Posted by: main street writers | June 7, 2011

Art and Soul

Many Hands, Many Arts

Gothic to a "T"

Art is huge in Orvieto.  At the heart of the city lies the Cathedral, or Duomo.  Constructed on the site of an earlier, more humble cathedral, the first stone for the new Duomo was set in place in 1290.

Across nearly 300 years of construction,  the hands, hearts and souls of generations of workers, artists, and architects shaped and re-shaped the building – blending and evolving it in style from Romanesque to Gothic. The façade of the Duomo, Gothic to a T, is considered one of the great masterpieces of the Late Middle Ages.

Carving Stone, Shaping People

Creation of Eve


In the early Renaissance world, only the few and the privileged knew how to read. The vast majority learned the great lessons and stories of their time through spoken word – and art.

The sculpted panels that frame the main doors of the Duomo served its 15th century visitors as both creations of beauty and tellers of stories.


It’s the 1,000 Words Thing

Luca Signorelli

Inside the Duomo is a treasure trove of stained-glass and frescoes – including works created in the mid-1400’s by Frà Angelico (Frà Giovanni from Fiesole), and completed 50 years later by Luca Signorelli – whose personal masterpiece also graces these walls.

Stories within stories abound, as Signorelli went on to fresco every inch of the San Brizio Chapel. His Biblical scenes reflect fellow Florentine Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” and among Signorelli’s many characters one can find a young Raphael and Dante, himself – along with striking resemblances to explorer Christopher Columbus and Renaissance Humanists Boccaccio and Petrarch.

Art Through Time

Right next door, art predating the Duomo masterpieces can be found at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.  Lives and lessons from earlier times can be found in frescoes dating as far back as the 2nd century BC, along with items from pre-Christian tombs.

Emilio Greco

And a few steps from there, the Museo Emilio Greco  is home to 32 bronze sculptures and other works donated to the city by contemporary Sicilian artist Emilio Greco. The bronze door that graces the Duomo is also the work of this gifted sculptor and printmaker.

Today, artists and craftspeople thrive in this community of 8,974 families.  Age-old gestures are repeated as local people work with clay, metal, leather, wood, and lace unique to Orvieto.

Creativity Changes Lives

In creating art – in tapping one’s gift – the artist is changed.  The world is also changed.  And in witnessing these gifts, observers are often transformed as well.  Gifts multiply.

Simona loves to teach cooking

Creativity comes in many forms.  Whether it’s art or writing, dance or music, raising children or teaching or playing baseball – doing whatever moves you deeply is an act of creativity.

The process can be challenging, frustrating, or exhilarating – it doesn’t matter: when you tap into your own creativity, you can sense that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing….It’s that timeless feeling.

You can learn more about Orvieto’s deep history in art here and here.

And you can explore Creative Writing, art, wine, food, history, olive groves and the Slow Life in Orvieto here.


Register Now for Adventures in Orvieto, May 12-18, 2013

Settembre a Orvieto!







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