Orvieto and Assisi

Umbria Travel Blog

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Entry of the Pozzo of San Patrizio
Orvieto is a city in southwestern Umbria, situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff. The site of the city is among the most dramatic in Europe, rising above the almost-vertical faces of tuff cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built of the same stone.

One of the most sights in Orvieto, beside the Duomo, is The Pozzo di San Patrizio and this is its story:
While Emperos Charles V was sacking Rome in 1527, the Medici Pope Clement VII took advantage of a dark night and the disguise of a fruit vendor to sneak out of his besieged Roman fortress and scurry up to Orvieto. Convinced that the emperor would follow him, Clement set about fortifying his position. Orvieto's main military problem throughout history has been a lack of water. Clement hired Antonio da Sangallo (il giovane)  to dig a new well that would ensure an abundant supply in case the pope should have to ride out another siege.
Orvieto Cathedral
Sangallo set about sinking a shaft into the tufa at the lowest end of town. His design was unique: He equipped the well with a pair of wide spiral staircases, lit by 72 internal windows, forming a double helix so that mule-drawn carts could descend on one ramp and come back up the other without colliding. Although Clement and Charles V reconciled in 1530, the digging continued. Eventually, workers did strike water -- almost 10 years later, at which point Clement was dead and the purpose moot. The shaft was nicknamed Pozzo di San Patrizio (St. Patrick's Well) when someone suggested that it vaguely resembled the cave into which the Irish saint was wont to withdraw and pray.

Assisi is a town close to Perugia on the western flank of Monte Subasio. It is the birthplace of St.
Basilica of Saint Francesco of Assisi
Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208, and St. Clare (Chiara d'Offreducci), the founder of the Poor Clares.
The main sight of Assisi is the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi and it's a World Heritage site and one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy. The Franciscan monastery of St Francis were begun immediately after his canonization in 1228, and completed in 1253. It is built into the side of a hill and comprises two churches known as the Upper Church and the Lower Church, and a crypt where the remains of the saint are interred. With its accompanying friary, the basilica is a distinctive landmark to those approaching Assisi. The interior of the Upper Church is important as an early example of the Gothic style in Italy.
Basilica of Assisi
Infact, in the upper church are frescos of scenes in the life of St. Francis previously ascribed to Giotto and now thought to be by artists of the circle of Pietro Cavallini of Rome; the lower church has frescos by renowned late-medieval artists Cimabue and Giotto.
The Basilica was badly damaged by the earthquake of Sept 26, 1997, when part of the vault collapsed, killing four people inside the church and carrying with it a fresco by Cimabue. The edifice and was closed for two years for restoration.

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Entry of the Pozzo of San Patrizio
Entry of the Pozzo of San Patrizio
Orvieto Cathedral
Orvieto Cathedral
Basilica of Saint Francesco of Ass…
Basilica of Saint Francesco of As…
Basilica of Assisi
Basilica of Assisi