Friday, June 1, 2012

Medieval Orvieto

I have little time to write a blog post this week, so this one will be mostly visual.  I had no specific research interest in Orvieto other than its Etruscan heritage (see previous post), but it is such a striking medieval town that I couldn't resist posting some pictures.  The cathedral, above, is probably the city's best-known sight.  The first time we visited, some years ago, I managed to accidentally prostrate myself in front of the altar - it had to do with being jet-lagged, gawking at the ceiling, and forgetting that I had just taken two steps up.  Oops.  I managed better this time, with my dignity intact.  Or as intact as it ever gets, anyway.

Here's a view of part of the city from high enough up that you can see the curving shape of an ancient street.  Note the cathedral facade.

This painting by Turner shows Orvieto in the distance, perched on its high plateau, which explains why there are gorgeous views in every direction.

The edges of the city have some serious drop-offs.  But there are those views...

This charming automaton is called Maurizio.  He's been ringing that bell every hour for hundreds of years.

Geometrical patterns formed by rooftops, taken from a higher rooftop.  Orvieto gives you a lot of opportunities to explore all the advantages "up" has to offer.

Twelve-sided bell tower of the Church of Sant' Andrea.  It has Etruscan building bits lurking somewhere underneath it.

The town has many buildings characteristic of medieval Umbria.

Yet another gorgeous view from Orvieto, looking off into the surrounding countryside.

Orvieto had an army of friendly and charming (and opportunistic) cats.  This one did her very best to adopt us.

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