Orvieto was the perfect base for travelling to Rome during the day and coming back to at night. We stayed at a hotel that was at the bottom of the hill that Orvieto sat upon. Each morning, we woke up and traipsed down to the dining room where a dozen different cakes were laid out, as well as toast and jam and some other things we paid no attention to.
We walked up the hill and into its defensive walls. The cathedral was so much larger than any of the surrounding buildings, looking like it had drunk a growth potion. The sides were white and black striped, and the facade was brightly ornamented.
It had a lovely atmosphere, and hardly anyone was around except couples walking and people having dinner. Whenever a car come through, we all had to squash ourselves to the walls of buildings or duck into the gap made by a parked car.
There was a gelateria right on the cathedral piazza that had the most amazing raspberry sorbet. They also asked us if we wanted whipped cream on top, which was a novelty. Unfortunately you could only get three flavours per cup so we went back for more, the server asking with a smile "Another?"
On our second night in Orvieto, we could hear music as we approached the piazza and were pleasantly surprised by a live band. We sat listening on the steps of the cathedral and, of course, ate more gelato.
We visited during the daytime to take the underground tour. The tunnels in the hill were originally dug by the Etruscans and were later expanded by successive inhabitants. The tunnels were used as places of work, with olive mills, quarries and dovecotes. Seen above, pigeons were kept and bred in the holes in the walls. They were a source of food, which was particularly useful during times of war. They believed the enemy could not get inside from the cliff face.
Instead of walking up the hill, that day we took the funicolare. It was just like the cable car in Wellington, puttering up the slope to deliver tourists to their destination.