Good for: Stendhal syndrome, frescoes, lucca signorelli
Not good for: photos
Lonely Planet review for Orvieto Cathedral
Confoundingly beautiful, the cathedral is otherworldly in its striped magnificence. Started in 1290, it was originally planned in the Romanesque style, but as work proceeded and architects changed, it became more Gothic. The black-and-white marble banding of the main body of the church is surpassed and complemented by the dancing polychrome colours of the façade. Pope Urban IV commissioned the cathedral to celebrate the Miracle of Bolsena in 1263, but it took 30 years to plan and three centuries to complete. It was probably started by Fra Bevignate and later additions were made by Lorenzo Maitani, Andrea Pisano and his son Nino Pisano, Andrea Orcagna and Michele Sanicheli. The great bronze doors, the work of Emilio Greco, were added in the 1960s. Inside, Luca Signorelli’s fresco cycle, Il Giudizio Universale (The Last Judgment), shimmers with life in the Cappella di San Brizio (admission incl museum €6.5/5; h9am-12.45pm & 2.30-5.15pm Nov-Feb, 9am-12.45pm & 2.30-6.15pm Mon-Fri, 2.30-5.45pm Sat & Sun Mar & Oct, 9am-12.45pm & 2.30-7.15pm Mon-Fri, 2.30-5.45pm Sat & Sun Apr-Jun, 9am-12.45pm & 2.30-7.15pm Mon-Fri, 2.30-6.45pm Sat & Sun Jul-Sep), to the right of the altar. Signorelli began work on the series in 1499, and Michelangelo is said to have taken inspiration from it for the Sistine Chapel. Indeed, to some, Michelangelo’s version runs a close second to Signorelli’s work. The Cappella del Corporale houses the blood-stained altar linen from Bolsena, and features frescoes by Ugolino di Prete Ilario that depict the miracle.