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2/50.- Umbria, Orvieto

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Orvieto is a fortified city built on a rocky volcanic promontory. It is surrounded by ramparts, through which a few gates give access to the city centre. Its houses and palaces are built on, against, or sometimes even in the volcanic rock. Mountaintop villages, towns and cities are not rare in the region : the Etruscans, who were the first to settle in many of the sites (some as early as 8 centuries B.C.), favoured hilltops for both strategic and climatic reasons; but as on these hilltops water was hard to come by, they had to dig cisterns and wells, more about which later.

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