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A super experience! The Bracci funicular was first built in 1888, operated by water power and closing in the 19870s. It was renovated and re-opened in 1990, no longer powered by water.
The lower funicular station is directly opposite Orvieto's railway station, which is excellent.
It's a good idea to buy your ticket (I bought 2, for up and down) from the bar/cafe in the station itself, on the right as you exit the station. This saves queueing at the funicular station ticket office. One-way ticket cost 1 euro in july 2012.
You can also buy tickets for the shuttle bus from the top funicular station to the Duomo if you wish, though I did not bother. Again, they are one euro.
I had thought there would be an operator actually in the cab, but not so: the operators are in a control centre in the upper station. Don't worry when you see the descending carriage apparently on a collision course with yours: there is a small area which has two separate lines! :-)
When I visited the funicular operated roughly every 10-15 minutes, though there will obviously be variations according to day, time and season (and possibly passenger numbers too). It runs on weekdays from 0720-2030, and on Sundays and holidays from 0800-2030.
Definitely the best way to get into and out of Orvieto, imo. Enjoy!
Written Jul 25, 2012
By far the easiest way to get to anywhere in Italy is by train. The Italian railway network is extensive and trains are safe, comfortable enough and very reasonably-priced.
Orvieto is an easy daytrip by train from Rome, and that is the route I took. The train leaves from Rome Termini station and takes just over an hour. The (slightly) slower trains are considerably cheaper than the (slightly) faster ones.
You can buy a ticket for both parts of the journey in Rome if you wish, but beware..if you choose the faster IC trains you will be tied to a specific departure time. Better to either choose the cheaper regional trains (which do not have assigned seats,so you can travel on any of them) or just buy your return ticket from Orvieto station. I did the latter.
Ticket machines are easy to use and have English language options. They accept cash and give change. They will, however, only accept cards with chip and PIN.
Be warned: the Orvieto train leaves from platforms which are some considerable distance from Termini ticket machines. It will take you several minutes to walk there, so allow plenty of time for buying your ticket and getting to the train.
Platforms are well signed, often with electronic displays, so no worries about catching the right train. :-)
Remember to validate (date/time-stamp) your ticket before boarding the train. Validation machines are on the platforms: older ones are yellow cuboids, newer ones are green ovoids (see photo). there are on-the-spot fines for non-validation and guards do check.
Orvieto railway station is directly opposite the funicular up to the ancient settlement (see next tip) so it is all very easy!
Updated Jul 25, 2012
Campo della Fiera, situated beneath the Southern Walls on the south-western side of the old town, has 620 pay-parking and eight disabled parking areas. Rates are 0.50 euros per hour or 5 euros for 24 hours. Video surveillance provides a higher level of security.
Campo della Fiera is well situated for access to many of Orvieto’s attractions, such as Via Filippeschi, Piazza della Repubblica, Sant' Andrea, Torre del Moro, Orvieto Duomo, Church of San Francesco, and the Church of San Lorenzo di Arari.
Written Feb 6, 2011
If travelling by car, plan to approach Orvieto from the south-west. Arriving along SS71, Strada Comunale dei Tamburino and finally Via della Gabelletta provides stunning views of this marvellous hill top town. A must stop for anyone wanting to take lovely panoramic photos of Orvieto.
Written Feb 4, 2011
The high plateau on which Orvieto stands is closed to non-resident automobile traffic, which means you need to find another way up. At the opposite end of town from the funicular, you can try another interesting route to the old town: escalators. I mean, REALLY BIG ESCALATORS, in a series which is so long that you begin to wonder whether you're ever going to get to the surface, which actually comes at the Piazza della Repubblica. I'm sure you can get to these without having to park in the lot at Campo della Fiera -- but if you have a car, do pay attention to the facts that (a) you're going to pay to park, and need to do so before you get to the exit gate, and whether or not you're driving, (b) the free escalators stop running at 8:00 PM, so that if -- as we did -- you're using them to get up to town for dinner, you'd better plan on an early meal, or eat very quickly, or be prepared to walk down.
I guess I was surprised to find the escalators (several other hill towns use elevators), but perhaps I shouldn't have been; nearby Perugia also uses this method to get tourists up to the heights.
Written Aug 28, 2010
It's kind of hard to know into which category the "funicolare" falls -- it is kind of like a cross between a train and a cable car. If you've parked behind the train station (FREE!), this is an easy way to make your way to the Piazza Cahen in the old city. You'll need to take a bus to get from the terminus to the center of town, and these mini-buses also run from the train station when the funicular isn't working. The fare is .80 euros, unless you've purchased the Carta Orvieto Unica (highly recommended).
The funicular operates on weekdays from 7:20 AM to 8:30 PM, every 10 minutes; on holidays the schedule is somewhat reduced, starting at 8:00 AM and running every 15 minutes
Updated Aug 27, 2010
Of all the cities I visited in Umbria, Orvieto is the easiest to reach by public transport. The nearest international airport might be even Rome, 2-3 hours south.
Trains between Florence and Rome stop in Orvieto (distance Florence to Orvieto is 1 hr 40 min to 2 hrs 30 min, depending on the type of train; distance Rome to Orvieto is even less, between 40 min and 1 hr 30 min). Check Trentaitalia website.
Coming by car is also easy, A1 motorway is very much close.
Updated Mar 30, 2009
Orvieto’s exposed location on the tuffa plateau made it difficult for enemies to enter the town. But on the other hand it was a challenge and required a bit of creativity to get the inhabitants and guests in and out of town. At a point in time, modern time however, the two entrance gates were not enough, so the funicular was being built. The location was perfect, because it was next to the train station. The first funicular was a very clever and ecologically oriented piece of engineer work: it simply worked with water. The two gondolas had water tanks below the cabin and before each journey downhill the upper cabin tank was was filled with enough water to let gravity move it downhill. Unfortunately, the funicular owner went bancrupt and the funicular out of operation in 1970 (!). Since 1990 it operates again, however fully automatised. It runs daily every 10 minutes between 7:20 and 20:30, each fare is 0,80 €, unless you have the Carta Orvieto Unica. Keep the ticket, because it allows you to use the minibus shuttles between Piazza Cahen (at the summit station), Piazza Duomo and Piazza della Repubblica.
The other creative idea for people transport is a clever escalator-elevator system in Orvieto’s west. Travellers can park their cars at Campo della Fiera and use the elevator up to Via Ripa near the city wall or the escalator systems to Piazza De’Ranieri. Parking costs a fee, elevator and escalator are for free of course.
Updated Mar 21, 2009
There is a tram that goes up the hill from the train station. You buy your ticket before entering form the toll booth. There is also a bus from here. I suggest doing them both one way.
The tram is cheap and quick. It takes you right up to one of the main streets of Orvieto. The cathedral will be on the left after exiting at the top, the piazzas are straight on up.
Be sure and see my other tips on restaurants....
Written Nov 7, 2007
A cablecar stop is located at front of the station "Orvieto" of TRENITALIA,
and normally, you ride on it and go to the hill.
However, when I went, the cablecar was not runnig. I arrived even at the Piazza del Duomo by Minibus A.
Since I was looking forward to seeing the scenes out of this cablecar, I was regrettable,
but the views can be enjoyed out of Bus.
You can purchase the ticket by in this bus and Tabacs of a town.
Updated Jul 30, 2007
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