St. Patrick’s Well (Pozzo di San Patrizio)
Visit the Pozzo di San Patrizio as part of a walking or e-bike tour of Orvieto that includes a turn down the 248 steps to the bottom of the well, in addition to highlights like the Gothic duomo and underground warren of tunnels and caves through the soft tufa stone below the town center. Orvieto is a popular day trip from Rome, along with nearby Cività di Bagnoregio and Assisi.
Things to Know Before You Go
Kids especially tend to enjoy climbing down the deep well shaft.
Once you reach the bottom, be sure to throw a coin in the water for good luck.
The well is surprisingly photogenic, so take your camera.
How to Get There
The Pozzo di San Patrizio is located on the edge of Orvieto’s historic center, just a few steps from the funicular that connects the clifftop town with the train station below. Direct trains run from Rome, about an hour away. If you’re driving, Piazza Cahen is the closest public parking lot.
When to Get There
Open daily, the underground well is delightfully cool even on the hottest summer days, and can be a nice respite from the heat and crowds in the central Piazza del Duomo.
The History and Architecture of Orvieto’s Famous Well
Commissioned by Pope Clement VII in 1527 and designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, the Pozzo di San Patrizio took a decade to complete. The cylindrical central shaft is lined by double-helicoidal staircases that enabled donkeys to carry water up one and empty buckets down the other. Arched windows in the stone wall between the staircases and central shaft allow light to filter to the bottom, making for dramatic photos.