Orvieto’s history is so extensive, one could spend a lifetime exploring it. But as if that weren’t enough to thrill any visitor, Orvieto is also only an easy day trip away from Rome and many of the other famous hilltop towns of Umbria and Tuscany including Siena. Here are some suggestions for some side trips that we’ve personally taken that we know you’ll enjoy.
Day Train Trip
All roads lead to Rome and it wasn’t built in a day — But if you’re staying at Casa Passeggiata, the train also leads to Rome, and you can take it to visit Rome for the day!
1) Be sure to check the Orvieto Funiculare Schedule to make sure you don’t book a train before it’s first run in the morning or return to Orvieto after it’s last run.
2) You can buy your tickets on-line at Trentitalia or at the train station.
3) In general, unless you have assigned seats on your ticket or on-line purchased ticket, you must validate it before boarding the train – If you have any doubt, validate anyway.
Touring By Car
With regard to renting a car, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Casa Passeggiata is located smack dab in the historic center of Orvieto, near all of the city’s wonderful treasures, the Duomo (AKA… cathedral), shops, restaurants, enoteca (wine bar), etc.
The bad news is that the apartment is located in a pedestrian only area of the town. If you drive a rental car there, be advised that your rental company will be adding a hefty fine to your credit card.
Also, parking a rental car in Italy can be very expensive, but fortunately, Orvieto has a well lit, free parking lot directly behind the train station.
There is also a Hertz Rent-a-Car within a few walking yards from the train station.
So here’s a potentially money-saving tip for you. If you plan to stay mostly in Orvieto during your visit, it may be better to rent a car in Orvieto for that one trip to the wine country or Siena. But if you plan to take several day trips during your stay, renting at the airport and using the free parking lot may be better. On the other hand, you may need to have a car to schlep that kitchen sink and everything else you brought with you, in which case a car at the airport is a must. (You haven’t lived until you try to offload a bunch of suitcases off a train down onto the platform during its 60 second stop at Orvieto).
When you do arrive in Orvieto for the first time with all that luggage and kitchen sink, take a taxi from the train station to Casa Passeggiata. Costs about 20 euro, but worth every penny instead of taking the funiculare and the connecting bus then schlepping your luggage from the Duomo square through the street to the apartment. Awesome related hint – do the same thing when you leave Orvieto for the final time – nothing like being dropped off and being picked up at the door!)
Exploring By Private Tour Guide
If you’re not in the mood to deal with driving or taking trains and just want to be taken care of in style, there are several options.
Italy has many excellent private tour guides and companies that will pamper your every need.
For “black car” treatment, you may be surprised that Uber and Blacklane are available in Italy. For a first class adventure, take one of these luxury cars from the train station in Rome to the Trevi Fountain for example and enjoy the looks of the other tourists wondering if it’s George Clooney or Sophia Loren.
For a great day tour of the olive oil and wine country, we recommend Umbria Driver Gianluca Siena who will pick you up at the front door of Casa Passeggiata.
Day Trip to Todi and Deruta By Car
For one of the easiest and close by day trips by car, visit the towns of Todi and Deruta.
Todi is about a 45 minute drive from Orvieto. Founded in the 8th century BC, Todi is perched on a two-crested hill overlooking the east bank of the river Tiber. The name Todi is believed to mean “border”, the city being located on the frontier with the Etruscan dominions. It was still under the Etruscan influence when it was conquered by the Romans in 217 BC. According to Silius Italicus, it had a double line of walls that stopped Hannibal himself after his victory at Lake Trasimeno.
A really wonderful town to visit. Be sure to check their website before going – there may be a festival happening that you won’t want to miss.
Only 20 minutes from Todi is the town of Deruta. Long known as a center of refined ceramics, which are exported worldwide.
The local clay was good for ceramics, whose production began in the Early Middle Ages, but found its artistic peak in the 15th and early 16th century, with highly characteristic local styles of maiolica, such as the “Bella Donna” plates with conventional portraits of beauties, whose names appear on fluttering banderoles with flattering inscriptions.
Day Trip to Siena and San Gimignano By Car
No trip to Italy is complete without visiting the fascinating town of Siena.
About a 1 hour drive from Orvieto, the historic center of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and its famous Palio horse race held twice a year.
Only 25 miles up the road from Siena is San Gimignano. Known as the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls, form “an unforgettable skyline”.
The town also is known for saffron, the Golden Ham, and its white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the ancient variety of Vernaccia grape which is grown on the sandstone hillsides of the area.