Monday, September 17, 2007

Duomo di Orvieto

Facade of the Duomo di Orvieto

Nestled into a bustling piazza of a charming, medieval Italian town is the Duomo di Orvieto. After winding through the crooked streets of the city, the ornate splendor and vibrant colors of the facade of the duomo took me by surprise. In 1290 the once dilapidated cathedral of Orvieto began to take on a new identity when the townspeople were convinced by
Pope Urban IV of the need to have a beautiful building to house a certain holy relic. Construction began and the old basilica began to acquire a whole new gothic appearance, which blended Byzantine and northern elements and softened them into the so-called Italian Gothic style, of which the cathedral of Orvieto is a prime example. It took almost two centuries for the duomo to reach the height of its splendor. While there is debate about who designed the sanctuary it is generally agreed upon that the median entrance and the central rose window were designed by Andrea Orgagna in the 14th century. Behind the dazzling facade stands an oblong structure simple in design.The duomo of Orvieto was just one of many charming reasons I plan on returning to this picturesque Tuscan city.

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