Orvieto Underground

Città Sotterranea - Parco Delle Grotte

Useful Information

Location: Piazza del Duomo, 23, 05018 Orvieto TR.
(42.716400, 12.112943)
Open: All year daily 11, 12:15, 16, 17:15.
Fee: Adults EUR 8, Students EUR 6, Seniors EUR 6.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 6.
Classification: SubterraneaCave House SubterraneaRock Mine SubterraneaCellar
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: approx 1,200 different caves.
Guided tours: Italiano - Italian Deutsch - German English Français - French Español - Spanish Russian
Address: Orvieto Underground, Speleotecnica S.r.l., Piazza Duomo, 23, 05018 Orvieto (TR), Tel: +39-0763-344891, Cell: +39-347-3831472. E-mail:
Reservations and information: Tel: +39-0763-340688, Cell: +39-339-7332764.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


500 BC first caves excavated.


Orvieto has a second city beneath, the Città Sotterranea or Orvieto Underground. The cliff on which the city stands is riddled with an enormous number of artificial caves. The caves were used for almost all possible purposes, tunnels, galleries, cisterns, wells, quarries and cellars. The reason is the special rock, the cliff is formed of. The city Orvieto was built on a hill which consists of the so-called Orvieto ignimbrite. This is a volcanic tuff, a very porous and rather soft material. The huge rock rests on a bed of impermeable clay, which is water-resistant, and so it creates an aquifer. It is both soft, which means easy to dig, and stable enough, not to cave in.

The guided tour shows numerous of the most interesting caves. The colombari (dove houses) are rooms with all walls covered with small rectangular holes. It very much resembles a dove house. The next stop are the Pozzolana Quarries, were rock for the buildings of the city above was quarried. There is even an underground oil-press.

The temperature and humidity in the caves made them extraordinary cellars. They were used for many kinds of food, olive oil and wine. Orvieto was known in antiquity as Oinarea (where wine flows).

The Parco Delle Grotte, located 100 m from Piazza Duomo, is a cultural center of the city. Beneath the broad landscaped terraces with the shade of tall pines, and the sweeping panorama over the countryside below, there is one extraordinary benefit. A large cave offers refuge in case of bad weather. It is a favourite location for concerts, performances, meetings, and ceremonies of various kinds.