sommelier-led tasting in your villa. Our villas in vineyards, like Villa Soele just south of Orvieto, offer an even more personal experience with the vines, bringing Umbria’s best wines directly to your doorstep.
Like neighbouring Tuscany, meat dishes are the real stars of the show in Orvieto. Pork is one of the more popular meats, which you can readily buy in the form of fresh cold cuts or cured varieties of Prosciutto, Salami and Mazzafegati. Game dishes like wild boar are also common, especially in the form of hearty stews, pasta sauces and sausages.
The Colli Orvietani — the vine-clad hills surrounding Orvieto — are one of the primary olive growing regions in Umbria, producing DOP Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOO) from Leccino varieties. The olive oils in Umbria are worthy rivals of those produced in neighbouring Tuscany so be sure to stock up on it while on vacation here; your mid-afternoon bruschetta won’t be the same without it.
Umbricelli or “Umbrichelli” is also a traditional pasta dish from the region around Orvieto. This thick, hand-rolled, spaghetti-esque pasta is made only using flour and water and is typically served with a traditional “amatriciana” sauce, (pecorino, tomato and onion), or with black truffles from the surrounding Umbrian hills. Why not arrange a day of truffle hunting in the region to find out more about this Tuscan and Umbrian treasure.
Like many of the towns in Umbria, Orvieto has a long history of ceramics productions and is well-known for its hand-painted pottery, ranging from full dinner services to colourfully glazed vases and plates. You’ll find these brightly coloured majolica-style ceramics, alongside other artisanal shops selling leather products along the central streets in the historic centre, including Corso Cavour and Via del Duomo.
A fresh farmers market is held in the Piazza del Popolo every Thursday and Saturday from 7am to 1pm. Here you will find fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and succulent local meats, as well as clothing and homeware stalls, which spill out onto the surrounding cobbled streets.
Every traveller is different, so there is no such thing as the “best” villa near Orvieto; only the best Orvieto holiday rental for you. When you contact Tuscany Now & More, you will talk to someone who has stayed at the villas which interest you. It’s our golden rule — and why we stick to a focused, specialist portfolio of around 135 handpicked villas.
Once an important, Etruscan stronghold, Orvieto’s strategic position remains special to this day; the city, with its medieval piazzas, steep, cobbled streets and breathtaking vistas is situated roughly halfway between Florence and Rome. With Lake Bolsena to the south-east and one of Italy’s most famous cathedrals in its centre, you’ll find the perfect balance of both natural and cultural wonders here.
The city rests on the borders between Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany, so if you can pull yourself away from your luxury villa for the afternoon, you have the pick of all three regions to explore. There are the peaceful, picturesque hill-towns of Todi and Spoleto to the east, in Umbria; Montepulciano and the Val d’Orcia with its seductive red wines to the north, in Tuscany; and the remarkable Etruscan hamlet of Bagnoregio carved into a volcanic rock plateau to the south, in Lazio.
If ancient Etruscan history is what you are after, Porano is just 5km from Orvieto where you can visit the Hescanas Tomb with original frescoes, accompanied by a local guide. There is an abundance of important archaeological sites in the region, including the Etruscan necropolis of Caldane and the remnants of noble Roman villas in Coriglia.
Spring temperatures are pleasant throughout most of Umbria, including Orvieto. Average daytime temperatures reach a high of 17℃ (62℉) and lows of 8℃ (46℉) overnight by May.
Spring is one of the best times to visit Orvieto if you want to avoid the popular summer season while enjoying warm and relatively dry weather. The comfortable spring climate is ideal for exploring the great outdoors in Italy’s ‘Green Heart’, while the surrounding fields are brimming with wildflowers.
Summer is high season across Italy and daytime temperatures around Orvieto can rise to an average high of 30℃ (86℉), with lows of 17℃ (62℉) overnight. On Umbria’s southern border, Orvieto is a relatively underrated town and is spared the crowds of its Tuscan counterparts, making it a quiet destination for a luxury break.
This is the season for sunbathing by your private pool with a good book and Spritz to hand. However, if you are looking for something slightly livelier, Orvieto hosts an annual medieval horse race each June — the Palio dell’Oca — much like the one you can expect to see in Siena. Orvieto comes alive with themed events and decorations, including a historic parade along the city streets.
Despite the cooler temperatures, Autumn and Winter can be truly magical times to visit Orvieto, particularly if you are interested in exploring the many towns in Umbria at your own pace. The sun shines most days during the fall with an average daytime high of 20℃ (68℉) and overnight lows of 11℃ (52℉).
Temperatures rarely fall much below 2℃ (36℉) in the winter months as well. You can attend traditional Christmas Eve and morning mass at the Duomo di Orvieto before exploring the festive markets in neighbouring Todi. Orvieto also hosts Umbria’s Winter Jazz Festival each year — the equivalent of the summer festival held in Perugia in July.
For more month-by-month advice on travelling to Orvieto, read our guide on the Best Time to Visit Umbria.
All of our villas at Tuscany Now & More are locally owned and staffed, and we take pride in being able to offer each of our guests a unique experience tailored to their needs. If you are interested in learning more about what makes us different, you can read the Tuscany Now & More story.
Everyone renting a villa near Orvieto with Tuscany Now & More gets free, unlimited access to our renowned concierge service. If you want shopping stocked in your fridge on arrival, or a private chef to cook dinner for a special occasion, just ask. Making your holiday lettings extra-special is part of our service. While you are in Italy, our 24-hour ground staff are available by phone or WhatsApp.
You should check-in at your Orvieto holiday rental between 4pm and 7pm. We can accommodate different arrival times — just communicate this in advance to our office staff. Upon arrival, the villa owner or caretaker will inspect the property with you and demonstrate appliances, equipment and utilities.
Check-out is 10am on the last day of your holiday rental. The villa owner or caretaker will arrive at 9am to settle outstanding payments, if you have any. If you want to depart earlier, please let us know in advance.
Both the luxury villa and your private swimming pool will be cleaned before your arrival. Some holiday villas have additional cleaning and pool/garden maintenance scheduled during the week. Maid service included with vacation rentals involves cleaning and tidying but does not cover making beds, kitchen cleaning, laundry or ironing. Extra services can be organised via our dedicated travel concierge team.
Our Orvieto holiday rentals include bed linens, bathroom and swimming pool towels for all guests. These are provided weekly. Extra services and changes can be organised via our concierges.